Marathon Training 2019 Day 2: The Importance of a Proper Cool-Down

January 12 2019 family hike“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Today’s run was another easy run and at various times during the run, I focused on different aspects of my running form. In future posts, I will share these with you and some things you can focus on during your run to help improve your running form. You may also want to have your stride assessed, so that you can make any necessary adjustments to improve your running performance. Another thing I needed to focus on during today’s run was not pushing the pace and keeping a relaxed and easy pace, which you should do as well on your easy days.

I began with a dynamic warm-up. Then, I ran for ~42 minutes at an easy pace, in a primarily flat area. Immediately after my run, I did the following mobility and strengthening exercises for 10-15 minutes:

  • Leg swings forward and back with both straight and bent leg (10 repetitions of each for each leg)
  • Leg swings side-to-side with both straight and bent leg (10 repetitions of each for each leg)
  • Single-leg stand (~30 seconds for each leg)
  • Pushups (8 repetitions)
  • Monster walks side-to-side and forward and back (done with resistance band, 10 repetitions for each direction)
  • Prone planks (~30 seconds)
  • Side planks (~20 seconds)
  • Supine planks (~15 seconds)
  • Clamshells (15 repetitions on each side)
  • Y, T, I, and W (8 repetitions for each position)
  • Double leg hip bridges (10 repetitions)
  • Quadrupeds (10 repetitions on each side)
  • Toe yoga (10 repetitions times for each foot)
  • Fire hydrants (5 repetitions on each side)
  • Knee circles forward (5 repetitions for each leg)
  • Knee circles backward (5 repetitions for each leg)
  • Single-leg balance (~30 seconds for each leg)

After these exercises, I did a cool-down, which included foam rolling and eccentric lengthening exercises for ~10 minutes, as shown in the video below. You can also do the active isolated stretching exercises, as shown in the video below, or use static stretching and/or yoga poses.

Recommendation: For beginners and those who have taken a significant amount of time off, you may want to start your training by running three days per week. Other runners may want to start with 4-5 days per week. So, depending on your running history and fitness level, I recommend the following:

  • Beginners (such as those wishing to complete their first marathon):
    • I recommend doing an easy walk for 15-20 minutes.
    • Also, you may want to perform any of the following mobility and strengthening exercises that you know how to perform properly:
      • Leg swings forward and back with both straight and bent leg (5-10 repetitions of each for each leg)
      • Leg swings side-to-side with both straight and bent leg (5-10 repetitions of each for each leg)
      • Single-leg stand (~15-30 seconds for each leg)
      • Standard or knee-assisted pushups (5-10 repetitions)
      • Monster walks side-to-side and forward and back (done with or without a resistance band, 5-10 repetitions for each direction)
      • Prone planks (20-30 seconds)
      • Side planks (15-20 seconds)
      • Supine planks (10-15 seconds)
      • Clamshells (10-15 repetitions on each side)
      • Y, T, I, and W (5 repetitions for each position)
      • Double leg hip bridges (5-10 repetitions)
      • Quadrupeds (5-10 repetitions on each side)
      • Toe yoga (5-10 repetitions for each foot)
      • Fire hydrants (5 repetitions on each side)
      • Knee circles forward (5 repetitions for each leg)
      • Knee circles backward (5 repetitions for each leg)
      • Single-leg balance (~15-30 seconds for each leg)
    • In addition, I recommend foam rolling, static stretching, yoga poses, or active isolated stretching for at least 5-10 minutes
  • Intermediate/Advanced (those runners who have completed at least a couple of marathons and have not taken a significant amount of time off from running):
    • Dynamic warm-up. You may want to do the same dynamic warmup as yesterday, so that you start getting used to that specific dynamic warm-up so that it becomes easier.
    • Then, I recommend a 30-45 minute run at an easy pace, ideally in a primarily flat area.
    • The effort should feel easy. You want to focus on those important adaptations that will help build your “aerobic engine” including strengthening your heart, building more blood vessels and capillaries, improving blood flow.  So don’t push too hard and enjoy it and let your “aerobic engine” build.
    • After your run you may want to perform any of the following mobility and strengthening exercises that you know and can perform properly:
      • Leg swings forward and back with both straight and bent leg (5-10 repetitions of each for each leg)
      • Leg swings side-to-side with both straight and bent leg (5-10 repetitions of each for each leg)
      • Single-leg stand (~15-30 seconds for each leg)
      • Standard or knee-assisted pushups (5-10 repetitions)
      • Monster walks side-to-side and forward and back (done with or without a resistance band, 5-10 repetitions for each direction)
      • Prone planks (20-30 seconds)
      • Side planks (15-20 seconds)
      • Supine planks (10-15 seconds)
      • Clamshells (10-15 repetitions on each side)
      • Y, T, I, and W (5 repetitions for each position)
      • Double leg hip bridges (5-10 repetitions)
      • Quadrupeds (5-10 repetitions on each side)
      • Toe yoga (5-10 repetitions for each foot)
      • Fire hydrants (5 repetitions on each side)
      • Knee circles forward (5 repetitions for each leg)
      • Knee circles backward (5 repetitions for each leg)
      • Single-leg balance (~15-30 seconds for each leg)
    • In addition, you should perform a cool-down that incorporates foam rolling, static stretching, yoga poses, or active isolated stretching for at least 10 minutes

Tip of the Day: To maximize running performance and minimize the risk of injury, you need to do a cool-down after your workouts (this might be after a run and/or mobility and strengthening exercises, which I will discuss in a later post). There are different types of cool-downs you can do. Below are links to videos for two cool-downs; active isolated stretching/flexibility and foam rolling. It is important that you length the muscles after running and break up any adhesions or scar tissue in muscles that could cause shortening of the muscle, and thus, negatively impact running form and increase the risk of injury.

Active isolated stretching:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1080&v=wSUNK3SJWVE

 

Foam rolling:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=oEJjHW4A1U0

 

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can be of help in any way.

Be your best self today.

 

Your friend and coach,

Brian