Monday, March 16, 2009

Ice baths

So, again, another embarrassing admission - in all my years of running and multi-sport craziness, I have never in my life taken a post-workout/race ice bath. Or extreme cold water bath for that matter. Along with the compression - and thank you ladies for the comments on compression; more on that later - I decided that I should start incorporating cold water baths into the recovery program after my long runs (I'm holding off on the actual ice part, at least for now).

Sunday called for a 60-minute run, which I did with my buddy Drew, and I came home, took a hot shower, and filled the tub up with some crazy cold water. Not to traditional bath levels, but just enough to cover my thighs. And then lowered myself in.


Are you kidding me? Yikes, that was cold. Not just cold, cold, but "Oh, my God I think I'm going to have a heart attack" cold. My feet were instantly aching, and I think my - umm - reproductive parts somehow leapt inside my stomach. I asked Cath - who has done cold water baths for years - how long this agony was supposed to last, and she insisted I needed 10 minutes of cold soaking.

Well, after a couple of brief respites from the frigid water, everything went numb, and I was able to clear the 10-minute mark. I couldn't feel my legs for about a half-hour afterward, but I think the soak did me good. Cath, of course, informed me that I had "done it all wrong" - it's apparently easier if you start with a very hot bath first, then drain the tub, and re-fill with the cold water while you're still in there - but I will definitely keep this routine in the training/recovery plan. My legs absolutely feel less fatigued and looser today than after a normal training weekend. I'm just not looking forward to all that cold water on my bare self.

As for the compression clothes, we're still working on that - the place we wanted to order from was out of Cath's size, and I somehow manage to straddle three different sizes (thanks to my crazy skinny calves and thighs). I'm thinking that this might be an item that you really need to try on first, so we'll probably go in to the ol' brick-and-mortar this weekend and get set up.

Anywho, hope your weekends were filled with good training sessions, a glass of wine (or three), and warmer temps.


1 comment:

  1. Ice baths are the best thing for recovery! Here's how I do it: as soon as I get home from the run, I put on a fleece top and a hat, get in the tub in my running shorts and socks (socks are key, the foot pain is the worst), start up the cold water and as soon as it covers my legs I dump in 20 pounds of ice. Soak for 15 minutes. Even after a marathon my legs feel almost normal after doing this. You'll get used to it. Drink hot tea or something warm while you're in there and have something to read.