First you may ask, WHY would one want to take an ice bath???? The answer is that it reduces swelling after a long run and promotes a much quicker recovery and just plain makes you feel soooo much better AFTER you do it. But let’s be real, the first 3 minutes are shear agony. Once you get past those few moments, it really is not that bad….and can actually feel great. (Partly, because your legs are numb and you can’t feel anything anyway.)
So how does one go about doing this? If you own a swimming pool..this is easy in the winter. You simply don’t heat your pool and you walk in waist deep for 10 minutes. But not all of us are fortunate to own or have access to a pool and it won’t be cold enough in the summer anyway.
If you can run 10 miles or more then you have the mental fortitude to follow my simple plan:
<!–[if !supportLists]–>1) Get as much ice as you can to fill a tub. In the winter, the ice in your freezer should be enough because the pipes in your house usually don’t warm your water up enough…so one tub of cold water and one box of ice. In the summer the water in MY house will melt that ice so I need to put more ice in….usually 2 or 3 bags of ice. It should be cold enough that the ice is NOT melting….ideally at least. But cold water is still better than nothing.
2) So when I get home from my long run I take a nice hot shower and wrap my hair in one towel and my upper body in another towel. If you can put those towels in the dryer and pull them out they are extra toasty. Then grab your coffee, hot tea or hot chocolate and slowly enter the tub. The water should be deep enough to completely submerge your legs. YOU CAN DO IT!!!! It may even HURT for a few minutes but try to stay in for at least 10 minutes. Sip on that cozy warm drink and spend the last few minute of solitude knowing that you are being good to your body.
3)You’re done. So simple but such a great recovery!!!