Did you know a post run cool down is just as important, or possibly more important than a warm up before a run?
A post run cool down allows your body to slowly, slow down. A Post exercise cool down is important after all types of exercise you do, whether it’s running, lifting weights or playing sports, a cool down is necessary for the body to get back to its regular self. Of course, a post run cool down is important for the heart as well. It isn’t healthy to go from a rapid pounding heart rate, to a slow daily pace.
Here are some of our own helpful tips for how to properly cool down post run, whether you just ran a marathon or just did a short jog.
After running at a high speed, we think it’s best to ease yourself into stopping. Once you reached the end of your run, start slowing down your pace slowly. Go from fast, to moderate, to brisk walking and then finally a few minutes of your regular pace walk.
This allows your entire body to realize ‘okay, it’s time for me to start slowing down’. Your heart rate decreases at a healthy speed, allowing blood to continue flowing properly. It also allows you to begin breathing normally again.
I know after I run all I want to do is sit down and take a break, but your body needs a break too and the way to do that is by refraining the urge to sit down (ugh, I know) and slowing down gradually.
Stretching is so important; your body needs to be flexible in order to stand a chance against all that hard work you’re doing. Post run cool down stretching is necessary and you don’t want to skip this step.
After a run your body is warmed up, your muscles are stretchy and need to be stretched! Stretching during a post run cool down is potentially better than stretching before hand because your muscles are more flexible post run.
Post run stretching can also help you release the tension your body has built up during the run. Almost leaving you with a more relaxed, fulfilled feeling after your post run cool down.
How and what to stretch during a post run cool down?
Listen up: these are only tips and as a reminder, everyone’s body is different so do what feels right for you.
I recommend stretching your muscles slowly, gently and efficiently. A post run cool down stretching session should last anywhere from 10- 15 minutes. Each stretch should be about 20-30 seconds per side.
Stretch all muscles, especially your running muscles to their greatest potential but definitely don’t overdo it since this is the post run cool down, you don’t have to feel a burn. Stretching should never be uncomfortable or painful!
Always make sure to breath. Breath deep and try and use your breath to release tightness and tension from the run.
So now you ask, what muscles do I stretch and why?
Your hamstrings are a must. These are the muscles on the back of your things. If you don’t stretch these muscles it could lead to knee issues and back pain, and who wants that? Not me!
Next, hip muscles. This includes the glutes and lateral rotator muscles, the adductor muscles, and the iliopsoas muscles.
Calf muscles: Don’t forget the calf muscles, tightness here could start to limit your stride efficiency and increases the risk of cramps.
Quadriceps, these are the muscles at the front of your thighs. Like the calf muscles, tightness here can limit your strides.
Whatever or wherever you’re stretching do it properly. Ask a trainer, or a professional for help if you can’t seem to get it right. Remember, it’s a way to cool down, don’t dread on it if stretching is hard for you, because it is a challenging thing for a lot of people.
What do you do for a post run cool down? We want to hear from you. Send us a DM or personal message.
Get outside and start running, until next time….I’m out!