Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Never Say Never: Ice Baths

For the last couple of years training for marathons I’ve always heard about other runners taking ice baths to recover.  My mind would flash back to when I was a teenager falling in the not so frozen creek behind my home in Ohio.  I pretty much said that I’d never take an ice bath.  I’ve got to get rid of that word: never!

I’ve been taking ice baths since October.  I’m sold on them!  The recovery time after a long run or long race is minimized tremendously!

When taking an ice bath, I fill the tub up with cold water.  When it gets about 3/4 full, I add the ice.  I’ve settled on 2 bags of ice.  I’ve tried it with 1 bag, but it seems like 2 is the magic number for me.  I wear the same compression shorts that I ran in, but I usually go without a wearing a shirt.  I cannot stand the feeling of pulling off a freezing wet shirt… it gets wet at the bottom of the shirt.

As mentioned in the video, I’ll listen to some music and set a timer on my phone for 10 minutes.  After the ice bath, I do jump in the shower.  It doesn’t seem like it negates any affect from the ice bath.  It does help my toes as they get numb from the ice bath.

After the ice bath and shower, I get into some comfy clothes and put on my CEP Compression Sleeves.  I love the feeling of these sleeves after a long run.  It feels like a big old hug stimulating blood flow in my legs.  If you’ve ignored everything that I wrote and say “no way” to the ice bath, then at least invest in the compression socks.  That alone will definitely help with your recovery.

Some tips for recovering from long runs and/or a long race:

  1. Stretch!
  2. Replenish – I chug down a chocolate mile.  Eat a banana and a protein bar.  I’ll as well will drink a Gatorade.  You’ve got to replace what you’ve burned up during your long run.
  3. Ice bath!
  4. Compressions socks or sleeves.

Need more info?  Check out this article from the professionals:  Runner’s World Ice Baths article

Yes, I was a naysayer and said that I would never take an ice bath.  Then again, I said that I would never run a Marathon.  Once you take the ice bath and see the incredibly quick recovery time, you’ll be sold on them as well!  Do it!  Take the plunge!


Elaine Hillis said...

Great video!!! I luv ice baths and you introduced me to them!

Amanda said...

Ice Baths are so beneficial. Like you, I have to talk on the phone for the first 5-10 min though, it helps get over the shock.