Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ice Baths

The first time I ever tried an ice bath, I was training for the 2013 Princess Half Marathon. It was about 3 weeks before the race, and I had just finished my longest training run to date – 12 miles. My calves were aching, so I did a few stretches, walked for about 5 minutes, and then decided I would be alright to make the 5 minute drive home. By the time I arrived back at home, my calves were screaming; I never knew such pain existed. I had not run that far in my life up until that day, and I wanted to feel on top of the world, but that darn calf pain was keeping me from my desired state of happiness! The only thing that came to my mind that could possibly help was an ice bath. I had read about them before, and how they were supposed help speed up recovery and reduce inflammation, so I gave it a try. It was not fun, but my leg pain was gone afterwards…it almost felt like I had not even run at all that morning! From that moment, I became a believer.

Over the last 2 months, I have perfected how I ice bath, and found ways to make it much easier to tolerate sitting in a tub of ice water. Here are my tips:

  1. Run the water at a lukewarm/cool temperature, and fill it only to where it will cover your legs.
  2. Get in the tub before you put in the ice.
  3. Wear a sweater during the ice bath to help keep your upper body warm (I like to wear my Texas Tech Under Armour sweater!)
  4. Drink some hot chocolate (or coffee, tea, etc.) during the ice bath to help keep your upper body even warmer. I always use my favorite Tigger mug!
  5. Distract yourself however you can. This can be anything; music, TV/movies, books on tape. I usually set up my portable DVD player nearby and watch the first part of a movie I love.

Happy Recovery!

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QOTD: Do you ever ice bath? How do you make it easier?

6 comments

  1. I've done it a couple time, but haven't done it since training for my first half. I don't know if it's worth being that cold, and I don't like being cold :-/

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    1. Haha I hear you! I didn't think it would be worth it either, but it really helps me after a long run, or a race where I really pushed my pace!

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  2. I've never taken an ice bath, but I do sometimes take a cold shower. I'm more of a fan of trying to let my body heal itself while I suffer through the pain. Haha. Plus, I don't think I could handle the cold. :)

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    1. Actually I completely agree with you Kim. It is really good to let your body heal naturally the majority of the time! I do an ice bath 1-2 times a month, and only after a long run, or a race (at least a 10K distance) where I ran hard.

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  3. The first time I ever ran 13.1 miles at one shot I was considering if I needed to ice bath. As it turned out we discovered we had a leak in our pool liner that needed to be patched up ( this was during the off season of course) So i was the one who got nominated to jump in the cold pool and put the patch on! I figured that was my "ice bath", And really I had no pain after that I just don't know if I could perposely put myself in a bathtub of ice. You are very brave!

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    1. Hahaha a cold pool would be just as rough! It's definitely not easy, but very worth it afterwards!!

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