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How to Properly Cool Down After a Run

Why you should properly cool down and effective ways to do it

Running and exercise are essential to your overall health. Runners are known for pushing themselves to extremes, from increasing mileage to running on different terrain. One thing all runners have in common: you have to take care of your body. Everyone is different and takes care of themselves the best ways they know how. This blog focuses on how to properly cool down after a run and provides some effective ways to do so.

Female runner smiles as she crosses the 2020 Austin Half Marathon finish line.After a good run or workout session, you’re covered in sweat and your heart is racing. When you properly cool down after a run your heart rate can get back to its normal state. Stopping suddenly after a run without cooling down can cause dizziness. It is equally important to cool down after a run as it is to warm up before a run. Pro tip: effectively warm-up before your run with these four stretches.

The benefits of a cool-down routine

A good run gets your heart and body working harder. It is important to gradually bring your heart rate to normal after any form of workout. A good cool-down routine allows the heart rate to normalize gradually.

With an increased heart rate, a good running session also affects breathing in the same way. A good cool-down routine also helps the breathing to return to its natural rhythm. It can also help you relax after a rigorous run.

Running or working out promotes the flow of blood throughout the body. After a good running session, stopping suddenly can cause blood pressure to drop rapidly. A proper cool-down routine allows it to fall gradually. 

Two runners jump for joy with their hands raised in the air as they cross the 2020 Austin Half Marathon finish line.

Effective ways to properly cool down

  • End with a brisk walk or a slow jog for 5-10 minutes
  • Hydrate
  • Foam roll (avoid these foam rolling mistakes)
  • Stretch for 10-15 minutes (important muscles to stretch below)
    • Groin, inner thigh, IT band
    • Calves
    • Quads and hamstrings
    • Backs and arms
    • Core

Remain relaxed and breathe slowly while you stretch. Don’t stretch to the point where it starts to hurt. You should not push yourself after a point where you begin to feel stiffness in the muscles.

A cold water bath for 5-10 minutes is another effective way to cool down after you’ve hydrated and stretched. Lying on the floor with your legs up against the wall is also a great way to cool down after a long run. This pose is also referred to as “Viparita Karani” in yoga.

Everyone cools down differently. By knowing how to properly cool down you start the recovery process as quickly as possible. If you want to further understand how temperature affects your running performance, check out this blog written by Ascension Seton Sports Performance’s Dr. Jakob Allen. It further highlights the need to properly cool down after a hot run.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Runners

High Five Events Postpones Austin Marathon, Cancels 3M Half Marathon

High Five Events postpones Austin Marathon, April 25th is new date for the Austin Half Marathon

High Five Events postpones the 2021 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour and cancels the 2021 3M Half Marathon presented by Under Armour. The collaborative decision was made after meetings with the City of Austin and Austin Public Health. Registered participants of both events have numerous options available, including participating in the Austin Marathon’s new date, April 25, 2021. The new date will consist of the Austin Half Marathon, KXAN SimpleHealth 5K, and Manzano Mile.

“These were difficult decisions to make, but the health and well-being of our participants, staff, and community will always be our first priority,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “Our team has worked overtime to create the best experience for our participants and will continue to do so with the new date.” 

New event date and deferral options

High Five Events is optimistic that the April 25th event can be held in-person based on the conversations and collaborative efforts with The City of Austin and Austin Public Health. Extensive mitigation plans for the new event date have been completed and are based on the Austin-Travis County COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines Stages 1-4. These plans are in addition to the months of work and organizing that have been underway creating an event experience that participants have come to love.

Registered participants of the Austin Marathon can transfer to the April 25th Austin Half Marathon or defer based on the updated policies. Deferral options include the 2022, 2023, and 2024 Austin Marathons. Registered participants of the 3M Half Marathon can transfer to the April 25th Austin Half Marathon or defer based on the updated policies. Deferral options include the 2022, 2023, and 2024 3M Half Marathons. All of these options are available at no extra cost to those already registered.

These options apply for both in-person and virtual registrations. Regardless of the option participants choose, they will retain access to the extremely popular Run Austin Virtual Series. Plans are underway to extend the series through April.