The Ultimate Runners Cool Down Checklist
Health wellness

The Ultimate Runners Cool Down Checklist

by BODY COMPLETE RX

You just ran your butt off. The last thing you want to do is run through some cool-down exercises. Right? Wrong.

You never want to skip your cool-down routine.

The cool-down relaxes your muscles and lowers your heart rate. If you are not new to the post-workout aches, then you know what I’m going to say next. If you don’t want to be sore, then you have to take the time to cool down. 

 

 

Lactic acid can build-up during intense workouts faster than you can burn it off. That remaining lactic acid causes your muscles to be tender and stiff. If this happens, say goodbye to crushing your workout tomorrow, you will probably limp around the house for the next couple of days. Instead, just avoid the fatigue and run through this cool-down checklist. 

 

  1. (If it’s not cold where you live) Run barefoot in the grass or dirt at a slower pace than you ran your workout, says the Adidas Runtastic team. No matter how expensive or technically advanced your shoes are, you are still likely to cut circulation and suffer possible injuries. Strengthen your foot and give it room to breathe by doing a cool down jog, sans the shoes. 

  2.  Breathe! More specifically belly breathing (or diaphragmatic breathing.) When you use your lungs to their full capacity you will keep oxygen in your lungs for longer than shallow chest breathing. If you weren’t focused on breathwork during your workout- really honing in on it during your cooldown.  Breathing deeply delivers more oxygen to your muscles, helping slow down the build-up of lactic acid. 

  3. Leg Swings. Stretch out your calves, quads, hamstrings, and groin muscles. A good full-leg stretch will prepare your body for the next workout. kansashealthsystem.com says to “Use small swings that progress into larger swings as tolerated. Then switch to side-to-side leg swings. 

  4. Calf Stretches, give them love! Running is hard on your legs and it’s so easy to overuse them. Try this calf stretch from Healthline.com, “Stand near a wall with one foot in front of the other, front knee slightly bent. Also bend your back knee, keeping your heel on the ground, as you lean toward the wall. Feel the stretch in the lower part of your calf muscle. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds. Switch legs, then alternate for a total of 3 repetitions.”  

  5. Foam Roll. ASAP.  Is there a cool down to boost your performance, why yes there is. Foam rolling has been proven to increase flexibility and reduce muscle soreness. Adding it to your cool-down routine will only make your next workout easier. 

  6. Downward Dog it out. Last but not least, stretch your whole body out. Sometimes we carry tension in our shoulders while we run. We find a good down-dog will help you release upper body tightness and ease lower back pain. 

  7. Finally, reward yourself with a hot shower, you did good today!