Monday, April 9, 2012

Gonna Have to Toughen UP

I've been trying to log some longer mileage runs as of late.  Just a little over a month away from the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon, and I'm getting concerned that I haven't done enough to make my time goal of just under 2 hours.  I haven't done much speed work, no hill repeats, and I've actually run LESS miles in my training than I have in past training stints.  I've been cross-training quite a bit more, in hopes of preventing any injuries.  So Saturday, I ran 9 miles.  My goal was to average just under 9 minute miles for my pace, and I did that.  I was super excited!  Sunday I ate a bunch of jelly beans and chocolate.  Hmmm, not the best training plan.  Monday was supposed to be my gym/weight lifting day, but the weather convinced me to hit the pavement.  I decided I wanted to spend as much time outside as possible, so I mapped out 10 miles, and enjoyed every step.

Now, almost 20 miles in less than 48 hours isn't something my body is used to.  So I thought it would be a good idea to try an ice bath.  I've heard so many people say that it really helps reduce the inflammation if you can submerge your joints in the cold water, rather than just resting an ice pack on the general area.  So I psyched myself up and was ready to give it a go!

I had just picked Lauren up from preschool, so I made lunch, brewed some nice hot coffee, and we headed up stairs to have a picnic in the bathroom.  I wanted company, after all.  Lauren was all excited about it, and had eleventy-thousand questions about  my "cold" bath.  I'm pretty sure she thought I was crazy.

I filled the tub with several inches of cold water, and had ice in a bag standing by to add later.  I got as far as one toe in that water and squealed.  HOLY COLD!  There was NO WAY I was actually going to submerge any part of me in that water.  So I drained the water and decided that I would have to approach it a different way.

I sat in the tub, and started to fill it with cold water.  This was horrible, but not as bad as lowering yourself into already freezing cold water.  The water got about halfway up my legs, and I couldn't take it anymore.  I turned off the water (I had long ago finished my coffee), and I tried to have a conversation with Lauren.  Since she was busy eating the Jelly Beans at lightning speed, she "couldn't remember" what she had been doing at school just 20 minutes ago.  I was three  minutes into my "ice bath" (oh yeah, I never got around to adding the ice...the water was COLD ENOUGH), and I couldn't take it anymore.

That hot shower was the most awesome shower in the history of ever.

Even though I didn't last that long, and I didn't have every part that needed the cold submerged in the water, I really feel like it helped.  I was able to run a few more laps with my girls at Girls on the Run today, and my knees and feet aren't hurting.

I certainly don't plan to make a habit out of bathing in ICE COLD water after every run, but this really helped me remember that icing after longer runs really helps reduce the inflammation in the joints.  They take quite a pounding when logging all those miles.

And I have a new-found RESPECT for runners that utilize the ice bath as part of their training.  I know once I bite off that Marathon, I'm gonna have to toughen up and last longer than 3 minutes. ;-)


  1. Way to go at even attempting an ice bath! That is bravery in the finest. I have read about them so much, but I am not sure I can make myself do them.
    I was recently reading about compression clothing having similar benefits to an ice bath. I think I might bite the bullet(cause it is expensive) and get an item or two compression clothing for after long runs...maybe it would work as well and not be such torture!
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I am also curious about the compression clothes... let me know what you find out! :-)

  2. LOVE compression socks/stockings... I sleep in mine when I am sore and they really do help! Next time - just fill the bath with cold water.. have Lauren in there with you and just ease yourself in (I keep my running clothes on)Have your phone there so you can amuse yourself with Facebook and be prepared to scream loudly.. after 3 minutes I think it gets easier and you just are numb.. I can stay in 10 minutes now. I haven't done with actual ICE cubes in the water- don't think I could have made it 3 or 10! Nice long runs! Can't wait to see you beat your time this weekend on the 10K.

    1. Where did you get your compression socks? How far up your leg do they go? The bath was complete torture! The VO2 test was interesting... I still need to collect my thoughts about it, and hope to write up a little report tomorrow. I lasted 10 minutes before I got kinda dizzy and had to stop. He had me going fast and hilly! yowzars. I was surprised by how low my HR number was for my threshold...

    2. Sorry, just saw your reply.. I got them at RoadRunner - any running store has them. I have 2 pairs, one that isn't a sock, just calf sleeve, and one pair of full socks - they both go just below my kneecap.