Learn how and why to cool down after each run.
Like warming up, cooling down is an essential part of running. While you might just feel like dropping on the couch after a run, you’ll be thankful later for a proper cool-down, which can reduce muscle stiffness and soreness.
Cooling down consists of about five to ten minutes of relaxed jogging or walking at the end of your race or training session. Basically, the more vigorous your running session, the more need your body has to cool down. There are some good reasons to include cooling down into your training routine.
The most important reason for cooling down is that a gentle jog will gradually bring your heart rate back to a resting state. If you just stop running suddenly, the muscles stop but your heart does not adjust as quickly. It will continue to pump blood at a high rate which will pool or collect in the legs, leaving other areas of your body lacking blood, for example your brain. This is why some people feel dizzy after a long run.
Reducing muscle soreness
A cool-down will also counter the tendency of muscles to tighten after exercise. In many cases it will reduce muscle soreness after running, more formally know as Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
The cause of muscle soreness itself is debated in sport science circles.
Tip: By keeping a logbook, you can see for yourself if cooling down works for you, and develop a routine that works best for your body.