Sometimes the most important part of a workout isn’t the workout itself. If you are planning on doing any fast running, then you should plan on a warm up and a cool down. If you don’t have time for a warm up and cool down then you shouldn’t be doing a faster workout. Racing or doing speed work (link to your running def) without warming up and cooling down can lead to injury. What’s worse: 20-40 minutes of warm up/cool down before and after your faster runs or 2-6 weeks of downtime due to an injury?
Before any runs done at or around race pace, you should do a warm up. Warming up gets the blood flowing to your leg muscles and prepares them for faster running. Runners should warm up for 10-20 minutes, or about 1-2 miles, before doing any fast running. Jog a mile or two at a pace that is extremely easy for you. You aren’t trying to wear yourself out before the run, so resist the urge to speed up. Once you finish the jog you can perform some 50-60 meter strides at a quicker pace to prep your legs for faster
running (as mention in 5k Training: Developing speed part 2 – link). Next you can do some stretching or a dynamic warmup* to further loosen up before your run.
After a tough workout or race, it’s important to do a cool down to help keep some of the stiffness out of you legs. Your cool down should be similar to your warm up, 10-20 minutes/1-2 miles easy running. After the cool down you can do some light stretching to help loosen up your muscles. Some runners like taking an ice bath after a hard race/ workout to keep inflammation down, but this is purely a personal choice as their hasn’t been any conclusive evidence that it helps. Using a foam roller, or rolling stick, after a
tough workout is a great way to give a “self massage” and work out stiff muscles.
Source: Strength Running
By Adam Rabo