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Ice baths

Thu, Oct  1, 2009 - By Rob Bradlee, Toko

This article original appeared on the new Toko US Nordic Blog.

Back in June I had the privilege of being one of the coaches at the USSA/NENSA Regional Elite Camp in Lake Placid. We had 20 of the Northeast's top juniors there for 6 days of training. We stayed at the new Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid. Imagine a nice hotel, but one that is set up just for athletes. The cafeteria is open from 7 AM to 9 PM, there is a huge gym and strength facility in the building, and there is free Wifi with high-speed Internet. Sweet!

One of the other pleasures of the OTC is a huge ice bath. Imagine a hot tub, but with the water chilled to 50 F. That's pretty darn cold. One morning we did a four hour hike and run up a big mountain in the 'daks (Adirondak Mountains). After a big lunch and a shower to clean off the mud, I headed for the ice bath. The experienced folks recommended 12 minutes in the bath and then some hot chocolate (always available in the café) to warm up. At age 52 I figured that four hours of chasing very fit teenagers up and down mountains would leave me crippled. I was amazed the next day how few aches and pains I had. From then on I was committed to ice baths.

I've been battling a sore hamstring on and off for some time. This summer I've become an ice bath addict. I buy one or two 10 lb bags of ice at the local convenience store on my way home. I fill the bathtub with cold water and ice and then sit in it for 10 or more minutes. It's amazing how it helps me recover and stops the aches in my legs and lower back. Give it a try.