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Ice Baths – A Cold Piece of Recovery You Don’t Want to Miss

Posted Aug 17 2010 5:01am

Name something cold, loved by long distance runners, that’s great for a post-workout recovery.

And it isn’t this . . .

Ice Cream! Pictures, Images and Photos

As I have dealt with this hamstring issue now for almost a year (diagnosed as tendonitis about six months ago), I’ve researched a variety of techniques to keep my muscles stretched and healthy, so they don’t seize up on me again.

So far, things have worked. I roll my muscles out daily, sometimes twice a day; I do yoga several times each week, along with three days of pilates class, also which incorporates stretching (though I have to say I stay in it because I love the hardcore core workouts!); and I have been sitting on ice.

Ouch.

I have to admit, it took me a while to get to the point of facing the last option. I had heard of people doing ice baths after long runs, and I”d laughed at them. Ice baths? Put on a pack, I thought. Why subject my already sore legs to searing ice?

Because, I found out, it really seems to work.

The idea behind ice baths is that it will reduce swelling and help get rid of lactic acid, which will minimize the pain you might experience the next day. Then the warm blood flows through the area you’ve iced and it helps to keep the toxins out of the muscles.

For me, I believe it has helped my tendonitis. I haven’t been sore (knock on wood) since I started ice baths a few weeks ago. I do them now on any run 5 or more miles; I feel that because I’m likely to swell anyway with the issue, I may as well prevent it as best I can before I jump in the bath. Besides, putting an ice pack on the fronts and backs of my leg and then alongside my knee would take forever; why not jump in the bath and be done with it in 10 to 15 minutes?

Do you ice bath? If so, how often, and what is the mileage at which you decide to hop into the tub with a few cubes?

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