As there is a lot of hype about having an ice bath after training I thought I’d give it a go after my 18 miler yesterday. To be honest I only lasted a minute in the bath! Should I persevere with the ice bath in future, do other runners feel that an ice bath is off benefit?
If there is any benefit research suggests it is simply placebo. If there is any benifit it is probably that the unpleasantness of enduring an ice bath could increase runners’ tolerance of pain and give them a psychological edge .
" A study carried out at the University of Melbourne had expected to find a 25% reduction in pain after 48 hours among those who had the ice immersion.
Instead it found that there was no difference in physical pain measurements such as swelling or tenderness, and in fact those who had been in the ice reported more pain when going from a sitting to a standing position after 24 hours than those who had the tepid treatment.
"This study challenges the use of ice-water immersion in athletes," wrote the researchers."
Personally its a warm radox bath for me.
Ice baths are very painful at the time but for me at least they are worth it afterwards.
I just run cold tap water, no ice, about 12o C seems to get the job done.
I used to have them, then when the weather got colder I stopped as I just couldn't face it, and I haven't noticed any significant difference in my recovery so I'm quite happy to give them a miss from now on!
I personally find them useful for short-term relief if I've overdone it, and I've a feeling they may have got me back out sooner than had I done nothin. I might have on every three weeks or so, but less and less as I get better at not pushing myself too hard.
I don't think they are particularly useful long-term, although I found them useful once when treating a sprained ankle, as compared to the recovery time for a sprained ankle I suffered at a different time.
All of this is subjective, but a placebo effect can still be useful (certainly psychologically if nothing else) and I doubt very much the odd ice bath will harm you. Just don't overdo it.
Has anyone tried mixing ice baths with warm baths?
Also how cold does the bath have to be. I can bear about 12 degrees C but some folk go to 8 degrees or even colder.
What do others use and how cold can u go without risking frost bite?
I've only ever had a cold bath once after running.
I didnt mean to but staying in a B&B in Keswick and the landlady was as mean with the hot water as the old stories say. Ran the Keswick Half - (great race) and then back for a bath before hitting the pub. No hot water.
My legs did feel good after - but as you say - could well be a placebo effect.
I swear by them and endure them after every long run and race (NB Cold water straight from the tap not ice....it's cold enough!!). I have experimented with having them and not having them and always feel 100% better the day after...
The way I do it is....
 Get home and run the cold bath
 Make a big mug of coffee
 Put on pair of trunks, fleece & wooly hat
 Sit in bath with brew and aforementioned clothes (water above waist) for 20mins
 Get out of bath / empty bath and refill with warm/hot water & radox bath salts (it's awesome after being in cold bath - believe me.
 Get into bed and have a 1-2hr snooze.
 Drink 1l REGO recovery drink.
 Self massage with foam roller
I just gradually reduce the temp of my shower below the waste till it's bloody freezing cold and give it 3 or 4 mins spraying round my legs and lower back. Seems to do the job. Hurts like hell mind, but when you turn up the temp and have a proper hot shower it's the bizzo!!
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