Ice Baths

“LSD”, or Long Slow Distance is an essential element to any marathon training program.  These high mileage runs taken at a slower pace enable the body to adapt to greater distances safely and efficiently.  Unfortunately, long runs also increase the athletes risk of injury, which can result in unplanned—and unwelcome—time off.  One simple way to offset the risks inherent to LSD workouts is cold-water immersion, known to many as the “Ice Bath”.

Cryotherapy (“cold therapy”) constricts blood vessels and decreases metabolic activity, which reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. Once the skin is no longer in contact with the cold source, the underlying tissues warm up, causing a return of faster blood flow, which helps return the byproducts of cellular breakdown to the lymph system for efficient recycling by the body. Ice baths not only suppress inflammation, but they also help to flush harmful metabolic debris out of your muscles.

So how exactly do you “Ice Bath”?

Grab a hoodie, your watch, a warm beverage, a bag of ice and your bathtub.  Music helps too!  Fill the bathtub with cold water (some people like to start in the bathtub and let it fill up while they’re in it).  Put on your hoodie and roll up the bottom so it doesn’t get wet.  Sit backwards in the tub so your tailbone is on the drain and your toes are sticking up.  Dump the bag of ice in the tub and start your watch.  Science says anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes is long enough.  It helps to have a hot beverage, tea, coffee…that you can sip on while you are soaking.  Play a few select songs like “Hot N Cold” Katy Perry, “This Girl is on Fire” Alecia Keys, “Hot Blooded” Foreigner,  or better yet, just watch it “Burn Baby Burn – Disco Inferno” (it will take your mind off the cold!).