Yesterday, I’ve completed the fourth phase of 100daysofrunning challenge. In this phase, my whole focus was on warm up and cool down strategies. I also tried to maintain the behaviors I learned in the previous three phases and they are:
- Stride Rate: I try to maintain a stride rate of 180 steps/minute to feel light on my feet.
- Body Posture: I try to maintain a good body posture to improve my running.
- Relaxation: I try to run without feeling any stress on my body to increase my recovery.
I’m very happy to say that all these three things combined together have worked wonders for me. Now, in the fourth phase, I focused on warm-up before the run and cool-down after the run.
Before this phase, I’ve never been so focused about the warm up and cool down. I believed that running slower in the start and at last will do the job. I’ve injured many times in past from minor injury to severe ones and I’ve never run for forty days in a row before. This is all possible because of the new things I keep implementing on my running and this is making me a better runner too.
Some days back, I was reading a book written by my favorite marathoner Meb keflezighi; Meb For Mortals: How to Run, Think and Eat like a Champion Marathoner and it taught me many things but the one thing that I learned the most is; the importance of warming up and cooling down.When I looked online for the warm-up and cool-down workouts and implemented those on my running.
Since then I’ve never thought of warming up, running and cooling down as different. The three are the same, one is incomplete without the other. So let’s talk about it:
Why Warm up Before a Run?
A good warm up prepares your body for the running workout. It helps to loosen up the joint and muscles. It increases the heart rate gradually and it also increases the blood moving through the tissues gently. It helps to decrease the muscle stiffness and reduces the possibility of injuries.
How I Warm-up Before a Run?
The first thing I do is to run for 2 km with a slow pace. So what’s a slow pace? Well, I define it as- a pace 30 to 60 seconds slower than your easy pace. And the easy pace is a pace at which you can comfortably talk. For e.g.: An easy pace for me is around 5:10/km so I run first two kilometers at a pace of 5:40/km – 6:10/km.
After the slow pace run, I do 20 step walks followed by 50-60 meters of easy pace running. So it looks like:
- Walking 20 steps on toes followed by 50-60 meters of easy pace running.
- Walking 20 steps on heels followed by 50-60 meters of easy pace running.
- Walking 20 steps while pointing the toes outward followed by easy pace running.
- Walking 20 steps while pointing the toes inward followed by easy pace running.
These walks help to relax my ankle joint and some leg muscles. After these, I go for dynamic stretches like skipping, butt kicks, high knees etc. These stretches help me to feel energized before the run.
With that, I finish my warm up and then go for an amazing run. Once my run is finished I feel great but I also feel soreness in some of my muscles. And that is why cooling down is important.
Why Cool Down After a Run?
While running our breathing gets faster, body temperature rises and lactic acid builds into the muscles. Cooling down after a run helps to get all of them to normal and it speeds up the recovery. You warm up so that you can run effectively. You cool down you so you can run the next run effectively.
How I Cool Down After a Run?
After finishing my run I walk for 5-10 minutes and this brings my heart rate and breathing pattern to normal then I go for stretching. Stretches improve the flexibility, joint’s range of motion and lower the risk of injuries. I take feedback from my body. The part that I feel is more tired or stiff, I use to focus more on that.
With these things in focus, I had a great time in the fourth phase. Here is the summary of the that:
Summary of the Fourth Phase
I ran a total of 85 km in the total time of 7 hours 28 minutes 46 seconds with an average speed of 11.36 km/hr and took total 80371 steps averaging 179.1 strides/minute.
Yeah, I’ve completed the 40 days of continuous running and feeling stronger and better. As the fifth phase is starting from today, I’m very excited to crush this one.
Hope this helped you. If you have any query or suggestion then let me know by commenting below. Till we meet next time, keep improving in your life. Happy Running!