Ice Baths………… 

When I was training for my first marathon in the fall/winter of 2012 (race was January 2013) one of my best friends was “my coach”. I didn’t pay her, she isn’t  a certified running coach, but she is an experienced marathoner and is knowledgeable about the mechanics of the body while doing physical activity. She is also knowledgeable in the area of injuries, not only helping to cure them but preventing them as well. I mentioned to her one day that my leg muscles felt very tight and no amount of stretching (I did not foam roll back then) helped. She immediately said “ice bath” and I said “what????”, I was clueless. I was also willing to learn and do anything if it would help. She told me to get a 10 pound bag of ice, add it to a tub filled with cold tap water, get in and enjoy.  UMMMMMMMMM, OUCH, was my first thought. Oh and I mentioned it was winter right, I was running in 25 degree tempts on average. I already felt like an ice cube while running and when I got done. So the thought of this “ice bath” was more daughting than my first 20 mile run. But, none the less I immediately planned my first ice bath. The day before my next long run I asked my husband to get the ice while I was running. He of course said “what do you need 10 pounds of ice for?”. I explained what I was doing and he just shook his head and walked away. Later on he said “are you really going to sit in a tub filled with ice water?” My reply was “yes, it’s supposed to help and I am going to try it.” The next morning after my long run there was lovely bag of ice waiting for me. I asked my husband to carry it upstairs and I hobbled up behind him with hot coffee in my cold hands. I was given a few pointers, drink hot coffee or tea, wear a sweatshirt/something warm to cover yourself from the waist up and have your iPad/phone ready to pro-occupy your brain.  I got upstairs, took off my running clothes and started the bath, cold water only. I climbed in with my fleece on, iPad was on the floor next to the tub with my coffee next to it. The tub continued to fill and I sat down. Then my husband added the ice. I will never forget the feeling of that ice going in. It felt like torture. After a few minutes my body got used to it and it didn’t feel so bad (I lie, it was horrible but I had to tell my brain something). And I stayed in for the recommended 15-20 minutes. After the bath your body temp needs to get back to normal before taking a warm/hot shower. So I had to wait another 15 minutes before I could get warm again. It was not fun. Thank you Facebook for occupying my brain. During those 15 minutes of waiting for a warm shower I realized how much better my legs felt. It was almost like they were brand new and ready for another work out. All soreness was gone and I was amazed. It seemed to work. I decided to make them a part of my training plan and did one more during training for that race. I also did one after the marathon and my legs felt great. Last summer during half ironman training I decided to incorporate a few into my training plan. I can tell you with 100% certainty that an ice bath after a hot sweaty run in the humidity in Atlanta is so much more comfortable than an ice bath in winter. So this year I decided to do 1 ice bath on the first Friday of each month. I do not use a 10 pound of ice each time, I just use the ice that’s in the ice maker in my freezer, it gets the job done. For some reason I skipped the first Friday in July, not sure why but here it is Friday July 24 and I am currently sitting in a tub of cold icy water. In all honesty it feels good to me now. It’s kind of like my body has gotten used to them and my legs look forward to them. I highly recommend them, just take note of the printers I was given and use them. 

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