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One of the most important parts of a workout is what happens afterward. After you complete your last repeat or interval, it is very important that you run a cool down. Although it is hard to jog after a tough training session, it does a great job of lessening soreness the day after the workout.
A cool-down also helps ensure that muscles do not tighten up. A five to ten minute job should do the trick. Go ahead and make the cool-down longer if you would like to get in more mileage for the day.
In addition to the cool-down, it is really important to eat and drink properly after a workout. In the hour after a hard run, there is a window in the muscles are most receptive to restocking their glycogen stores.
Therefore, it is really important to consume carbohydrates.
It is also a good idea to eat some protein after a workout in order to help the muscles repair. Energy bars are great for helping your body recover as are trail mix and bananas. Finally, be sure to get some fluids in you to fight off dehydration.
The bottom line is that runners need to take the necessary steps to cool the body down and eat properly after a hard workout.