What happens after the run?
There are many benefits to warming up before a run (or a race), but did you know a proper cool-down is also beneficial? Taking a few minutes to cool down not only benefits your body, but also your mind. It gives your heart rate a chance to return to normal as well as your breathing.
And let's not forget about the muscles that made the workout possible. A little stretching and TLC will enable them to relax and cool down as well.
That said, every body is different, and every runner has their own preferences. Time is also a crucial factor...for many of us, once the run is done, we usually have somewhere else we need to be.
Although I don't invest a great deal of time in the cool-down, I still try to do a few things following every run. Even a few minutes of simple stretching is better than nothing.
Here are a few of my tried & true cool-down tactics:
If time allows, I take a short walk. Often times, this may just be walking the last 2-3 blocks back to my house after a run, or even just some pacing back and forth following a race. A lot of times, my dog, Max, will be waiting for me at home, so I'll take him around the block. That's a win-win, for both of us.
Often times, I do a few of my warm-up drills, but in a more slow, controlled motion. Anything to keep the legs moving, if even for a short while, will help ease the muscles as your breathing and heart rate return to normal.
Now that my knee has almost completely healed, I'm embracing child's pose like nothing else. I think I can feel every muscle in my entire body stretch and release in this pose.
Finally, if time allows, a few minutes of twisting always feel great!
How about you? Do you spend a few minutes cooling down after a run or a race? Got any favorite stretches or yoga poses?
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