For a split second yesterday morning, I contemplated driving into the BP to buy a bag of ice. For my legs. Something I never ever thought I would ever consider.
I’m getting ahead of myself here…
Yesterday morning started like 99.9% of Saturdays, an alarm clock buzzing and scaring the you-know-what out of me far earlier than I would prefer for a Saturday morning.
Reluctantly, I got up and started out for a run.
You know when you go to workout and it just feels great from the second your shoes hit the pavement?
Yea, this wasn’t like that at all.
Not even this sunrise view could help
The second my feet hit the ground, I knew the run would suck.
My legs were more sore from my workout on Thursday than they had been Friday. I even contemplated crawling back under the sheets, but convinced myself that since I had some workouts to film later on, the run would be great for shaking my legs out.
Every freaking mile was a challenge. With each step, my sore hamstrings reminded me that they were upset and in need of some R&R. I tried to tell them that R&R wouldn’t be possible until Monday, so they needed to suck it up and chill out, but apparently hamstrings don’t like that kind of talk.
My favorite secret watering hole in Charleston: Chapel Park
So, at the end of my 7 miles, 7 slow miles, I actually contemplated something I had never ever contemplated before:
An ice bath.
Athletes swear by them. With promises of increased recovery times and decreased soreness they sound awesome, but there’s a catch…
It’s a bath with ice.
I hate being cold. I hate thinking about being cold. And to be honest I simply can’t get past my hatred enough to put myself in a cold situation on purpose.
So let’s just say the thought crossed my mind, but after remembering the points above, I pushed it aside.
No, I haven’t done and ice bath before and I have no plans on doing one in the future.
Of course I realize I am being a ginormous baby and I should suck it up, but I can’t. Some people are fearful of bugs, snakes or heights… Me? Cold.
But I don’t want to stand in the way of your recovery and therefore I am actually an advocate for ice baths.
Let’s talk the logistics (and perhaps I’ll actually talk myself into doing in).
What You Need To Know About Ice Baths
Why They Work:
The science behind ice baths lies in the idea of physics.
When you slip into a cold bath, your blood vessels constrict which decreased blood flow and “metabolic activity”.
Once you get out of the bath and your body warms back up, the vessels open up which increases blood flow to helps flush the body of byproducts caused from cellular breakdown (a result of exercise).
According to David Terry, MD, ice baths help suppress inflammation and flush out harmful metabolic debris out of muscles.”
Workout Longer, Workout Harder:
They ran a test on runners, making them perform two hard runs, 3 different times. When the participants had an ice bath between the runs were able to continue for longer (up to 4 minutes) than when they weren’t given cold therapy even though recover time was the same (15 minutes).
How Long Do You Have To Stay In?
From my research and knowledge, 10-20 minutes is ideal for staying emerged. Of course it differs from person to person, but just like heat shouldn’t stay on for longer than 20 minutes, ice shouldn’t either.
How Cold Should Your Ice Bath Be?
Again, going from research, the recommendation is a nippy 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit. When it feels frigid, then you’re good. Though everyone is different.
Even though I haven’t put myself through this torture, I have friends who have. They suggest filling your tub with cold water and then dumping in a 10 pound bag of ice, which cost about $1.50 at the convenient store.
Then slide right in and enjoy!
Have you ever had an ice bath?