You know, on the downhill I find that I just need to mentally and physically not fight it. I just relaxed – despite the mud, the slush and the snow. I let gravity do it’s thing and just went with it, keeping my shoulders swinging loosely and my posture good. I did NOT lean back or “brake” on the hills at all, which is what I saw many runners doing – and I passed them. I believe I passed more than 100 people in the final 3.5 miles. It helped that I’d trained on similar terrain this past few months and in similar conditions so I knew I could handle it and it gave me the confidence to just go with the flow.
So – practice running down hills. I really did not do any “hill repeats” or anything like that leading into this tough race. I ran courses with hills in them and some of my runs had several tough hills in those same mountains (or the area /trails right next to them). Running uphill, I just kept my pace as consistent as I could (not even close to my flat pace, of course – but the same effort level) and kept my feet doing a short, quick turnover, kept my head up and posture good and relaxed. Once it got so steep that no one else was running as far as I could see ahead or behind – I took the cue and speed-walked those sections too – and was glad I did. I saved my legs for the quick responses they’d need on that muddy, slippery downhill.