I am a firm believer in the beauty of the ice bath when training. If I run more than 14 miles, I will be taking tub time within the first hour or two afterwards to help speed recovery. Lots of research indicates that this practice has benefits and I have noticed decreased leg fatigue the next day when I perform this ritual.
So how do you do it? How to you bear immersing yourself in water and ice? Well, after years of trial and error, I think I’ve found a great method. Here you go:
1. Plug your tub and allow hot water to just cover the tub.
2. Drain the tub.
3. Sit down on the warm, empty tub with your favorite beverage nearby (I usually drink a cup of coffee.) Plug the tub.
4. Take a deep breath and turn on the water to the coldest setting possible. Stay relaxed and enjoy a good book or a Netflix show on the iPad!
5. When the water is up to your hips, pour a small bag (7lbs) over the water and allow it to move over your legs and melt.
6. Sit peacefully for 15-20 minutes.
7. Drain the tub and enjoy a warm shower.
Variations: in the winter I often wear a sweatshirt and reduce my time by 5 minutes. Allow some Epsom salts and peppermint oil to dissolve in the water for added benefit. After showering, use compression wear (socks, sleeves, pants) to further recovery process.
Be sure to hydrate-before, during, and after your run and keep a strong electrolyte balance!