Does it count if you run downhill?: I live in a... - Couch to 5K

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Does it count if you run downhill?


I live in a really hilly place and most of the hills are much too steep to attempt to run up at this stage - walking up them is quite challenging enough! If you go down hill there is a river and reasonably flat places to run. I have previously done my warm-up walk down to the river and done my run there, then warm-down walked back up to get home. Now I'm doing the longer runs it's nice to vary the route and I was thinking if I walked a little way up hill to warm up, then included a run down to the river in my run time, (including some flat streets on the way) it would give me a few more choices of route. It's also a bit safer as I tend to run early in the morning and sometimes I don't see anyone at all as I go through the woods, it can be a bit worrying, whereas this way is through town.

BUT is it cheating to run down hills? It is also potentially knackering to the knees, I realise! There aren't a lot of flat places round here and I'm aware that I could get bored doing the same route over and over again.

I do plan to start going up hills at some point but at the moment I know I'd FAIL if I tried, most of the hills are very steep, or very long inclines that would really tire me out. I am saving that challenge for 5K+!!!!!

5 Replies

I personally don't find running downhill all that much easier - faster - but not easier, since I am having to use energy to stop myself from picking up too much speed and falling flat on my face.


Running downhill isn't cheating at all ! Prolonged downhill running can contribute to shin splints (as can prolonged downhill walking, as I know from experience) but I think that may be partly because it's easy to run quite heavily on a downhill slope, increasing the impact. Try and run quite lightly on your feet, which should also help lessen the impact on your knees - if you Google "downhill running technique" you'll find lots of useful tips. If you can, run on softer surfaces.

I think you're right to save the tougher hills for after hitting the 5k, they can be a whole new challenge. We do separate training sessions for hills at running club.


Thank you, I'll check that out. And thanks for the encouragement - It just seemed a shame to be walking when I could be running! But I WILL be careful.


I live in a hilly place too and became expert at timing my early runs so that the 'walk' bits were uphill and the 'run' bits downhill! I don't think it's cheating unless you're on wheels! BTW I am now tackling some of the hills I was so scared of and they're not so bad after all! Do be careful not to put too much strain on the knees and shins going downhill tho. :-)


I now realise how daft this question was, having incorporated some steep downhills into today's run. OMG it kills! I think I'll go back to mostly walking down those hills, maybe just run a small part of them. I did follow your advice, but think it made my legs more tired for the main part of the run!

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