How to Survive the Cold / Ice Bath

Ugh. The ice bath. It is NOT fun, but it’s a great way to recover after a long run. I did ice bath and cold water baths all summer long as I was training but I haven’t done them this training cycle because it’s been SO COLD I couldn’t stomach the idea (read more here about the benefits of ice baths).

ice bath

So, how do you deal with submerging yourself in cold water? Well, here are my tips:

  1. Dress the part. I can’t stomach an ice bath without shorts and a hoodie. And obvi,
  2. Get your supporting cast. I always make a cup of hot tea and either grab something good to read or put on some music. Usually both. This is not a pleasant thing, so do what you can to make it tolerable!
  3. Keep it short! 10-15 minutes is plenty to start. Now I usually go for 15-20 minutes, but start small!

Of course, the fact is cold water baths and ice baths suck. Regardless what you do, chances are you’ll still make this face…



Do you do ice baths? In the winter?


      • 3


        I disagree about it “helping recovery”.

        They are only needed if you have a second event very close to the first one (say, within 48 hours) and are not looking to gain fitness, but to race well.

        If you feel you need an ice bath, you likely trained too hard during the previous workout OR are simply doing key workouts too close together.

        The research hints towards ice bathing hindering adaptation, which is the point of a long run or speed workout. By using cryotherapy you are simply getting less bang for your buck from hard workouts. You might as well just run one less mile or two a couple less reps and NOT be sore.
        Kyle Kranz recently posted…Training Jan 13-19My Profile

        • 4


          Kyle, thanks for sharing your opinion. We can agree to disagree. Most runners I know are running at a minimum 4-5 times a week. Which means that a second activity is occurring within 48 hours of a prior. I don’t think ice baths (or cold water baths, which I actually do more often) are a necessity but they can help recovery.

          • 5


            Yes, but I’m talking max effort runs within 48 hours of each other (such as the Goofy Challenge). If you’re doing two key workouts that close together and the first is hindering the second, you’re making a mistake, and it’s not not taking an ice bath. You’re scheduling hard runs too close together or doing them too hard.

            Simply put, ice bathing is cutting the athlete short.

            I do agree that it cuts down on inflammation, but…that’s where the adaptation comes from 😉
            Kyle Kranz recently posted…Training Jan 13-19My Profile

  1. 11


    The one and only perk of having Raynaud’s, is that I can’t do ice baths! Yay me. LOL.

    I can’t believe you set in ice for 20 minutes. No way.

  2. 16


    Haha I was just saying to my husband that I am never ever going to do this! But I did mention that I will be using his uncle’s pool right after the Disney Princess Half Marathon…that’s kind of the same thing right?
    Kristen recently posted…Try New Things Tuesday!My Profile

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