Cold Baths, a la Paula R.

Hi All

Upped my long run last Sun and today from the normal 8 miler to 10.7 and 11.4 miles respectively.

Last week after the run legs felt tired and sore (first time in ages), so this week decided to try the cold bath (a la Paula R.)to see if it made a difference.

So after my run and stretching routine I sat in the bath and filled it up with cold water until it completely covered my legs. I wore a fleece on my upper body and had a hot mug of coffee with me.

I have to say it was not as bad as I imagined. Sitting in the bath as it fills gives your legs time little by little to get use to the cold. I then sat in the cold water for 25 minutes.

I have to say I am only out about an hour but I can feel a significant difference in how my legs feel. Not as achey as last week. Actually the worst part was after I got out and the feeling started to come back.

Looks like Paula R. might actually be on to something :) . Think I'll be making this part of my LSD recovery from now on.

Recommend it to all.



  • Thanks Mike for your experiment in the name of better running. Were there any other.. erm... side effects?
  • BR, that's what worries me!
  • Yes there might be no more `Big' Tim????
  • Hi Br & BT

    eh there was one. My "tackle" almost vanised for the duration ;) but all was well with in a short time. Bit like a snail going into it's shell really ;)

    A small price to pay me thinks.

  • A bit like a run in the depths of winter then!
  • Very interesting guys!

    I agree the cold bath does wonders for tired legs. Can't say I've noticed any tackle or snails in my bath!
  • LOL hilly,

    Legs really feel much better than normal.

    Ta very much Paula R. for your wisdom :)

  • MK - I use the cold bath treatment as well but have never stayed in as long as 25 minutes. I usually manage about ten minutes - should it be longer? I know that if you use ice packs you should take them off after 15 minutes or you can start to kill the tissue but I'm not sure about cold water.
  • Hi RB

    I am no expert, only running 9 mths and yesterday was the first time I tried the cold bath treatment. I really have no idea as to how long you should stay in. I have read that Paula R. has ice poured over legs in the bath or maybe it's ice added to clod water and stays in for 20 minutes.

    I have always heard that ice packs be applied for 20 minutes but I do not think that cold water from the tap would be as cold as ice packs or an ice and water mix. I also believe that ice can burn your skin and therefore should never come in direct contact with your skin.

    I started out to try and stay in for at least 10 minutes and by that time the experience was not as bad as I had expected it to be so I stayed in for the extra 15. The main problem was boredom as I am more a shower person and not use to sitting in baths.

    As I said in a earlier post I found the worst time was once I steped out of the bath and the feeling started to come back into my legs. But the difference I felt last night once I had warmed back up and taken a warm shower and that I feel this morning is incredable. My legs feel so much fresher not achey and heavy like they felt after my 10.5 miler last week.

    So me thinks this will now be part of my LSD recovery and also for any races which I run.

  • oops, clod=cold
  • Hello guys,
    Reading about a cold bath after a run makes me shhhiver. I am usually quite cold when I get back (loss of energy?) so I usually have a hot shower - well, apart from in the summer of course!. Brrrr!
  • I use the cold bath routine after every race and also after some of my long runs. I find the recovery is so much quicker.

    I also find that the deep freeze spray that is available from chemists works wonders if applied straight after a race, good for when you are a long way away from home and can't get into the bath quick enough.
  • I've thought about finishing my long runs & heading down to the sea. It's only a mile away & I can easily get parked. Only problem being a pebble beach, but worth a go on a sunny day I think!
    I have done this sort of thing before & it does work like Michael say's.
  • BT-my dad say's if it's good enough for horses it's good enough for us!

    I too live by the sea and have to admit not taking advantage of it. Except on very hot days when a book and suntan oil beckons!
  • Yes but the colour of it put's me off!
  • I'm raceing bank holiday monday by the sea & plan to try this out.
    I better take my duck!
  • What, the colour of the suntan oil or the sea!?

    Don't forget the radox, just swish it around a little and pretend you're in the bath at home. Mind does radox work in cold water?
  • Colour of the sea, not sure about the radox though, that might be taking it too far.
  • You must need tons of Radox Hilly - the sea's a big place!! :-)
  • As a coastal dweller, can I recommend you use biodegradable Radox. As long as you pick a small bay with limited tidal movement, you shouldn't need more than half a ton of it ;-)
  • Find a rock pool.
  • 1/2 ton, no prob!
  • Let us know when you've got your bay - we can all have a nice dip.
  • ...and if there's a nice force 5 blowing...
  • Hmmm. Never thought of the sea as a cold bath--doesn't sound so bad really. Except that the slope of our local beach is so gradual that you'd have to run 3/4 mile to the water, and then the same again to find anything over ankle deep (at least till you hit the channel--but that might be a bit extreme)!

  • Well I tried standing in the sea after my race, for 15 min today. I'm sure it worked as my legs feel good afterwards. I went out for a pm run and it felt as if I hadn't raced!
    I would'nt call it proof just yet but will definetly be doing it more often.
  • popsiderpopsider ✭✭✭
    I've followed some advice I got from these forums a while ago (forget who).

    Basically you run about half an inch of luke warm water, get it the bath with a mug of tea, something to eat and a book, wrap a towel round your shoulders and turn any bathroom heaters you have on. Then just run the cold tap. OK so it isn't ice water but done like that you could stay in all day - and much easier than a cold shower. Might be different in Winter as the cold water is a lot colder then.
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    I get in an empty bath and turn the cold water onuntil it fills up enough to cover the legs.
    The shock isn't quite so bad.
    The results too are inconclusive.
  • Hi All

    Second 25 minute soak in cold bath today after 10K race earlier.

    Again once feeling came back into legs I felt like I hadn't raced at all. Went out for short 4 mile cycle in the pm and legs still feeling really good.

    Should be well able to go out tomorrow for 5 mile recovery run.

    For me the results are very conclusive, cold baths rock. Thanks Paula R. for the tip.

    By the way Paula R. looked great on test the nation last night, is there nothing she is not good at.

  • I'm an overweight, bit of a slow plodder and twice now I have tried the cold bath, once after an 8 miler and this weekend after a 10 miler. Both times my legs have felt so so much better than the times when I have a warm shower that I'm convinced. ....did cheat slightly this weekend, got into the cold bath but let a lukewarm shower run over me till my legs had gone numb...wasn't such a shock to the system that way....
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