It is critical to avoid ankle injuries if you are a trail runner, and sprains are the most common type of ankle injury you will face. Fortunately, you can reduce your risk of an ankle sprain by perfecting your downhill technique and by following some basic rules.
Here below, we give you some of the key tips to improve your downhill technique. Try applying them in your next training:
Firstly, DECREASE STRIDE LENGTH AND HEIGHT - low vertical oscillation (slightly higher in case of high rocks or uneven terrain). Also, INCREASE STRIDE SPEED, without keeping all your body weight on your ankles (jumping feeling /spring-like running ). In addition, you should take advantage of the FORCE OF GRAVITY and reduce muscle wasting.
Secondly, it is essential to USE UPPER BODY (open arms) and CORE to improve balance and stability, which can be challenging to control on technical terrain and / or at high speeds.
Moreover, it would be best if you were FULLY FOCUSED AND CONCENTRATED for the entire downhill and, AVOID ANY DISTRACTION. Also, try to AVOID RELAXING in the last kilometres of your training sessions or races, when we suffer from muscle fatigue, and we are prone to sprains.
On top of that, USE THE RIGHT TRAIL RUNNING SHOES with good grip, ankle stability and protection against rocks / stones. This simple feature could save us from a bad experience.
Finally, if due to the terrain or the speed of our running, you lose the balance and you must keep all the weight of your body on your feet, STAND WITH FIRM ANKLES AND CONFIDENCE (avoid stepping with fear or "soft" ankles, since this increases the chances of a sprain).
To sum up, like everything in trail running, you will need a period of training and application of these principles in order to perfect your technique and acquire a comfortable and effective way of descending. We encourage you to try them and give us your impressions.