These are some practical tips for navigating the trail safely, effectively, and efficiently, aiming to minimize the risk of tripping and falling while conserving energy for those challenging mountain trails:

Tip #1: Your ArmsIf you’re looking to increase your downhill speed, let’s dive into the technical sections. Firstly, your arm movement is crucial. It won’t be a typical, uniform arm swing. You need to counteract the balance and side-to-side motion of your momentum and weight with your arms. Feel free to swing them wide and high! Use your arms to balance as your legs navigate the technical rocks, requiring them to move from side to side. Imagine yourself flying and utilize wide arm swings, almost like a windmill.

Tip #2: Light, Quick StepsTip number two emphasizes the importance of taking small, quick steps while navigating downhill trails. Your stride rate could surpass 200 steps per minute, especially when speeding down a technical trail. To effectively maneuver the terrain, envision yourself dancing with it—employ quick, light footwork. Constantly remind yourself: “quick feet, quick feet.” It’s better to err on the side of shorter steps rather than attempting to jump across a gap. Avoid overreaching and overstriding, which could lead to potential missteps on rocks. Instead, opt for quick, stutter steps between technical obstacles.

The advantage of these quick, light steps is twofold. Firstly, they reduce the likelihood of heel striking. Landing with your body mass centered and maintaining a slight forward lean, ideally perpendicular to the downhill slope, ensures better control. Secondly, landing with less force minimizes the risk of tripping and falling. In the unfortunate event of turning an ankle, the reduced force behind the landing mitigates the impact and helps you maintain better overall control on the descent.

Tip #3: Line SelectionThe third and final tip for today emphasizes the importance of selecting your trail line wisely. When faced with undulating terrain, consider weaving from side to side rather than attempting a straight path. Negotiating a series of controlled turns, almost like slaloming in skiing, is often a safer and more efficient strategy than tackling large jumps or trying to go straight across. Here’s what I mean by that:
On first glance, it might make sense to jump from one rock to the other, because it’s the most direct path. But this gap could be dangerous with even the slightest misstep!If I go this way, I’m going with the turns and can maintain more control as I run with the curvatures in the trail.
Imagine yourself riding a mountain bike or skiing down similar slopes; having the ability to control your trajectory from side to side not only helps manage speed but also allows you to choose the optimal path. Opting for a controlled descent with slight side-to-side movements is less risky than attempting large jumps to cut off distance.

In this approach, it’s crucial to maintain a forward-looking perspective. Look ahead, scanning the ground at least 10 to 15 feet in front of you, anticipating your next several steps. By doing so, you can plan where to plant your feet and strategically pick your line down the slope to avoid obstacles. Drawing from experiences in activities like mountain biking, skiing, or other sports provides valuable insight into the art of picking the best line as you navigate downhill slopes.

Thank you for tuning in to this brief tutorial on downhill technical trail running tips. If you found this information helpful, be sure to explore our website,, where you can find even more FREE and helpful running resources.
Happy running,- Sage Canaday