For the 12 years that we’ve been parents, Mr. Zippy and I have always alternated who gets what early morning for workouts. It’s a system that has served us well and when it’s my day, my only requirement is that I am back home by 8:00 to allow him to get out the door to work.
Tuesday I badly miscalculated how long my workout was going to take. Suffice it to say that it involved six hill repeats plus a tempo effort, and the hill repeats had to be 90 seconds each. When you add in the slow recovery jog between each, the workout gets lengthy, longer than I expected. So as I was doing my tempo after the hills, I started flipping screens back and forth on my watch to do time checks. I knew I wasn’t going to get both the tempo and the cool down in by 8 a.m., but I did manage to finish off the tempo miles in time.
My cool down was supposed to be two miles on this run. So here I was, flying into the house right off my tempo so that I could relieve Mr. Zippy. I then had about 15 minutes to get my daughter all situated and out the door to school. By the time I walked out with her, I was in no mood to add on two more miles of cool down to that run. But I did, and here’s why:
Cool downs are important. As much time as we spend wearing compression socks, icing, stretching, etc. in order to speed recovery, our first step should always be a cool down. I knew skipping mine yesterday would lead to stiffer legs today. When you stop cold after a hard effort, your legs pool with blood, lactic acid accumulates, and the process of developing sluggish legs gets under way. Run an easy mile or two and your body has a chance to ease back into a slower heart rate and start moving the junk out of the legs.
So I sucked it up and headed back out for my cool down miles yesterday, chilled and already starting to become a bit stiff. But I made the right move and come Friday when I have to run MP miles, and Saturday when I am running 22 with an insane amount of progression miles, I’ll be primed for having done them. Now do I recommend doing it with a 15-minute break in there? Nooo, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do!
Do you always get a cool down in or do you skip it when time is short?