hot bath cold bath ??

ive heard so many prople say ice bath after a run and also a hot bath ??, which is best as ive still got this annoying pain in my lower legs almost all the time it feels bruised and hurts when i walk on both legs mainly around the front of the shin and just next to the calf muscle.

maybe im not stretching enough or not recovering properly , i work 6 on 4 off and i run once in the six days on and im on my feet all day at work then on my 4 off i will run too , who knows someone shed some light as i have 3 races coming up soon.

 are my new muscles growing?

too much running?

do i need a muscle recovery drink?

its getting me down!!



  • On the baths aspect...

    I have never tried an ice bath and don't really have any desire to either! However, (for me personally anyway) I do swear by a hot bath. I also use some muscle soak stuff. Raddox do some bath salts which are under £1 and tesco do a muscle soak 'bubble bath' also under £1.

    Whenever my muscles are sore or tight after a long run I have one of those baths, soak in it for as long as I want and also just gently massage the sore areas. Go to bed and the next morning I feel sooo much better.

    I don't know if that will help with your problem but just letting you know what works for me.

    Is it the muscle on the shin (tibias anterior?) or could it be shin splints?

  • I'm with K8- never had an ice bath & don't want to but they are raved about so perhaps an ice pack on your 'sore bits' would help straight after your run.

    I'm certainly no expert but another idea - could you be running too fast ? if so you would feel better if you ran more frequently but had recovery / slower runs ?

  • A hot bath is not a good idea straight after a run, it can increase inflammation. An ice bath is not as bad as it sounds (not quite, anyway!), you just have to remember to put yourself in the bath first, then the water, than the ice, otherwise it's really unpleasant.

    My boyfriend regularly ice baths (freak!) and he convinced me to try it while marathon training. I was surprised that it really did help me to recover quicker.

    Having said that I saved it for after the really long runs only. I didn't enjoy it *that* much!image

  • Can I go for middle of the road and say straight after a race/strenuous run it should be lukewarm? image
  • No Wej!

    You *have* to take sides or we can't have a proper fight about it image

  • No, but really - that's what I was always told! image
  • Ice bath? Where do you get the ice from? How much do you put in? How long do you have to stay in? image Sounds horrible!

    hot bath + radox + glass of wine for me! image

  • I've used cold baths after long runs and they definitely help recovery. I haven't quite braved putting ice in them yet, I figure the water temp is pretty cold anyway and seems adequate to me.

    That said they aren't that enjoyable and unless it's a very hot day it can be pretty hard to climb into a freezing cold bath (especially if you're cold and wet and covered in mud after a boggy trail run).

    I use a hot bath if I'm feeling stiff from a run the day before or something, helps loosen my muscles up etc.

  • My muscles would have to be in pretty bad shape for me to brave a cold bath or even worse ice bath!

    I like my baths so hot that I come out looking like a lobster!

    I think it's just a case of finding what works best for you. I'm all for hot but then that I haven't got the guts to try an ice bath to give a fair comparison.

  • Yorkshire Rob wrote (see)
     unless it's a very hot day it can be pretty hard to climb into a freezing cold bath (especially if you're cold and wet and covered in mud after a boggy trail run).

    That's why you need to get in the bath first, THEN run the water. Once you've started to go numb from the cold you dump the ice in. By then it doesn't feel much different!

    It's not that bad really. I'm not mental - honest! image

  • k8green i think you could be right it might be that muscle , i done a 10k race 2 weeks ago and no pain , i then gave it a week and ran 10 miles no pain and then 1 week later this pain as soon as my foot hitthe floor the only way i can describe it, is when i touch it , it feels bruised or tender and when i squat down thats horrific pain , and it feels like my shins feel bruised, it comes and goes
  • Another vote here for the ice bath - does seem to help the legs recover, although I haven't had one for a while.  It takes some persuasion to consciously make it shrivel up like that.
  • I had a very bad calf pain after my track session last night.  I had a 15 minute cold bath today and now the pain has gone!  I don't think that would have happened with a hot bath...

    I fill the bath waist high with cold water, don a woolly hat, get a cup of tea and get in and quickly sit down.  If I'm having an ice bath I get my assistant to pour in 2-3 big bags of ice when I'm sitting in the bath.  I never spend more than 15 minutes in a cold or ice bath.  It's shocking when you first get in but after a couple of minutes the torture isn't too bad.  The secret is to sit perfectly still as if you move around, the water will touch bits of skin that are still nice and warm and this will result in the air turning blue - again!  

