Do you cool down after a run? Cooling down is the first step in recovery after a workout.

Stephanieruns Fitness

April 29, 2018 Newsletter

Cooling Down

Do you cool down after a run? I find that a lot of runners skip doing a solid cool down. Maybe you do cool down but aren't sure why it's so important. I've been sharing tips about cooling down on twitter all week and today I want to go a little deeper on the topic.

A cool down keeps the blood flowing throughout the body while your heart rate slowly lowers. It's important that the blood keep pumping so that your blood can clean out metabolic waste and hormones. White blood cells and proteins get to work healing your muscles. A cool down signals your body to start the recovery process. A cool down is the first step in preparing your body for your next workout. 

If you don't do a cool down and stop your run abruptly this can cause light-headedness and cause blood pooling. It also doesn't allow your body the best chance at recovery. If you want to train smarter you need to monitor how your body recovers. Allowing your body to recover will help you continue to see training gains.

So you're probably wondering what's a good cool down to do after a workout? The first thing you want to do is lower your heart rate slowly. If you've been running you can lower your pace to a walk. Walk until your heart rate has lowered, but remains higher than your resting heart rate. If you don't wear a heart rate monitor you can judge this by how you feel, or your breathing. Has your breathing returned back to normal?

After your heart rate has lower you're good to start stretching. The only exception to this would be if you've done a long run of 15km or greater. If you've been for a long run your body can need 1-2 hours before you stretch. You'd want to make sure your muscles stay warm until you stretch. Look to stretch the muscles you worked, ensuring that you stretch opposing muscle groups. Generally you can hold your stretches 10-30 seconds, but it's important to listen to your body. Stop stretching if you're in pain. Pain is your body's warning sign and you should listen to it.

Yoga stretches are great to add into your cool down. This week I asked on twitter and was happy to hear so many of you add yoga poses in your post run cool down. The most popular poses were legs up the wall, pigeon, downward dog, back bends, and child's pose.

When you're cooling down the important things to remember are to bring your heart rate down first, then stretch. The longer or harder you've worked out the longer your cool down should be. Stretch the muscles you've worked and make note of how you feel and spend more time on anywhere that's tight or tense. Your cool down will prepare your body to recover from the work you just put it through. Think of your cool down as helping to prepare your body for your next workout.


Weekly Challenge: Cool Down

This week I'm challenging you to focus more energy on your cool down. Give yourself enough time to invest in your cool down.

This week set aside 10 minutes after all of your workouts to cool down. First get your heart rate down and then start your stretches. Focus on the muscles you worked ensuring that you stretch opposing muscle groups.

I know 10 minutes might seem like a lot of time for a cool down but try it this week and see if you notice a difference in how you feel and how well you're recovering.

As always let me know how it goes!

Do you Foam Roll?

Runner's either hate or love foam rolling. It's not meant to be an enjoyable experience but one that helps your muscles recover. I often get asked 'how do I foam roll?' If you've never foam rolled before it can be a daunting task. I recommend you start at your feet and work your way up your body. Make note of any tight areas and focus more time on those areas.

If foaming rolling isn't for you that's oaky there are other options. My recommendation is once you find something that works keep with it. There really is no one size fits all solution.

Do you foam roll? Tweet me and let me know!

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If you have any running questions you would like me to answer in an upcoming newsletter send me a message!

Let's keep the conversation going all week on social media! Let me know what you thought of this newsletter.

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Stephanieruns Fitness

461 North Service Rd West
Oakville Ontario,  L6M 2V5 - Canada

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Disclaimer: Always seek medical advice before starting an exercise program. This newsletter is not medical advice. Medical advice should be sought from a medical professional. Stephanieruns Fitness assumes no liability for any injuries as a result of the above content.