All training sessions and races should have a warm up and cool down before making demands on your body.
Time spent on warming up and cooling down will improve performance and speed up the recovery process. That is why it is essential for anyone who undertakes any kind of running.
This means that before you tackle the actual training run you should do a steady jog around the track or the fields for the required time, do your stretching and drills, then do the run as detailed in the programme, follow with a steady jog around the track or the fields.
All sessions should begin with a 10-12 minute warm-up. This should be made up of 6-8 minutes of easy jogging and then some stretches and drills to take your limbs through a wide range of motion, such as lunges, high knees and skipping.
The Warm Up is to get you going. It loosens up the joints and stretches out the muscles. It prevents the injuries where the body has been asked to perform when it has been fairly static for the day up to that point. It also raises the heart rate gradually so that it achieves the optimum performance. It increases the blood flow throughout the muscles and other parts of the body necessary for exercise. Mentally you become attuned to exercise.
It is also essential to complete an 8-10 minute cool down at the end of each session. This will improve recovery and allow you to be ready for your next session feeling fresher and ready to go.
The Cool Down helps the muscles to clear out all the waste products such as lactic acid, helps to avoid muscle soreness, reduces levels of adrenaline, and returns the heart rate to lower levels.