    I'd recommend anyone with an injury/ache/pain to try a cold bath - it will definitely help to get rid the problem. image

  • Another approach if its just your shin thats sore would be to use a bucket/bin (depending how high up the ache is) full of cold water.  That way you dont have to experience the full ice effect.
  • Jokerman wrote (see)

    You can usually hear me yelling from half way down the street.

    That's exactly what it's like when I get in! image
  • Dan I find that ice on my legs after running makes my muscles even tighter.I stretch excesively before a run!!!!! as well as after. On a rest day I generaly swim at the gym and try to massage and stretch my calves in the steam room when the muscles are nice and warm. I have suffered from shin splints for years and have tried evreything I would say that this is my longest period without them so I must be doing something right. Good luck.
  • When I started running I used to love a freezing shower afterward.

    Now it's winter, I'm normallt numb, I take a luke warm bath to stop getting hypothermia. It really needs to be very cool as I can't tell the temperature and even cool hurts.

    The hot bath comes before bed. A nice warm soak. Bliss.

  • I used to have cold baths, but unless you put a LOT of ice in there, I don't think its worth the discomfort... I get far better results from rubbing 3-4 ice cubes on each shin till they melt, one after the other. Works wonders for my shin splints but everyone's different.

    The other thing I HIGHLY recommend is as soon as you get back from a run (but after icing), lie on your back and put your feet up on something, making sure they are above the rest of your body... lying on a sofa isnt as good. That helps me recover, but again its what works for you... just experiment!

  • Avern L wrote (see)

    Yeah, you'd better have hot bath, it is good for your health.

    Cold bath after exercise makes your body weak and a lot of bacteria and viruses hurt your organs.

  • Avern L wrote (see)

    Yeah, you'd better have hot bath, it is good for your health.

    Cold bath after exercise makes your body weak and a lot of bacteria and viruses hurt your organs.

    Is this something your grandma told you?
  • I'm not really a bath person anyway so always shower after a run.

    I reserve hot baths for when my muscles are sore and don't do it straight after a run. If I've done a tough run and a couple of days after I'm still sore then thats when the hot soak comes in. I do in in the evening and then after a nights sleep I feel heaps better.

  • A hot bath once the inflammation has gone down sounds nice K8 image

    I'm not much of a bath person either, but an ice bath serves a different purpose. I'm not in there for long enough to get my rubber duckie out and start washing my hair. Just until I'm feeling weak and my organs are nice and hurty. image

  • After a marathon....ALWAYS ice bath. It actually becomes comfortable and you feel fine over the next couple of days.
  • I don't know about you, but if I took a hot bath after one of my runs, I think I'd explode due to overheating...
  • Running-mad-dan.  To be honest, ice baths, or hot baths or even sports massages all have their drawbacks when it comes to recovery, or injury avoidance.  They are either painful, inconvenient, ineffective or expensive (and runs the danger as a friend on another thread calls it "Bonsai Penis").


    I got hold of one of these devices and along with my running partner, we refer to it as our "Miracle machines". It's based on micro-current technology (Bio-Electrical Stimulation (BEST), which is not the same thing as TENS, it is a much lower current).  A set of 4 x AA batteries last about 2-3 months! The concept is that it stimulates the production of ATP which is the most basic unit of chemical energy storage in the body. In effect, the device stimulates the body to heal itself through making energy available to cells. 

    I wear it for an hour or two after running (if it was a tough session), I feel refreshed, energised, I don't pay any more physio bills for injuries and I can wear it whenever I want.  After one year of use, I can thoroughly recommend it.  Happy to answer any questions you might have. I understand that BEST eqpt. has been used for years by professional cycling teams for years, as recovery rates are vital for tour based racing (high performances, day after day).

  • Attaching electrodes to each limb for 30-60 minutes is inconvenient and paying over 300 euros for the device certainly isn't inexpensive.

    Still if it works.......

    I looked at the website and when I click on "The Science" the page is blank and "How Does It Work" has a tiny, unreadable diagram.  I don't think it's my browser as it displays the overall benefits and cost okay.

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