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I'm running with a fore foot strike and have been told and agree with it, that it is really easy to run uphill. It feels really natural.

But how to I run down hill? Especially when the slope is really steep like the ramps in a parking garage.

When I strike with the heel it feels really uncomfortable from the impact. If I strike with the for foot it feels like I'm almost sliding downhill.

My main goal is not high speed, but running comfortable without injuries or pain.

Update

Judging from the answers so far I think I have to clarify some things.

First: the sliding sensation is more of the feet inside the shoes, which sit nicely in normal terrain. I pretty certain, they are of the right size, and have plenty of profile. It's just that I 'brake' so much that my feet slide forward inside the shoes.

Second: If I just ran down the hill without 'braking' I would end up so fast that I wouldn't be able to properly control my steps. The hill in question is really steep and the track rather narrow and uneven.

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2 Answers 2

Your feet are sliding when you forefoot strike? That's the biggest clue.

I don't heel strike going down hill because it hurts. It also seems very strange to put all that force into the heel and stop my motion when I can forefoot strike and keep things moving forward.

I think what's happening is that you're moving a bit too quickly for the traction offered by your shoes. I'd consider checking the tread on the ball of your shoe to make sure it's not too worn.

To control traction downhill you can use techniques like:

  • taking shorter, faster steps where you concentrate on going up and down more than striding out (so keeping your centre of gravity more above your feet)
  • running diagonally (or zig-zag) across the slope
  • when the slope is too steep for these techniques then you can turn your foot sideways.
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The shoes are fine (see my update to the question). Running diagonally doesn't work in my special case but is good advice in generally. –  Jens Schauder Sep 21 '13 at 15:40
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In general you should simply relax your body and let gravity "pull" you down the hill, and the effect will be that you'll take longer steps but without increasing energy for that. On the other hand, when facing quite steep downhills it takes a while to get used to it and it is easy to actually add more energy than necessary due to that you will speed up too fast.

I try to simply relax in my whole body and "just" let my legs do the movement without using the muscles too much. But in the end I would say that to be able to run downhill, you probably need to train quite some time to get well developed running legs/leg muscles etc.

Best regards,

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