Ice bath

Anytime I run more than 10 miles, the rest of the day is spent recovering. Actually, most of my recovery has been to just lay on the bed/ground/anything flat and hope that my leg and the rest of the body can recover by itself. Some days, I used to immerse my leg in cold water and put ice cubes in there. I hated those days but from what I have read, that seems to be part of the solution. Every time I see an NBA game, I see Shaq icing his knees. Every pitcher has his shoulder wrapped in ice after pitching a couple of innings. Obviously, it must be working.

Of course, the magazines mention that the best way to recover is take an ice bath. Every part of me shudders when that thought crosses my mind. My idea of a bath is to get the water as hot as possible and stand underneath the shower. I have come out of the bath a couple of times with the whole bathroom in a haze of smoke as my former roomie might attest. My new house seems to have a decent vent and so it has not been too much of a problem recently – so the bath is not all smoke filled.

This weekend, when I went on my supposed long run (just 8 miles), I felt a pain in my ankle towards the end of the run. I have felt it before when I did 14 – 15 miles but here I was feeling the pain after 7 miles. I was kind of bugged but decided I should get on with a proper recovery program. And the first thing that came to mind made me wince – rotten ice baths. But I was determined to give it a shot. I had bought a new ice tray to get more ice a few weeks back. I put this in the freezer to get some ice going as soon as I got back home.

When I told my wife about my idea about taking an ice bath, she just gave me an incredulous stare. I don’t know what she thought but she probably decided the sun outside had gotten to me. Anyway, she did not try to stop me which was nice of her.

I filled the bath tub with the coldest possible water and then added ice inside. I thought I would fear going to the dentist more but no, this was it.  I went ahead and entered the bathtub. As Kramer would say “Oh mama”. This was definitely one of the worse moments in recent memory and makes one wonder if getting injured was actually better? After the first couple of seconds things got better, relatively speaking. Anyway, I would like to think I feel better and healed because of icing myself but I don’t know for sure. But after reading all the information in runner’s world (I finally succumbed and subscribed to this one), I have decided to make it a part of my regular long run days :(.

Last week, I finally made it to 20 miles a week. Now the onward journey to 30 (good) and more ice baths. Ahhhhh.

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3 Comments on “Ice bath”

  1. longrunner Says:

    Ha! I’ve been there. Once your in it’s O.K., its the journey to that point that gets you. I’ve had similar thoughts before, is it really helping or is just so shocking that you don’t notice the muscle aches any more.

  2. senthil V Says:

    i think hot water bath also removes aches. I dont know if its theoretically true but have felt my body aches go away after a hot bath.

  3. Guppy Says:

    Cold water fixes the inflammation. Hot water gives you temporary relief but the pain lasts for a longer time. How many athletes do you see having a hot pack on their injuries?


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