Post Run Cool Downs
Most everybody who knows a thing or two about running, or even other types of exercise, knowS the importance of a post run cool down. Cooling down, which is what is done post workout to relax the heart rate and muscles, is just as important as warming up. Before going through a few cool down routines, let’s run through (no pun intended) the importance of cooling down.
Cooling down is a vital part of the workout. It is also important to be ready for the next day. By cooling down, the muscles are able to relax, or basically not tense up or tighten. A simple ten to fifteen minute cool down will do the trick. Secondly, my cool downs will make your body ready for tomorrow’s workout by reducing the buildup of lactic acid.
The first part of a cool down should be striders. Striders are basically a form of sprinting to stretch out the muscles. Sounds counter-productive, right? Start off slow, jogging about ten or fifteen yards. Follow that up by slowly increasing speed and stride simultaneously. By the the forty yard mark, full speed should be achieved. The difference between sprinting and striding is, well, the stride! lengthen your stride out almost to the point where your leaping, but not quite that far. This is an excellent way to stretch out the hamstrings. Increase your back kick as well, thus stretching out the quads. Any long distance run or hard interval workout will result in a tightening up of the muscles a few minutes after finishing. Be sure to start your striders no more than five to seven minutes post completion of your workout, especially if it is cold. The last thing you want to do is pull a muscle doing a cool down! Try to get in at least five striders, with a maximum of ten.
After the striders, some type of stretching should be performed. At the very least, stretch out the main muscles of the lower extremity. These include the hamstrings, calves, and quads. Be sure to hold for about thirty seconds two or three times to insure a quality stretch!
The post run cool down involving actual running changes depending on the workout performed. For example, for a hard, fast track workout, I would suggest about a two mile or twenty minute cool down. For a ten mile LSD (long, slow distance) run, I would only suggest a half-mile at most. If you are only running a couple miles at a clip, no problem. Get in at least a lap around a track or a slow jog around the block. The run should be the last part of your post run cool down unless you want to do core work.
To do core work, please refer to the following article for pertaining to different types of core work for all level runners: (articles coming soon!).
Just remember, any type of cool down is better than no cool down! Good Luck! If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please do not hesitate to post a comment.