ice ice baby

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:

no idea why this photo is posting sideways…

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.

effort #1:

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

knit cap, fleece and coffee mug! (sorry, but i refuse to post any bathtub pictures!)

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…

effort #2:

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!

two trays of ice cubes – let’s not get too crazy with the ice; i am too cheap to BUY a bag, at this point…

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??).

effort #3:

i upped the ante for the ice bath that i took this past thursday morning:

SIX trays of ice (or 3x more than the last bath!) for this effort…

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 tubbetter 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!

conclusions:

  • 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:

taken in the exact same spot as day #1! hotter weather, though!

…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…]:

my orange sweater is finished! but it’s way too warm to use a sweater photo for an official pic!

relaxing with some grass! :D

wheee!!! fake-sliding at the park. would real-slide if the nieces were present!

sparkling water: the official beverage of the 2012 kiki summer!

the end.

 

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Comments

  • Lisa  On June 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I’m a fan of ice baths….but haven’t done it in a couple years. I think I might soon though—with the workouts I’ve been doing, I’m sore all the time! I found that getting into the icy water was the hardest part for me…once I was in, if I didn’t move, it really didn’t feel freezing. And it did help my soreness when I was running for sure!!

    • 1970kikiproject  On June 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      lisa, with the intense workouts you’ve been completing lately, i think an ice bath really work for you! you are right: that first step into the tub is the hardest part!

  • Stacie @ Snaps and Bits  On June 30, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I have never taken and ice bath and don’t plan to. Just the idea…brrrr. But, since I’m not a runner I think that’s ok. I hear it’s really great especially after long runs. I’ll miss the photo challenge, it was fun! But, can’t wait to see what’s on for July ;)

    • 1970kikiproject  On June 30, 2012 at 11:46 am

      yes, stacie! with your new pool and backyard, you can take a cool dip much more pleasantly! i really enjoyed the photo challenge – i’m glad you found it fun, too!

  • Zo  On June 30, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Those outtake photos are hilarious! I’ve really enjoyed photo challenge month!
    I cannot imagine taking an ice bath….I have a pretty low tolerance for cold water (the few times I’ve been forced to deal with cold water for a shower, I find it feels like a shock [I also remember when I had pneumonia and was running a super high fever, I called my dad who said I should take a cold bath…and I thought, “no way man!”] …so the idea of immersing myself in cold water is just really unpleasant…It’s interesting that it hasn’t been so for you to the point that you *want* to take them…and I wonder about the effects of the cap/clothing….

    • 1970kikiproject  On June 30, 2012 at 11:50 am

      zo, thanks for sharing about your dad saying you should take a cold bath…just this morning, mom laughed at me for enjoying the ice bath because when we were little and had a high fever, she would make us take a cold bath, something we HATED (but it did work! and when you are sick, any bath is not going to be enjoyable!). i think you should try it after one of your long runs – but do wear warm stuff on your upper body and a hat – i swear that is why i do not feel cold!

  • 42kim  On June 30, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I meant to add–come swimming with me! I love swimming and it is totally a mental thing to get in the water. Once you get started you warm up quickly.

    • 1970kikiproject  On June 30, 2012 at 9:42 am

      kim, you do realize we have QUITE the list of meet-ups to get to! swimming, yoga, death valley’s little brother!…thanks for the swimming invite – knowing i would have you to meet would be a good motivator! glad you find the ice baths work, too. at 42, we need all the help we can get – haha!

  • 42kim  On June 30, 2012 at 9:29 am

    I take ice baths after long runs too. You are braver than me. I get into cold water and then dump the ice in after. I find it totally takes away any next day aches and pains.

  • aliwheeler  On June 30, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Just read that article myself and thought I might want to try an ice bath. We don’t have air conditioning so I can see it being a huge motivator on runs during the summer. Did you notice a difference in recovery time?

    • 1970kikiproject  On June 30, 2012 at 9:46 am

      that’s neat that you saw the article, too, ali! re recovery time: i would say YES, i have noticed a difference: my muscles feel “fresher,” if that makes sense…not fatigued or heavy. i say give the ice bath a try on one of these super hot days and see what you think!

  • Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count  On June 30, 2012 at 7:40 am

    All of the self portraits are great! The ice bath sounds daunting to me, I’m cold most of the time anyway! Only downside of having lost weight. I haven’t been warm since 1988, but worth it for other reasons! You need an iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, they’re the best. I hear Tim Horton’s has good coffee, maybe their iced is good. S’bux is always too bitter to me unless it’s one of the flavored ones. Have a great day, Cathy!

    • 1970kikiproject  On June 30, 2012 at 9:44 am

      thanks, fran! i had fun taking those pics! yum – i would LOVE to try a DD iced coffee – i wish i could meet up with you and ele for an iced coffee outing! i am usually cold in winter, so i am not sure i could do an ice bath other than the months of june-august!

  • John  On June 30, 2012 at 6:48 am

    I might give an ice bath a try, will let you know how I get on.

    • 1970kikiproject  On June 30, 2012 at 6:59 am

      thanks for your comment, john! i’d love to hear how you get along with an ice bath – keep me posted!

  • Ele  On June 30, 2012 at 6:06 am

    your smiles always make my day! And after my walk last night (the temp was almost 90 degrees) I think I should have tried an ice bath…instead I made an iced coffee! Have a great weekend!

    • 1970kikiproject  On June 30, 2012 at 6:11 am

      ele, an iced coffee is a very good runner-up choice for a cool-down. i need to try one again – i’ve only ever had one, did not like it (s’bux) … that can be another mission for this summer! we’ve had really high temps the last few days, too – sure feels VERY summery!

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