Cool Down Exercises for Runners

Cool down exercises form part of your wider recovery strategy, designed to return your body to its pre-exercise, rested, state as fast as possible. In this post, we will explain and provide examples of cool down strategies you can use after you have been for a run. 

Exercise results in a temporary reduction in performance. This is essential for our bodies to rest and repair, and ultimately promotes the adaptations to our body that will help us in our continued training.  Cool-down exercises support and encourage this process so that we can perform exercise more frequently 

Whilst cooldowns don’t directly reduce the risk of injury, they do help to improve our recovery time. Our chance of injury in future sessions is therefore reduced as exercising when fatigued is a major risk factor for injury. 

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8 Tips for Running Safely

You’ve signed up to your eventyou’ve chosen your training plan, and you’ve got your eyes set on the finish line. Now you’ve just got to lace up your trainers and start running! But before you rush out of the door and bound down the path towards your next 5k, 10k, or Half Marathon, it’s worth taking a little time to consider how to safeguard yourself from the hazards and challenges that runners face if not prepared. 

via GIPHY

Wherever you are running in the world, whatever your level of running experience, and regardless of the distance you’ll be covering, there will be ways in which you need to be smart and savvy with your running; from route planning to the tech you use, and from weather conditions to kit choices. 

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Nutrition advice for runners: The Wheel of Food Happiness

A picture of a pie chart split equally with the headings: Delicious, nutritious, cheap and easy. The centre of the wheel states " The wheel of food happiness"

Running is going to make you hungry. This is great because a) food is delicious and b) if you take a little care over the ingredients you use, you can get some powerful nutrients in your body which will add to the benefits you’re already getting from training.

Just like with any other aspect of your regime, the most important factor determining the effectiveness of your nutrition plan is whether you actually stick to it. If you don’t get that part right then none of the rest really matters. There is no point concocting the perfect blend of spirulina, raw biltong and ground flax seeds for your post-run snack, if realistically you’re going to find that way too difficult to stomach after you’ve got out of bed earlier than usual to do interval training first thing on your Wednesday morning.

The best running food will ideally be nutritious enough that it actively helps your body adapt to your training. It will be easy to prepare and store so that it doesn’t become an inconvenience. It will be cheap enough that you can eat plenty of it without it any negative financial impact. And finally, it will be so delicious that it actually increases your motivation for training.

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Warm-Up Exercises for Runners

Warm-ups are designed to get your body ready for upcoming activity, whether that’s running, lifting weights, swimming, or anything else that is over-and-above your ‘normal’ activity level. Preparing your body reduces your risk of injury, improves your performance and prepares you both physically, and mentally.

But what does ‘preparation’ mean in practice? A warm-up must gradually increase your heart rate, which in turn increases your blood flow, muscle temperature and oxygen delivery.

Paul Reay and Toby Hodder, our resident Health and Fitness Advisers, have created this step-by-step break-down of a recommended warm-up for runners. You can follow it through at your own pace, using the tips and photos for guidance. This warm-up uses a RAMP structure, and is perfect to accompany your shorter runs – if you’re currently working on your couch-to-5km training plan, this is for you!

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Student Spotlight: Astrid Blee (Bristol Uni Run Leader)

At Bristol Uni Sport we’re expanding our community of student and staff Run Leaders! Whether you’re a cross-country superstar, or total beginner, it doesn’t matter – we’re simply looking for enthusiastic, community-minded individuals to get involved and support your peers in keeping active this year.

Astrid, Bristol Uni PG: Run Club leader


Astrid Blee is a third-year PhD student in the School of Physics, but in her spare time she also is a Bristol Uni Run Leader. We spoke to Astrid about her experiences as a Bristol Uni Run Leader over the past 12-months, and why she thinks that you should get involved this year!

Astrid’s Run Leader journey started out when she discovered how running with other people can make the experience more enjoyable.

“I’ve always run by myself, but after trying a couple of runs with a friend of mine, I discovered that running with other people is actually good fun!”

The comradery that came with running as part of a group inspired Astrid to set up her own running group.  She thought setting up a running group would be a good way to meet new people and have fun being active together. 

“I was delighted to find out that at the same time, the university was offering the LIRF (Leadership in running Fitness) training.”

The Leadership in Running Fitness (LIRF) training is an official qualification led by England Athletics and is designed to prepare you to provide a safe and enjoyable running experience for young people over 12 years of age and adults of any ability, size or shape. Astrid applied for a place on the LIRF course, offered to prospective Bristol Uni Run Leaders for FREE by Bristol Uni Sport.  

Astrid has now been leading PG: Run Club for almost a year, and told us that the LIRF training offered by Bristol Uni Sport was really beneficial and a huge help in getting her group ‘up and running’! 

“[The LIRF training] was really good fun, and very informative – I felt really reassured.  …it’s definitely helped me with planning PG: Run Club

Astrid also takes PG: Run to Parkrun some weeks too!

And, whilst Astrid was running fairly regularly before she signed up to become a Bristol Uni Run Leader, we’re encouraging everyone from the runner-bean to running-novice to get involved with this opportunity to give something back to the #WeAreBristol community! Astrid agrees; “Some awareness of the difficulties of long distance running/training is pretty useful, [but] you definitely don’t need to be an advanced to runner to be a running leader”.

Becoming a Run Leader is a unique way to get active, get social and give back to the #WeAreBristol community. Astrid highlighted how rewarding the Run Leader role can be both personally, and as being part of a community that you have helped to build;

“I have loved getting to know people I’d have absolutely no interaction with otherwise – I’ve met lots of post-grads and definitely made new friends!

It’s really satisfying to see other people’s progress as well as your own. The beginners group that I’ve been leading for about a month now have already made great steps towards running a continuous 5K (our soft goal!), which I’m really proud of.

The Run Leader role is open to staff and students, with Run Leader training taking place in December 2019 at the Coombe Dingle Sports Complex.

Astrid’s top tip before you sign-up? Don’t fret: it’s really easy to build up your own skills as well as helping others to develop. 

Click here to express your interest in joining the Run Leader team!  

If you’re a post-grad looking for a group of friendly faces to stay active with, why not join Astrid on their next run? Visit their Facebook page for all the details.

For more information about the role, email john.wilford@bristol.ac.uk.