I took my first ice bath. Oh, what an experience it was.
I took this ice bath seriously, I wanted to do it right! I was very strategic. The point of an ice bath is to help with recovery…of my legs. So, my goal was to let me legs get cold, but to keep everything else warm. I read about people wearing jackets while in the ice bath, but that just didn’t make sense to me. Not only did I not particularly want to have to deal with a wet jacket, but I also didn’t really think a soaking wet jacket would keep me all that warm.
Luckily, modern technology was on my side. In the form of a wetsuit. My plan was to wear my wetsuit gloves and booties to keep my hands and feet warm, and to wear the top half (i.e. put my arms through the armholes) of my wetsuit to keep my core warm. I also planned to wear a winter hat.
I was super disappointed when I couldn’t find my booties before I left for my run. (On the bright side, I was able to find my snowboarding socks, which have been missing since we moved here 6 months ago).
When I returned from my run, I grabbed my ice and headed to the bathroom. I stuck my arms through the armholes of my wetsuit, put on my wetsuit gloves, and began filling the tub with cold water.
I stepped into the cold water with my dirty running socks on, and started screaming. Ack! It was COLD!
After the initial shock, I was able to calm myself and convince myself to sit down. After sitting, I realized that it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. Yes, I was shivering a little at first, but soon that stopped and everything was okay.
I wanted to make sure the tub was the right temperature, so I used a kitchen thermometer to measure the water temperature. To my surprise, it was the appropriate therapeutic temperature without ice!
I decided to add just a little bit of ice, mostly just so that I wouldn’t be lying when I said I took an “Ice bath,” though I did rub the ice a little bit on my shins, as those seem to be my problem area these days.
After 20 minutes, I decided that my time was up, and I climbed out of the bath. I took off my wetsuit, and THAT is when the really unpleasant part began. I began to shiver and shiver and shiver. The wetsuit had apparently made a huge difference for me! I didn’t want to take a warm shower right away, as the whole point of an ice bath is too keep muscles cold even AFTER leaving the bath.
I forced myself to sit shivering for 30 minutes in my living room before I allowed myself a warm shower.
- Ice baths aren’t so bad
- Ice baths need not include ice
- Wetsuits help make ice baths much more comfortable
- When using the wetsuit technique, the unpleasant part occurs after the wetsuit is removed.
Obviously I could just leave my wetsuit on until I’m ready to take a hot shower…except then I’d get the rest of my house all wet. If I was going to stay in my wetsuit, I’d have to stay in the bathroom, which sounds really boring to me!
Next week: I’ll do it again!