My Very First Ice Bath

Ice BathUp until today, I had never taken an ice bath. They seemed so, well, cold. So what if they help you recover? They are cold. All that ice bath abstaining ended today.

Next Saturday I’m running in the Parkersburg Half Marathon. So this week, to give myself a bit of rest in general and as a taper for the half marathon, I’m taking a slight break in my training for the Columbus Marathon, dropping my mileage a bit and letting the legs get rested. But, as the week wore on, my legs didn’t seem to be feeling much better than typical. In fact, they felt heavier than usual the longer the runs went on. Time for drastic measures.

As far as I can tell from my short experience, ice baths have five unique stages:

  1. The ‘Good Idea’ Stage: From the time you decide to take an ice bath until the point where you sit down in the ice bath, freezing your keister off sounds like it might be something you want to do. So you dump a freezer full of ice into the tub, fill it halfway up with water, and sit down.
  2. The ‘Bad Words’ Stage: If sitting down in a tub full of ice wasn’t enough of an indication that the ‘Good Idea’ stage had ended, the deep inhale followed by the ‘Ahhhh!’ will reassure that you are now in the ‘Bad Words’ stage. You might not actually say any bad words, but, trust me, you’ll think them. Consequently, this seems to be the shortest stage, but if feels like the longest stage.
  3. The ‘That Kinda Hurts’ Stage: It doesn’t take much time to start getting used to the cold. After a couple of minutes, it transitions from feeling cold to sort of hurting. Kind of a slight burning or prickly feeling that, even though it doesn’t hurt enough to make you want to get out of the tub, it isn’t comfortable, either.
  4. The ‘I’m Not Sure This Is Working’ Stage: Now fully used to the cold and no longer really hurting, your legs start to feel about like they did before you sat down: sore and a little tired. Almost there.
  5. The ‘I Can’t Feel My Legs’ Stage: Before you know it, you are suddenly aware that everything below the water line is completely numb, and it’s time to get out and enjoy your newly refreshed legs.

I’m not about an hour removed and have warmed back up again, and the legs do feel better than they did before the run, so I’m guessing that the ice bath was a success. Depending on how the legs feel tomorrow, I might have to take them more often.

As I mentioned earlier, the road to Columbus runs through Parkersburg next weekend, and we are quickly approaching the 70-day mark before my first marathon. The Columbus Marathon benefits Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, and I am honored to be helping fund-raise as a Children’s Champion with a personal fund-raising goal of $1,000. Anyone that would like to help me can donate directly to Nationwide Children’s Hospital on my fund-raising page or, if you prefer to mail in a check, you can download a donation form.

No donation is too small; many hands make light work.