Cooling down probably could have been included with Part 5.  There is not a lot of meat to this post.  Cooling down after a good run

1) allows the body to gradually return to it’s relaxed state

2) allows the body to slowly remove lactic acid and waste material out of the muscle

3) allows the body to maintain post workout mobility (decrease stiffness)

4) allows the body to decrease onset of muscle soreness (this is always up for debate…learn how your body responds)

5) feels really good.

Studies show a proper cool down aids in the prevention of and recovery from injuries related to running and other  physical activity (ie IT band syndrome.)

Beyond all the scientific information you can find, it all boils down to maintanence. Make sure you keep up with your body like you do a race car, guitar, motorcycle, or any other utility used for performance.  Take the proper measures to ensure maximum performance, maximum recovery and minimize injury.  Cooling down is as much a part of proper maintanence of an athlete’s body as much as keeping your oil changed in your car.

A cool down may last 5-10 minutes. It should involve stretching or exagerated movement and progressively lighter cardiovascular movements. Sometimes cooling down is as simple as reversing your warm-up.

Sample Cool Down:

200m light jog

Dynamic stretch routine (high knees, butt-kickers, etc.)

200m lighter jog to a walk

Dynamic stretch routine

100m walk

Static stretch