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Ice Baths?

Does anyone out there take ice baths after long runs or long rides on the weekends. I just started thinking about it this past week as my volume is starting to really pick up. Hoping to get more bang for my training volume buck. Do you find that these help or really don't make any difference?

I have nothing but good things to say about ice baths after a long brick or race. I feel it really reduces the soreness in my legs and helps joints too. The next day I'm obviously tired, and legs are slow, but nowhere near as bad as without the ice bath. I can definitely cram more big/intense training into a week when I focus on ice/compression/recovery.

Ice Baths suck, but they are awesome. Definitely helps your legs recover faster than without an ice bath. You get used to the cold after the initial shock. I wrap a towel around my torso to help myself stay warm.

I typically find colder is better, but you also dont want to give yourself frostbite or anything.

i'm definitely a fan for ice baths after long efforts

for less shock:
fill tub with cold water
then get in
then add the ice

[url=http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-241-285--12810-0,00.html]W... temperatures should be between 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, and immersion time should ranges from 10 to 20 minutes.[/url]

1. That's really cold. It's not as easy as it sounds to get tap water that cold without the help of several bags of ice. Granted, I don't know how cold tap water can get in NC, but it would probably take two to three (if not more) 8lb bags of ice. Emptying your freezer's ice maker won't be enough. To keep from buying store-made bags of ice after every long run/ride, I've taken to filling plastic grocery sacks with ice each night before I go to bed and leaving them in the bottom of the freezer. Ice machine fills back up over night. By the end of the week, I may have 40lbs of ice in my freezer without a trip to the store.
2. How do you know it's that cold? Pool thermometer. Less than $10 at Home Depot or Lowe's.
3. As stated in the article, wear something up top: A towel, a hat, a sweatshirt. Take some warm coffee or something with you. The article suggests neoprene booties. Really? Seems like one more thing to over-complicate a simple process: Put ice in tub. Get in.
4. Unlike the advice in the article - and as tri-ac wrote - get in the water first, *then* add the ice. Putting in the ice first and *then* getting in is excruciating.

Research has shown that cold water bath are just as effective as ice baths without the extra pain the ice brings.

Even just getting my feet in ice after a run makes a big difference for me. I would think soaking my legs would be awesome but usually am not prepared for that.
So Feet in ice bath. Ice packs strapped onto my knees.

We do this because it's fun right?

meh,
they don't pay me enough to put myself through that b.s.
I'll usually just take a shower, turn the water to cold for a few minutes, and call it good enough. Maybe spend five minutes afterwards lying on the floor with ymy legs up the wall, and I probably get 80% of the benefits.

Plus, once I've taken the better part of the morning away from the family to get a long ride in, the last thing anyone in my house wants to hear is "sorry kids, I know I left you all morning, but you'll need to wait another half hour for daddy to take his ice bath because he's such a finely tuned athletic machine".

Somewhat on topic....

I read an article the other day (and Ill do my best to find it again so I can share it with all you 3 sporters) claiming that such and such research proved, by using a group of elite athletes, that it was actually more beneficial to ingest your calories after your long runs or rides before you get into the ice bath. It stated that consuming your calories and allowing them a short time to work their way into your system would be more beneficial to you then just getting into a nice cold tub of water. Basically your muscles etc contract when you are getting into the bath pushing out not only the inflammation, lactic acid excetra, but it also restricts the good calories from getting in and doing their jobs later on.

I sometimes do them after long workouts (long = 5+ hours on the bike or 2.5+ hours on the run). Anecdotally, the next day's workout feels a hell of a lot better after an ice bath. I don't bother with shorter stuff, though I could see the value in hitting the ice after a speed workout in hot weather.

If I am working out in cold weather, I won't bother. I figure if my legs are already cold to the touch, an ice bath isn't going to do a whole lot more.

Kudos to the person who recommended adding the ice after getting in the tub. I had not thought of that before, but I am certainly going to start doing it now.

[quote=dkhartung]meh,
they don't pay me enough to put myself through that b.s.
I'll usually just take a shower, turn the water to cold for a few minutes, and call it good enough. Maybe spend five minutes afterwards lying on the floor with ymy legs up the wall, and I probably get 80% of the benefits.

Plus, once I've taken the better part of the morning away from the family to get a long ride in, the last thing anyone in my house wants to hear is "sorry kids, I know I left you all morning, but you'll need to wait another half hour for daddy to take his ice bath because he's such a finely tuned athletic machine".[/quote]

1+.... That's my routine during the summer always. I've done the ice bath before and its too prohibitively expensive doing it over and over for a 10-20min duration.

Now compression boots! Holy Cow, those things are amazing!

[quote=PJT]I sometimes do them after long workouts (long = 5+ hours on the bike or 2.5+ hours on the run).[/quote]

+1
it's definitely not an everyday thing...only for those days where i think i can stem the prospects of some stiff movement in the coming days

[edit to actually answer the OP's question]yes, i believe they are worth it for those special workouts where you've challenged your body

[quote=jarhead]its too prohibitively expensive doing it over and over for a 10-20min duration.[/quote]

That's true. Spending $5-$10 on ice after every long ride or run, weekend after weekend, gets a bit silly. Let the ice machine make bags of ice during the week, and I'm only talking a few weekends a summer anyways.

I do them, and they work. Only on long runs 18+ miles and long 5+ hr bike rides.
If you spend a wad on running shoes, a bike, watch etc, what's a few bucks on ice? it only takes a couple of bags if you do buy it, and the recovery is well worth it IMO.

