What is the likely cause of quad cramps when running technical downhill?

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Your quads take on the most load as each foot hits the ground when running downhill, which will result in cramps if you are not using the correct technique, or if you have not trained specifically to run downhill. 

Running coach Matt Buck (www.runningadventures.co.uk) advises: “You should be running on your toes and taking small steps when descending. Many people over-stride when running downhill, which is dangerous and will cause muscle soreness. Make sure you incorporate downhill sessions into your training, allowing you to build up your quad strength and perfect your technique.”