Finally, something that isn’t going to cause me more pain in my perpetual effort to be a better runner!
Ice Baths are bad for your running!
Yes, you read that right! According to Ross Tucker, PhD., and Jonathan Dugas, PhD. (in a great article in Running Times Magazine), inflammation is a necessary part of adaptation, something we all need if we are going to improve in our running. According to the doctors, the inflammatory process is necessary to clear out cells damaged from running to make way for stronger cells. In other words, inflammation helps you get stronger if you let it do its job.
Amazing how the body takes care of itself, huh?
I have to admit that I have taken very few ice baths in my running career, because as all of you well know, I am a BIG FAT BABY. And I HATE to be cold. But the few times I forced myself to do it, it felt like absolute torture! So, I am dancing the happy jig right now because I don’t have to feel guilty about not plunking myself into a vat of ice after every run. Yippeeecayay, Eskimo Pies – no more frozen naughty bits!
Now, all this jubilation aside, if you are used to taking NSAIDs and/or icing a lot, it will be important to really pay attention to your body. You may not be as adept at reading pain signals. Learn to distinguish between “normal” training discomfort and the onset of an injury. Knowing your body is one of the most important factors in optimal training.
Now, take off those compression shorts/tights (they’re inflammation minimizers, too) and jiggle like the rest of us!