Monday, April 11, 2011

Ice bath S.O.S.

Thanks everyone for your great advice about conquering the mental part of training (see last post). It sounds like mantras, breaking the run up into smaller chunks, and running buddies are critical pieces of the mind game puzzle. Do you think a mantra like, "It's all in your head! Suck it up!" would work?


After Saturday's 17-mile run, I thought I should try an ice bath. My first-ever ice bath. 

So, I filled the tub with some cold water and dumped the entire contents of our ice maker's ice into the tub. With sweatshirt on and RW magazine in hand, I gingerly stepped into the tub and lowered myself in (sorry, no pictures of my pained face). I checked my watch and told myself I'd sit there for 10 minutes and then get out.

The water came up several inches, so that my entire legs and thighs were covered.

The water was C O L D. Which if no surprise, of course, considering I'd poured about a couple pounds of ice into an already cold bath.

I lasted about 1 minute. Why? My PRIVATES couldn't deal. TMI? Too bad! What the heck, people? How do you stand freezing yourselves down there?

Ultimately, I let the water out to the point where I could sit at the shallow end of the tub and have the water come just up my thighs, but that meant the water was too shallow to cover my legs completely. Better than nothing? 

What is y'all's secret to sitting in the freezing water/ice? Am I doing this wrong?

If I could wade into the tub so that the freeze came up to my upper thigh, I think I could handle the medicine sitting. Uh-uh. Nope.

Is there a trick I'm missing? Tequila? What then?


If it's just pure pelvic regions of steel that keeps everyone in there, hats off to you, and next time, I'll just buy bags of ice and sit in the tub without water and pile the bags on top of my legs.


  1. Did you wear a bathing suit? That's what I do. Also, I cheat a little because I just fill up the biggest mixing bowl we have of ice and throw it in the cold tap water-filled tub -- so probably not as much ice as you.

    I think other people wear bike shorts maybe. But my bathing suit works for me. This week, I also wore a fleece hat. I was so cold from my run already.

  2. I wear my running shorts or capris, plus socks and a fleecy top. Hot beverage by my side. I get in the empty tip and let the cold water fill around me. Finally I add a bag of ice. It takes almost as much mental endurance as the run! Mind you, I haven't done this since last fall. I seem to be getting through spring marathon training without ice baths!

  3. Hahaha! Don't worry - I can't handle it either. I think some of us are just more susceptible to cold - I'm never warm enough and I hate feeling cold. Good luck if you try again!

  4. That's made me giggle! Good for you for trying. I struggle sometimes to even paddle in the sea. I hate cold.
    You have a shallow end in your bath?!!! That doesn't sound like a bath - more like a small swimming pool!

  5. Your post makes me laugh :) Sorry I can't help. I'm way too chicken for an ice bath, I just shower and put my compression socks on. Good luck!

  6. Have you ever seen Dean's movie "50 Marathons in 50 States?" He uses a huge plastic bin (like the kind you put your Christmas decorations in) for ice baths, so he can sort of squat in the icy water and keep his junk warm and dry. Excellent idea.

  7. Like a few have mentioned I keep shorts on and I actually only run cold water (no ice added). But, I've read that once you're in the water, then you add the ice. Makes it easier to take. It really does feel good on the legs though, even just with cold water :)

  8. got to keep those shorts on for sure

  9. Over from Running Toward a Higher Calling, you're braver than I am - never tried it, but have read a lot on the subject. The water only (I know, "ONLY") about 50 degrees - perhaps your water with all that ice was too cold. I used to loose power a often due to Hurricanes and had one of those HUGE plastic tubs - that was how I bathed - bet it would work for ice baths too. Good luck!

    Also, good luck at the Indy Mini - I'm a Hoosier! Good luck and have fun!

  10. You make me laugh! So funny! I get in the tub of cold water first and then add the ice. That seems to help adjust everything better. And I like hot chocolate and my ipod on to help distract me. I know... ipod and water do not mix. I'm very careful!

  11. I can't handle ice baths in the winter, so I elevate my legs instead. But when I do have an ice bath, I wear swimsuit bottoms and a hoody, with hood up, and drink hot water. I also put swim shoes on because the ice kills my bony feet!

  12. I wear my underwear while sitting in the ice bath. I'm going to have to wash them anyway when I do laundry. I've also read that you should sit in a tub of cold water first to let your legs adjust to the temperature, and then add ice.

  13. I cannot do ice bathes for that exact reason.