One-Hour Workout: Downhill Running

This week’s downhill running workout comes from Jonathan Cane of New York City-based City Coach Multisport.

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Every Tuesday we’ll feature a different coach’s workout you can complete in 60 mins (or less!).

This week’s downhill running workout comes from Jonathan Cane of New York City-based City Coach Multisport ( He finds that many athletes treat descents as a time to recover, both mentally and physically. “In fact, downhills can be a great way to make up time on the competition—remember, the awards are given at the finish line, not at the top of a hill,” Cane says.

He warns that going into a downhill race unprepared can trash your already-tired quads and ultimately cost you more time than you’ll gain. Work on your downhill form by incorporating this workout into your run training.

One-Hour Downhill Running Workout

10 minutes easy

Main Set:
5 minutes of short, fast pickups, to prepare for the workout ahead

On a 4–5 mile circuit* with rolling hills (preferably 2–4 percent grade), run the climbs and flats at marathon effort, and the descents at 10K effort. Be particularly aware of descents that come directly out of climbs. Others tend to crest the hill and let up, but you should immediately “shift gears” to your faster pace.

10 minutes easy—get in a thorough recovery


• On descents, gravity is your friend. Overstriding is not. Think of a cycling movement for your legs, with your foot landing gently beneath you rather than way out in front of your center of gravity.
• Lean into the hill, but don’t round your shoulders or look down at your feet.
• Engage your core, and bring your elbows out wide in order to keep from letting your torso twist excessively.

*We typically run this workout as three laps on Central Park’s Harlem Hill loop, a rolling 1.41-mile circuit with a couple of significant descents, and little flat ground, but it can be adapted to a variety of courses.

More one-hour workouts.

RELATED: The Secrets To Running Downhill Fast

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