Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Ice Bath Cometh

I learned a couple things from my Saturday run...

First lesson: if you don't properly fuel yourself before, during and after your run, your body will stage a coup d'etat and try to bring you down with aggressive force.

Second lesson: 15 miles introduces your body to a whole new realm of pain.

It was time for the ice bath. I grabbed the tray from the fridge and threw it in the half-full tub. I gave myself a moment to collect my thoughts and then I hopped in.

I only stayed in for 3 minutes, but I am now a disciple of the Ice Bath. Not only did my muscles feel instantly better (probably because I was numb), also I experienced zero soreness the following day.

It is, by far, the best recovery technique I have tried.

According to this article, two things happen during an ice bath:
  • Constriction closes microscopic damage while numbing the pain
  • The "blood rush" flushes waste from your muscles

And TA-DA! You can walk the next day!

*** Remember, I'm not a doctor and I have no clue what I'm talking about. Want to talk movie quotes from Jurassic Park or my favorite Sherman Alexie novel? Those are things I know. But I know nothing about health, nutrition or exercise science so please don't sue me if you get hypothermia ***

So, the ice bath is on the agenda for post-marathon recovery, along with a sport's massage the day after.

Happy Tuesday!


  1. Since it was your initial ice-bath, I will cut you some slack(LOL!) but you have to stay in there for 15 mins. That's the rule. I get a book or magazine and relax. After the 1st 2 mins or so its fine.

  2. Yeah, I just couldn't hang! I'm not to that level yet...it's going to take dedication and training to get to 15 minutes :)

  3. LOL!! Just remember, after 2 mins its fine. The initial shock to your body is nothing short of torture....but its all worth it!! And this is coming from a former skeptic but now I'm a believer!

  4. I love them once I'm in, it's just the initial hop in. I started trying to ease in, but that is more like torture so now, I just hop in all at once. It's a shock, but it's over quick. Like Joe said said, after the first few minutes, it gets better. Take a book or magazine to read, it helps to take your mind off of it as well.

  5. It stops hurting at about 7 minutes, I promise!!! I like to scream and yell and curse like a wild lady for the first few minutes. It feels good :) Ha! It seriously feels soooo good afterwards though. I use them for anything over 10 miles.

  6. I've never heard that an ice bath helps with muscle pain...hmmm...very interesting!

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  8. Hmm... you stretch after a run because working the muscles tightens them up, and they recover better when elongated. Because cold constricts, perhaps you ought to stretch out after an ice bath?

    You are more brave then me. I can't see myself in an ice bath... and how long before you go into hypothermia?

  9. ah i am such a wimp! they had ppl take ice baths after fh games sometimes but i couldnt handle it!

  10. I really should have listened and tried the ice bath after this weekend!! But my fridge is broke and doesn't make ice...I'm going to have to stock up and be prepared next time :)

    Great job again on the 15 miler!! You are a stud! I too am definitely going to read more about fueling up before and after races....let me know if you learn anything good!

  11. carry Sport Beans, GU, Sharkies, hydration belt, etc....on all runs longer than 10 miles. I've heard its recommended for any exercise over an hour. It works. I will run 10 miles with nothing, but anything over I will hydrate and re-fuel during my run.

  12. I'm sure after a Long Day's Journey into Night the Icebath Comeths as a relief.

  13. I will remember these lessons should I ever even come close to running further than, oh, 4 miles. Haha. You are awesome. Hope the ice bath helped.