Ice Baths!

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I stole this little piece of advice from my Team in Training coach, not going to lie. I thought I'd share because it something I had never heard of, let along tried until I began this journey with TNT.  Read on to learn more!
  
Sitting in a bath tub of cold water for 15-20 minutes after a long run speeds healing, prevents soreness, and helps greatly to make you feel better the next day. It essentially stops the inflammatory process that happens in the muscles and joints when you run especially long distances. It’s up to you to decide what is a “long distance” but generally anything over 6 – 8 miles is long. An ice bath is the same principle as putting an ice pack on a sprain to prevent swelling, i.e. inflammation. Many pro, college, and even high school athletic teams now have ice whirlpools after every practice that involves a lot of repetitive exercise like running. Personally, I do an ice bath whenever I run more than 8 miles. If this is your first half marathon and especially if you are having some soreness on Sunday or Monday after a Saturday long run of any distance, then an ice bath will help greatly.
So, here are recommendations for “how” to take an ice bath. There are slight variations such as “jump in” rather than sit in the tub while it fills, but the overall idea is to cover your legs, knees, hips, and ankles with VERY cold water for 15-20 minutes.
· After taking off your running clothes, put on an old sweatshirt that you don’t mind getting wet around the bottom edges. Covering your head with a hat or towel is optional. The idea is that you want to maintain your core body temperature while giving your legs, hips, knees, ankles the benefits of a form of cryotherapy (sounds more official and better than ice bath). Do this after you first get home from running rather than waiting hours later.

·        Put a few trays of ice cubes in the tub; sit down, hopefully not on the ice cubes; and turn on the cold water. Let the water run until it covers your hips and legs. At this point, some people dump in more ice or have a significant other do it. The idea is to have the water temperature ideally at 50-55 degrees, but at least below 60 degrees to get the maximum benefit.
· Read a newspaper, magazine, text friends, etc. to distract you.  
 
· After 15-20 minutes, let the water drain out before getting out, dry off, and warm up for 10-15 minutes before taking your usual shower at normal temperature.
WARNING: Yes, it will feel cold but you should not be shivering uncontrollably while in the water. “Goose bumps” on your legs, skin redness, feeling chilled (not shivering), slight numbness in the legs and/or feet, even white finger tips are typical. BUT, if you cannot stop shivering after a few minutes, then get out of the water. This is a sign that your core body temperature is dropping too much and that you should get out. Don’t be surprised if your skin still feels cold even after you take a shower.
Here’s the link to a testimonial from an ultra-marathoner and physical therapist. While we aren’t training for an ultra-marathon, the benefits and principles are the same for all levels of training. http://www.runnersworld.com/health/ice-baths-cold-therapy 
 
 
I really find ice baths to be beneficial. Why? Well since I have started with Team in Training, I have run more miles at once than ever- two back to back Saturdays of 12 miles each and, knowing how I have felt in the past after 5 miles, I don't think I would have been able to function had I not taken one (and sorry for the long- run on sentence).  The soreness and tightness I felt immediately after I was done running.. and when I got out of the car at home.. were sooo improved after the ice bath that I can't even explain to you what a difference it makes.
 
Just sayin, it is totally worth a try :)

Oh and HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!!! I am running my long run today since tommorrow I will be busy all day as one of my best friends from high school is getting married. Off I go!

Happy Icing...

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