after having such success with wearing compression socks
24/7 frequently over the past couple of months, i decided to try something else that is vastly touted as a great recovery aid for runners.
the ice bath.
i’d been thinking of giving a cold water soak a try for a while now. when i saw this article in the latest canadian running magazine, i was even a little more motivated:
i know the printing is blurry; the only thing that is important is that you see the title: “take cold baths.”
i’ve told you before that i do not swim because i do not enjoy being cold or wet. so you can guess how *excited* i was about my impending dip in the tub.
i decided to ease my way into these ice baths in incremental steps.
i took my first cold bath in the afternoon after the 10k classic race. in all honesty, it was bearable! i wouldn’t call it a pleasant experience, but i was comfortable enough, and i didn’t even come close to shivering! here’s what worked for me:
- i made sure i was warm before i even got into the tub
- i took a hot decaf coffee with me to drink while i soaked
- i ran a tub of cold water only, no ice for this first attempt!
- i wore a knit cap
- i zipped up a fleecy jacket, rolling up the bottom so it wouldn’t get wet
- i limited my tub time to 12 minutes
i just sat in the tub – no reading, no crossword puzzle or any type of diversion. it was almost a relaxing experience!
afterwards, my legs felt refreshed. now, i wasn’t stiff or sore before i got in the tub, so it’s a little hard to judge exactly how helpful the ice bath was in the post-race recovery. i decided that next time i could add some ice…
this second experiment occurred last saturday morning. this time, i kept the wool hat and the fleece hoodie. i skipped the hot coffee (i thought i’d wait for the heating drink until post-bath, so i’d have something to look forward to and warm me up if i felt chilled). and i added ice!
the tap water felt colder this time (??) and enjoyably refreshing – might i even say fantastic? (yes, yes i can). i ran the tub, then dumped in the ice as i climbed in. i had no diversions (next time, i will try reading or doing a x-word) – i just sat and watched the ice cubes melt (seriously). i only stayed in the bath for 10 minutes as i had to get ready for work. next time, add: more ice! a distraction of some type! more time in the tub (can i do 20 minutes??).
i upped the ante for the ice bath that i took this past thursday morning:
would you believe that as i was running along, i actually thought, “yea! i get to take an ice bath this morning!” -> i am not kidding!
since i had more time, i stayed in the tub for 15-20 minutes. i stuck with wearing the hoodie and the wool cap, did not have a hot beverage, and did complete a x-word puzzle [i thought of phoning mom, we can talk for 20 minutes no problem and that would fill my time commitment, but with my luck, i would drop the phone in the tub - better a wet xword puzzle book than a busted phone].
thanks to the increase in ice cubes, the water was COLD! not frightfully so, but definitely icier than the first two tubs. really, i did not feel cold overall, though – just my toes were uncomfortably chilled!
- i am going to make ice baths a regular thing – maybe every week??
- it definitely helps that it is summertime and i feel warmer, in general; i can’t imagine doing an icy soak in the depths of january
- the winning combo seems to be: wearing the fleece + the wool hat; drinking a hot coffee AFTER the bath, having a diversion (next time i will try reading)
all in all, this experiment has proven to be a lot more positive than i ever anticipated!
any other ice-bath takers out there? what are your tips? maybe i am not 100% opposed to doing some lane swimming again??…never say never, right?!
30 day photography challenge
day #30: self-portrait
and thus we have come full circle, and we end as we began on june 1st…
the official self-portrait for today:
…and some out-takes, just because they are fun to do! [i honestly thought i'd share more bloopers over the course of the 30 days...]: