Why Should Runners Have a Cold Therapy Bathtub Session After a Marathon?
The Benefits Of Cold Therapy After Running
After a marathon, muscles and joints can swell, causing discomfort. Cold tub therapy causes blood vessels to constrict, helping reduce inflammation after long runs.
Faster muscle recovery
Because cold tub therapy can help rapidly reduce swelling after a marathon, it also improves muscle recovery time.
A major benefit of cold therapy sessions after a marathon is the reduction of delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. DOMS often leads to days of pain and reduced performance. When you want to reduce the severity of post-exercise DOMS, cold tub therapy is one of the best methods.
4 Cold Therapy Recovery Basics for Runners
Although the idea of an ice bath seems relatively straightforward, when you sit down to make a plan to implement this recovery method, you can quickly find yourself having many questions.
When do ice baths work best for active recovery? What temperature should you set the water at? Is adding ice in a regular bathtub effective? How long should you sit in the ice bath?
Let's cover four of the basics you should know about cold therapy for running recovery.
One—Ice Bath Water Temperature
Compared with other recovery methods, ice baths can be a challenge to get started with. After a tough workout or long run, many runners find it easier to take a cold shower for a couple minutes, rather than fill a bathtub with ice cubes before jumping in (not to mention how hard it is to get enough ice to fill a tub).
When first starting with a cold therapy routine for running recovery, you’ll want to aim for a bath temperature around 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. While this doesn't sound that cold at first, only a short stretch of soaking will reveal just how intensely cold this water temperature can feel post-workout. Once you're accustomed to soaking at this water temperature, you can slowly drop it to around 39 degrees by adding ice or simply turning the setting down on your RENU cold water immersion tub.
Two—Is Ice Really Necessary?
If you're tempted to bail on your ice bath before the ten-minute mark, you can start off with milder temps at first. Rather than getting in at the lowest temp, try submerging yourself in slightly warmer water first and slowly work toward lower temps. You don't need to be Wim Hof right out of the gate! Exercise recovery after a hard workout is still possible with cool water that's closer to the 50-degree mark.
Three—When To Use Cold Tub Therapy
Whether you want to simply cool down after a hard run or recover after a marathon, cold tub therapy is a perfect post-exercise routine. You can quickly lower your core body temperature after running in high temperatures by dunking yourself in a home cold plunge tub right after you finish.
RENU Therapy home cold plunge tubs are always waiting and ready with ice-cold water, enabling instant cool-downs whenever you want!
That said, some running experts suggest limiting your ice bath sessions in the beginning phases of training. This can help you get the most adaptation benefit from training stress. During this time, limit ice baths for times your body is hurting enough to reduce training output.
As your marathon approaches, start ramping up your use of ice baths to freshen up your legs and boost your training capacity. Once you get within a month of your event, you should be feeling good for the duration of all your training runs. This builds confidence at the most crucial stage in your training, helping you get the most from the cardio capacity you've built up.
Four—Session Time For Cold Therapy Bath Tub After A Marathon
After a marathon, hop in your RENU cold therapy bathtub for the recommended maximum time of ten minutes. While it may be tempting to stay in longer, there isn't any additional benefit that is worth the risks involved. Instead, take an additional ice bath the next morning for the recommended ten-minute session. Of course, these are general guidelines, and you should always consult your doctor for the time that's best for you personally.
Cold Water Immersion Mental Challenges
Cold tub therapy at home is kind of like running. It's beneficial and fun once you get the hang of it, but it still can bring pain. When cold tub therapy gets uncomfortable, this is a great chance to flex your mental willpower and push past the pain.
Cold water immersion for any amount of time is a test of mental strength. Even if you've taken numerous ice baths before, the frigid water is never easy to get into.
That said, like running, focusing on the benefits can be enough to motivate you to continue. Pushing past the discomfort of cold water immersion for up to ten minutes is worth the benefits of more effective, injury-free running.
Immediately following your marathon, soak your body from the hips down in an ice bath that's around 50 degrees. This is the temperature that's been found in some studies to help improve recovery.
Are There Any Risks Of Taking Ice Baths?
While taking ice baths after a marathon can make a huge difference when you want to recover faster from swelling, inflammation, pain, and injury, it's essential to keep safety top of mind.
Here are some best practices for safe cold water immersion:
- Have someone nearby to track your blood pressure and body temperature.
- Practice deep, rhythmic breathing, and limit your sessions to ten minutes or less.
- Before beginning cold water therapy, check with your doctor to ensure it's safe for you.
Get RENU Cold Therapy Relief After Running
Taking ice baths in regular tubs can’t provide consistently cold water for a quality home ice bath routine. Thankfully, the purpose-built cold water therapy tubs from RENU Therapy provide a steady supply of ice-cold water for instant therapy benefits after a run.
RENU cold water therapy tubs are nearly three feet deep, so even the tallest runners can achieve true cold water immersion for maximizing their therapeutic benefits.
Get your RENU Therapy ice bathing tub today and perform your best at your next marathon!