Want a chilly thought as winter approaches: Imagine this scene. You get back from your weekend long run. you've been gone for an hour or two, and a windy morning left you freezing. Time for an ice bath! Most of us don't want to take an ice bath after a long run, but a study coming out suggests we should reconsider.
The Journal of Sports Science thinks you should, too (Ice Bath and Subsequent Run Performance). They compared "Cold Water Immersion", or simply put an ice bath, after a workout or not at all. The 1) immediately after a workout, 2) three hours after a workout, and 3) passive recovery (essentially, just "hanging out"), and tested next day performance.
A lot of the info was over my head (had to go back and forth between paragraphs to see what the hell they were talking about), but it DOES appear that the sooner you get your sore and tired legs or body into an ice bath, the better you are going to be the next day. If I read the study correctly, the ice bath was beneficial no matter when performed, but immediately after work was 79% more beneficial. Simply put, ice bathes are good!
Now, this begs the question: how do you get your tired, cold body into an even colder ice bath? Get yourself a large bucket (or two) full of ice and set it next to your tub, which is of course full of cold water and ready for you to jump in. Put on the most relaxing music you have access to. Set your stop watch anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Settle your body in slowly, wait a minute or two, and dump the ice in a little at a time. I start down towards my feet, but go with whatever works best for you. Now listen to the music and just tune out. Jack Johnson is a good choice, so is Phish or moe. Anything that is long and unstructured will keep you from focusing on how long you have to go. Since half of Phish's songs don't even start until the 10 minute mark, they're a good bet.
Once the ice is in, tune yourself out. Literally, go to your happy place. Start at 10 minutes and work your way up.
Anyways, good luck and happy base training!
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