To start a cool down an athlete should walk for a couple of minutes before slowing building up their pace to no more than a minute a kilometre slower than their easy run pace. After about 10 minutes running at a very easy run pace the athlete should then slow the cool down to walking pace before coming to a stop.
A cool down works by removing lactate from an athlete’s blood and muscles and by transporting oxygen around the body faster than the athlete would do by standing still.
As well as a reduction in lactate a cool down removes adrenaline (epinephrine) from the blood stream quicker than if the athlete was at rest. This slows the heart rate, decreases blood pressure, and slows the rate and death of breathing helping an athlete to recover.
At the end of a cool down an athlete’s body and muscles are still supple, therefore slightly more flexible so it is an ideal time for the athlete to complete static stretches.