Ice baths are my go-to recovery method for any part of my lower body (glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, achilles, feet. etc) that may be sore or tired. I consider them a true wonder and am constantly trying to convince others to try them. Their anti-inflammatory effects are really great and don’t have the side effects with anti inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
Contrary to common belief, you don’t actually have to sit in ice water either. Here’s what I do:
- I fill the bath tub with water that is as cold as I can bear to stand in without it hurting. I’ve read quite a bit that cold water is just as effective as ice water, so there is no need to make this more uncomfortable than you may already think it is.
- Now the hardest part: I sit down! I promise, the first 2 seconds are the worst, then the goodness sets in.
- I allow my lower body to soak in the cold water between 10-15 minutes and follow with a shower that isn’t super hot.
I like to do this 2-3 times a week when I can, and especially later in the day on days of hard or long workouts (long runs, speed workouts, races, etc).
While I am sitting in the cold water I try and pass the time by distracting myself with reading, doing crosswords, or talking on the phone. If I’m not cold to begin with, I generally don’t get too cold while ice bathing, but sipping on a warm beverage while in the bath may help you stay comfortable.