Cooling down – important for the recovery process
To cool down after training and competitions is just as important as warming up before you start. This is relevant for all who are training with some intensity, no matter what kind of training method you are using, also if you are not training for running. Even if you feel that you just want to go to the shower or simply sit down after the session, you will be happy that you took your time for cooling down. We may call it “jogging down”.
Jogging down means that a more efficient recovery process is started than if you don’t do it. The earlier the process is started, the shorter the recovery time needs to be. Consequently, you wil be quicker ready for a new training session than if you skip the minutes for jogging down. This may reduce soreness in muscles, it will quicker remove waste products in your body and may ultimately prevent injuries.
Jogging down means 10-15 minutes with relaxed jogging, or even walking, after a competition or a training session. The harder the session has been, the more time is needed for jogging down.
There are several good reasons for planning jogging down to be a part of sessions:
The most important physical effect of jogging down is that slow jogging will ensure a gradual lowering of the pulse to the resting level. If you stop running too suddenly, the muscles will suddenly stop working, while your heart will not adapt to this immediately. It will for a while continue to pump blood into the body at a high pace. This will lead to excess blood in the lower art of the legs, leading to insufficient amount of blood for other parts, including the brain. This is the reason why many runners feel dizziness after a long (and/or hard) running session.
Reducing soreness in muscles
Jogging down will also prevent that the muscles “tighten up” after the training. In other words, it leads to muscle relaxation. This will reduce the probability of getting sore muscles after the training. Scientifically this is known as “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness” (DOMS).
I myself was pretty much good at performing jogging down after all my training sessions. I believe that this was one of the reasons why I almost never had any injuries. On the other side, I almost never did any stretching after my sessions, because I did not believe that it helped. The value of stretching as a part of the recovery is still being discussed among the experts. I used jogging down instead, since it worked for me.
My recommendation to all those I am coaching and working with, whether they are elite athletes or just casual runners, is to find what is best for yourself to reduce your risk of injury. If jogging down works for you, you should do it, by the reasons mentioned. Then, make a standard jogging down ritual for yourself. If you are among those who count kilometers and miles, you will be rewarded by some extra distance as well, which is not so bad.
The actual physical reason for soreness in muscles is still being discussed among scientists. A verified explanation has still not been found. So, if you find your own method to avoid it, and also to prevent injuries, whether it is jogging down and/or stretching, this will be the best for you.
Author: Ingrid Kristiansen
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