I’m just 3 weeks away from my half-marathon now (dies a little inside). I ‘um’ and ‘ah’ about running my long run on the track again. It’s 16 kilometres and I don’t even want to calculate how many circuits that is. But I am totally into prevention, so to save my virgin half-marathon legs I decide I should. I also look into some other ways of staving off sore muscles. It would be a bonus to be able to walk the next day after all.
And there it is. Ice baths.
So the idea is you fill your bath with enough ice cubes and cold water to entice a polar bear. Then you sit in it for 15 minutes or until you can no longer feel your legs and your toes turn blue. I may add that there are other parts of your anatomy that freeze too. The clue is in the title. Nuff said.
I may have cheated a little. In my defence its quite hard to maintain an ice bath in 30 degrees. I emptied a big bag of ice into the bath and turned on the tepid cold water. The ice cubes had disappeared by the time the water was high enough to reach my thighs, but it was cold. I can’t imagine wanting to do this in colder months and I remind myself that I had toyed with the idea of winter sea swimming. Maybe not.
So, the results are in. It works. The next day the only aching muscles are my thighs – the iced water hadn’t been enough to cover them. The discomfort and 1.90 euros for the bag of ice were worth it.
But browsing on the internet later in the week I can across an article. ‘5 ways runners get recovery wrong’. And guess what. I was too eager to freeze my fru-fru. Inflammation is good, they said. It helps you get fitter and stronger.
So this week I will simply be refueling and stretching. And lame the next day.