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How to Cool Down After a Long Run

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This is a question that many people tend to ask, especially those who are interested in participating in long runs. Health experts are of the opinion that this depends upon the intensity and length of the effort. What is necessary after the long training runs is a solid cool down procedure. It is as necessary to increase your performance as well as recovery as warm-up. The latter helps you to be better prepared for the upcoming workouts. Whereas, the cool down helps to ease your body and get you back into reality. This prepares you to be prepared for the next tough workout.


Blood is transitioned from working muscle to resting flow patterns. This is achieved by walking post run. Abrupt stopping after runs is likely to encourage blood pooling. It may cause dizziness. But, walking postrun for few minutes can be considered to be minimalist cool down, if time is short. In case, you are eager to get more benefits, then you can consider customizing the cool down routine for suiting race or workout types.

Easy ways to achieve the task

  • Easy effort run: Brisk walking is to be continued for 3 to 5 minutes and then continue with gentle walking. This is to be done slowly and the transition process should be done properly. Form drills can be performed for about 5 to 10 minutes for mobility, strength and form. Total body flexibility is to be performed for 5 to 10 minutes like stretches and foam rolling.
  • Quality run: Run-walking or easy effort running is to be practiced for about 5 to 10 minutes after the speed, tempo and other quality running efforts. Brisk walking for 3 to 5 minutes and then continued to gentle walking. Total body stretching for about 5 to 10 minutes, including foam rolling in warm-up routine or after hard workouts for about 2 to 6 hours.
  • Long run: Easy effort walking for about 10 minutes. Cold water bath, garden hose, shower or river, for about 5 to 10 minutes. Yoga pose like “Viparita Karani” or “Legs up on Wall” is to be performed for about 5 to 10 minutes. This can be performed on the floor, in the tree shade, on the ground and in bed. This can refresh circulation, stretch gently the legs. It is a fabulous way to reflect upon the long run. Then wait for about 2 to 6 hours after completing the long run finish. Perform massage, stretch or self massage. It allows the body and muscles with sufficient time for replenishing energy, fluids and to help recover from demands of long run. It makes way for optimal training for stretching and releasing the tight muscles.
  • Race day: For 5 to 10k races, run-walking or easy effort running for 10 minutes that is followed by easy effort walking for 5 minutes. For half full marathon races, perform easy effort walking for about 10 minutes. Yoga pose for 5 to 10 minutes.

Following the above will help you to cool down after a long run.