Had never thought aobut putting the ice in after getting in, good idea.

I used to do Ice bath's like a lot of folks following what the cool (hehe) people recommended. A study written about in Running Times in 2006 suggests 54-60 degrees is best. A study by the Journal of Sports Medicine in 2008 found a cool water bath of around 70 to 75 degrees is fine, and may even be better. And that was just with cool water out of the tap.
An experiment of one (me) with both methods and well..I felt the recovery was just fine with the cold water method. Noticed no difference between the two. So I'm a cool water bath guy and have been the last few years after long or hard stuff. So now I use it more often and don't have to schlep ice. Cold water bath then turn on a warm shower...ahhhhhh.

I love ice baths.

The 1st time I tried one was after a run that would typically make walking down my stairs difficult the following day. I woke up. Headed downstairs and was at the landing before I realized my legs felt great. (Well, comparably great to what I usually feel like after an 18mi run)

There is a store by my house that sells large bags of ice for 1.50. So, $3 and I'm set.

I'll usually grab a recent mag (Bicycling, Triathlete, Running Times, Outside, ect) to read my phone or interval timer, a few Sierra Nevada IPAs (9%), and a cheap styrofoam cooler.

Put the ice and beer in the cooler by the tub.

I fill the tub up to cover the tops of my quads by about a half inch, then I pour the 1st bag of ice in on top of me. Read/Wait/Drink 10+15mins and then pour in the 2nd.

Also, I keep my cycling/tri shorts on during the ice bath as don't see how added compression could hurt. (and the chamois provides a bit of a barrier)

For the most part, I've been wearing these instead...

http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2011/05/does-compression-gear-really...

i am a huge fan of ice baths after a long run and swear by them. in summer the tap water is not cold enough so i buy 2 bags of ice to add. recovery drink, something to read to take my mind off things and i wear a long sleeve top. 15-20 mins max. then i put the skins on (compression gear). i run late in the day so by this time it is food and then sleep like a baby. next day i feel totally normal.

Thanks for starting this thread. Inspired me to finally do the full bath rather than just ice packs and foot ice bath. Adding the ice 2nd is definitely a great trick.

I'm shivering just thinking about it.

I ice my ankle when I get a sprain, but I have never relished the thought of immersing my body in an ice bath, Isn't that one of the war crimes the Nazis were convicted of?
[img]http://www.universe-galaxies-stars.com/Dachau_cold_water_immersion.jpg[/...

PoC

"What you you get when you suffer? You get results!" - Paul Sherwin

I have read a lot of good and bad about ice baths, and heard of people hurting themselves through too much ice and too cold.
I run I take tepid bath, run the cold water once I am climatised, and then let my daughter throw in about 3 litres of icecubes. I stay there 15 minutes, then have a warm shower. I usually feel a lot better after that than just a hot shower and stretch.

Thanks for the tips everyone. I decided to take the polar plunge on Saturday. I had a long hilly 17 miler, so I figured it was as good a time as any. In NC, the cold tap water is barely wetsuit legal, so I bought 30 lbs of ice to get the water down to 55F. Getting in the water first is a huge tip and can't be overstated:)

Afterward, my legs did feel much better than without the ice bath, so I was happy about that. I will say that on my long ride the next day(~95miles), the fatigue was still there, but not the leftover soreness.

Definitely not an every weekend kind of thing, but for those longer weekends, it can be very refreshing.

--Jeff
http://www.pingjeffgreene.com/

[quote=TriSooner][url=http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-241-285--12810-0,00.html]W... temperatures should be between 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, and immersion time should ranges from 10 to 20 minutes.[/url]

1. That's really cold. It's not as easy as it sounds to get tap water that cold without the help of several bags of ice. Granted, I don't know how cold tap water can get in NC, but it would probably take two to three (if not more) 8lb bags of ice. Emptying your freezer's ice maker won't be enough. To keep from buying store-made bags of ice after every long run/ride, I've taken to filling plastic grocery sacks with ice each night before I go to bed and leaving them in the bottom of the freezer. Ice machine fills back up over night. By the end of the week, I may have 40lbs of ice in my freezer without a trip to the store.
2. How do you know it's that cold? Pool thermometer. Less than $10 at Home Depot or Lowe's.
3. As stated in the article, wear something up top: A towel, a hat, a sweatshirt. Take some warm coffee or something with you. The article suggests neoprene booties. Really? Seems like one more thing to over-complicate a simple process: Put ice in tub. Get in.
4. Unlike the advice in the article - and as tri-ac wrote - get in the water first, *then* add the ice. Putting in the ice first and *then* getting in is excruciating. [/quote]

Yes, 40lbs of ice and a box of rock salt! Just kididng.

Yep, all good advice. Just one more thing, never ice past numb. Once you get there your body will actually increase the blood supply to tissues (hunting response) which can cause increase swelling and stiffness.

[quote=jnrice]

Yes, 40lbs of ice and a box of rock salt! Just kididng.

Yep, all good advice. Just one more thing, never ice past numb. Once you get there your body will actually increase the blood supply to tissues (hunting response) which can cause increased swelling and stiffness. [/quote]

[img]http://www.realflowforum.com/img/smilies/smiley-eek.png[/img]

Yeah, and if it lasts more than 4 hours, see your doctor.

:D
PoC

"What you you get when you suffer? You get results!" - Paul Sherwin

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