Cool Down after a tough run, a workout, or a race for a faster recovery.

Why is a cool down so important after a fast run, a tough interval workout, or a race? It speeds up the recovery process. You won't be as sore the next day, and you can do another race or hard workout sooner rather than later.

Don't know exactly what to do? Follow the three simple steps below to recover quickly.

1. Don't lay down or sit for a long time after your workout or race. I know you will probably be very tired, but you need to start your cool down within 10 minutes of finishing.

2. The cool down should be between 10 to 20 minutes long, but you can jog very slow, or even walk if you like.

3. Stretch after you finish your jog/walk. Stretch out all the major muscles in your legs. Make sure to hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds.

Thats it. Seems simple enough right. A proper cool down does many things for you. It helps keep blood from pooling in your legs. Blood wants to stay there because your legs were just working hard. If you stop right away, your body goes into a rest state too soon. Let your heart rate slow down gradually so it can distribute the blood properly.

Keeping the blood moving also gets rid of lactic acid. What is lactic acid you ask? It is produced when your body can't take in enough oxygen during a hard workout. It provides you with energy in the short term, but will slow you down in the long term. That's why you can only sprint for so long. By jogging or walking after a fast run helps your body process the lactic acid which helps your legs feel less fatigued.

Finally, your body is full of adrenaline after a tough race or workout. If you go from intense running to nothing, your body will have a hard time adjusting. You want to ease your body back into a normal resting state by doing a slow jog or walk.

I hope all this information helps convince you to consider cooling down after a hard run. Your legs will thank you if you do!

Want more than just a few ideas on workouts? If completing a marathon is your goal, suggests the 100 Day Marathon Plan. Follow this plan to find the perfect training regimine for any runner.

- Written by David Tiefenthaler

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