Runners Toolbox: The Cool Down

Do you take off your sweaty clothes after a workout and just jump in the shower?

Do you then grab some food and a drink and plonk yourself on the couch?

Hands up if you are guilty as charged?

While this is a way to recover from a workout, your body will far benefit from a proper cooldown.

I get it, you are hot, sweaty, and want to feel refreshed. You’ll do the stretches later.  You say that, but let’s be honest, that NEVER happens.

My mindset shifted with the cooldown after I did my first round of the Whole Life Challenge.  In WLC you are required to do 10 minutes of mobility every day, in order to earn your point.  At first, I hated the idea.  However, a week into the challenge I noticed a significant difference.  My muscles felt more relaxed, I had fewer niggles, and my performance improved.

Just like the warm-up you need to allocate some extra time to do some post-workout stretches.

Photo by Elly Fairytale from Pexels

Why should you do a cooldown?

The purpose of the cooldown is not only to allow your heart rate and breathing to come back to normal but to help you recover from the strenuous workout session you just completed.

Stretching your body after your workout, while it’s still warm not only will help to reduce muscle fatigue, cramps and stiffness.  It will also help to increase your range of motion aka mobility.

Your post-workout routine could include, but is not limited to:

    • Walking
    • Easy Swimming
    • Yoga
    • Pilates
    • Static Stretching

Personally, I allow a minimum of 10 minutes to do my cooldown stretches.

My routine will vary depending on what type of workout I have completed.  But it will normally include some or all of the following:

    • Cat/Cow Stretch
    • Lower Back Stretch
    • Pigeon Stretch
    • Kneeling Quadriceps stretch and variations
    • Downward Dog
    • Quad Rockers and variations
    • Hip Lifts
    • Side-Lying T stretch

If you have the Nike Training App, there are various yoga and mobility workouts that are excellent post-workout routines.

Alternatively, check out my mobility YouTube playlist. It has various videos that range from pilates, yoga, and static stretching.  I’m constantly adding to it.

Then there is Yoga with Adriene.  Seriously, she’s fantastic and even has a playlist just for runners.

Do you do a cooldown?
What stretches do you benefit from?

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