Ice Bath Advice

Yesterday was bad for absolutely no particular reason. So I came home and did this.

2012 02 09 17 52 03 301

Best decision of the day.

I also entertained my latest addiction: the Whole Foods salad bar.

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If it wasn’t so damn expensive, it wouldn’t be a problem, but at $7.99/lb., this could prove to be a costly habit. It’s just SO good! I crave it, and when I get that craving in my head, there’s no substitution. I can’t really make it at home, either, since I get so many different things . . . marinated mushrooms, sesame or teriyaki tofu, roasted vegetables, marinated artichokes, sweet potato wedges, edamame, roasted beets . . . I’m trying to justify the expense since it’s all healthy stuff, but when I get at least $10 worth of salad at least once a week, well–I might need to scale back. Maybe I’ll get my act together and roast up a bunch of veggies this weekend so I can have them on salads this week. Probably worth it, huh?

********************************************************************

After all of your comments yesterday about ice baths and how worth it they are, I decided to do a little research. I don’t typically get too sore after my long runs, but I want to boost my muscle recovery and prevent injuries, so I’m thinking about giving it a try. I did a little research and here’s what I found out:

  • Cryotherapy (“cold therapy”) constricts blood vessels and decreases metabolic activity, which reduces swelling and tissue breakdown
  • Once the skin is no longer in contact with the cold source, the underlying tissues warm up, causing a return of faster blood flow, which helps return the byproducts of cellular breakdown to the lymph system for efficient recycling by the body.
  • Ice baths don’t only suppress inflammation, but help to flush harmful metabolic debris out of your muscles
  • Cold-water immersion generally produces a greater and longer lasting change in deep tissues and is more a more efficient means of cooling large groups of muscles simultaneously

From Runner’s World

Icebath illustration 200

You guys had lots to say about them, too!

Tara said,

Tara

I believe in the power of the ice bath. I typically do one for anything over 13 miles and when I don’t it seems like the pain lasts longer.

Paula said,

Paula miami

Ice baths are totally worth it. I’m convinced they have kept me almost pain free after all my long runs.

Rachael said,

Rache happy

It is the worst thing in the entire world, but I agree with Paula in that it DOES reduce pain. I took them after anything over 15 miles. With a starbucks. Followed by a beer. :)

Michelle said,

Michelle beer

YES to the ice bath. 20+ lbs of ice and lots of water. Try to cover all of your muscles in your legs for the full effect. I recommend bundling up before you jump in – with a hot cup of coffee in hand and mimosa ready to chug when you get out :)

Michael said,

Michael

I do ice baths after long, gruelling runs and although they aren’t nice, you get used to them and they really help the body repair. During my football career (soccer), we had to have ice baths after every game and during pre season. It was done religiously as the healing process can be much quicker. It’s worth giving them a go and you will get used to them, just get through the first minute or two and it does get easier!

And Caroline added,

Caroline feet

YES to the ice bath! I hate the cold too, but am still willing to sit in the bath to avoid some of the pain. The first bath will feel like you’re dying… they get easier! I close up the bathroom and blast the room with a space heater so the air is nice and hot in the room. I run the water and then check the temp. Since the winter started I actually haven’t needed water- it’s been about 50 degrees coming straight from the ground. I turn on an episode of something like Modern family on the laptop so I have something else to focus on, wear clothes in the tub, and drink hot tea. blast the space heater on you too:) It’s worth it…

I’m sure I’m going to HATE every second of it, but I suppose I’ll give it a go. I have 14 miles on the docket for tomorrow, so I think I might wait until after my 16 miler to try it out. Plus, that’ll give me some time to stockpile some ice–I’m too cheap to buy 20 lbs. worth of ice at the store every weekend! But I’m sure my ice maker will be happy to do the work during the week! At least it’s cold outside so I can just store it out there for now.

Given my Raynaud’s, I am absolutely terrified and will hold each of you personally responsible if I lose any fingers or toes doing this. I hope you’re ready to have that hanging over your heads!!!


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18 thoughts on “Ice Bath Advice

  1. I, too, love Whole Foods selection. But I am right there with you — too expensive for every week!! Maybe it is our “special reward” for a month of hard work?

    These ice baths sound…..painful…..keep me posted on how it goes!

  2. The hardest part of the ice bath for me is my toes because of my Raynaud’s. Oh man does it burn, but it’s definitely worth it in the end. (and don’t put her fingers in the ice bath – they didn’t run. Hee).

    The girl I ran with during my marathon training had a problem with ice baths – her body hits some kind of cold/pain threshold and passes out so she can only bath in cold water! I’m thinking that w/Raynaud’s your threshold is pretty high – but if you know you’re really sensitive (and might pass out) don’t do it (or make sure someone is at home with you!).

  3. I’m eager (and also scared) to try ice baths. But what do you wear? Running tights? Shorts? Just a bathing suit? Also, are they recommended for all long run recovery – regardless of the mileage? I’m looking to step up my training (ie, actually train) so recovery is key.

  4. Ice baths aren’t that bad. I’ve taken them the last two weeks after my 17 and 18 mile runs. I just emptied the ice maker’s worth of ice into the cold water and actually sat down still in my running clothes. The first few minutes is the worst but you get used to it. It seems like it really does help. Good luck!

  5. I am glad that you did this post because I am contemplating on taking the plunge (<——-pun intended;-)

    Like you, I am nervous because I hate being cold, especially with my raynaud's syndrome. I don't want my body to freak out and turn all purple on me. How long do you have to stay in for? Let me know how it goes! I think I will try after my 15 mile run in two weeks.

  6. My cousin has run several marathons and swears by them! I’ve done them a couple times (although I just use really cold weather since I live in a 5th floor studio and getting ice bags up there seems a bit much). I’m definitely going to start them up again soon now that I’m getting into 12 and 13 mile runs for my half marathon training!

  7. Good luck on your ice bath adventures! I’ve shied away from them, too, because they scare the bejesus out of me and my legs. I’ll be curious to see how it goes for you!

  8. A little tip! If you’re worried about your toes(which is the worst part!), you can wrap them tightly together with tape or put socks on but make sure they are folded down only covering the toes. This will make it a little more bearable. Also, don’t get in slowly as mentally you will talk yourself out of it, just go for it, get in quickly and then control your breathing. Good luck 🙂

  9. Ugh, ice baths are sooo the worst! I’ve only done it once, HORRIBLE! But I read about getting a trash can and just putting your knee down in that and I think I could handle that, so I might try that. Happy weekend!

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