Hey there Team!
Last week we took a look at the first couple of minutes of your run or workout, and what that could look like. Getting your body ready to perform, should always be a part of your workout. What about the last minutes of your workout though? Are they really that important? "I'm no pro-athlete so who cares, right?"
I would say that they are just as important - if you want a well performing and injury free body for many years to come. I hear exactly the same reasons here though, as I do for why people don't warmup properly. "I don't have the time" and "I gotta get the workout in" and "I gotta get to work". Let's look at it from a completely different perspective.
Imagine that you have just invested a huge amount of money into a race horse called Black Thunder. This amazing horse is expected to have a long and successful career. How do you think you would feel if you found out that Herb the trainer had put him straight into his box after finishing his race without a cool down?
Not only that, Herb leaves him there until the next day. Then he brings him straight to the starting line for a race, without any kind of warmup. Would you bet on your own horse winning that day? Would you be surprised to hear that Black Thunder had gotten injured if that practice continued? My guess is that you probably would fire Herb as soon as you could, if he didn't start taking better care of your horse.
Ok, ok this story might a bit extra dramatic, but really, isn't this what we do all the time to ourselves? The only differences is how surprised we get when we get injured, even though we still haven't fired Herb!
So, what to do? I like to try and outsmart myself. Meaning, I leave myself with only one option, and that option is a good one. For example, I take my bike to my CrossFit Gym. That way I have an automatic extra warmup and cool down built in by default. If you are in a Gym, hop onto a bike, a rower or a foam roller for a couple of minutes. Move that lactic acid out of your body nice and easy.
Targeted warm up + Performance + Cool down = a Workout
Is there a cool down included in your group workout? Awesome! But, you also should ask yourself "Is this enough for me today, or do I need a few more minutes?" If so, hop on that bike or rower, jog slowly, take a walk, or use a foam roller. Your coach is often very limited in the time that they have with you, and it's your responsibility to add more minutes to the cool down when you need it.
Make sure you look after the amazing Black Thunder. Have a good long talk with Herb, or just fire him! Set yourself up for a winning strategy in the long run. Make sure the last few minutes of your workout are easy, allowing you to cool down. When you can, add some mobility exercises to work on your tougher areas, later during the day or evening.
Keep working on those workouts, and have an amazing weekend!