Cold shower after run

I know a lot of pro athletes have an ice bath but that is far too impractical for me. I have read that you can get many of the same benefits from a cold shower. My question is can I have a hot shower before the cold shower and still get the same benefits? I love having a hot shower after a hard or long run. How long should I run cold water over my legs and back for after the hot shower?


  • K - stop overanalyzing - you're not a pro athlete.....image

    just do what you think is right

    I've never had a cold bath/shower after any long event - I'm still here

  • i occassionally have a cold bath after a long run. I've heard it might help to speed the repair of the tiny muscle tears that occur through running. Equally, it could be bullshit, but seems to reduce DOMS for me, so i do it when i feel like it. I think cold first, then warm bath / shower later is the suggested order, but see my earlier note on "bullshit".


  • It'd be nice to try a post-run ice bath out and see what difference it would make.

    Though I suspect at my level, the difference would amount to very cold testicles and not much else.

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    +1 for FB's comment - don't over-think it.

    The theory (I think) behind it is that the cold shock reduces blood flow to the affected areas and promotes healing of the micro-tears in your muscles after training.  Hot does the opposite as your blood vessels expand to allow the cooling blood into the heated area, and therefore can lead to additional swelling of the affected areas therby delaying recovery.  So having a hot shower & then a cold shower is a bad idea.  However a hot shower after the cold treatmetn is OK as it helps to restore normal blood flow.

  • Lol ok FB image Fair point.

    I have spent 10 mins running cold water over my legs and back after my last couple of long runs, after my normal hot shower, and it has left me feeling fresher the next day. Probably placebo but as long as it works I will keep doing it.
  • stutyr's right with the theory but frankly when you ARE a pro athlete of any sport, quick recovery is the order of the day so they will do anything they need to help that - one being ice baths. 

    for us mortals, some post-exercise recovery drinks and maybe a cold shower will be the best, but for me, I just get a hot shower and carry on.  a bit of DOMS never hurt anyone

    sometimes I will go and stand in the sea after a long run if I can be arsed - which I can't usually!!

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    FB - "a bit of DOMS never hurt anyone" - I have to disagree, bl**dy hurts for a couple of days. image


  • ha, FB, you remind me of my high school PE teacher, whose catchphrase was "pain never hurt anyone". I'm not sure if he knew he had a catchphrase or not, but he'd roll it out every week whilst standing over some prostrate boy who'd just had a football hooved into his balls.

  • mikasamikasa ✭✭✭

    Well I'm a total beginner but when I was training for my first half marathon (training badly) after my 8miler and 10miler I had a 10-15min cold bath and it helped so much the next day, felt like I hadn't run at all. After the run my legs had been so heavy and achy it was lovely to wake up in the morning and not suffer from DOMS.

    Nothing wrong with trying to reduce the pain.

  • I've never bothered - apart from the one time i was staying in a B&B after a half marathon and the stereotypical mean landlady had turned the hot water off for daytime. So I had to have a cold bath. My legs did feel good for it - but I've never repeated it since !
  • i quite like the feeling of DOMS

    is that weird?

  • Yes. But we're all of us freaks one way or another so don't feel bad about it! image


  • I have had a few ice baths and it does help, I was made to take them after rugby a few years back when they were the new "thing" and they are superb for easing the lumps and bumps although the psychological aspect can't be discounted "Yes, yes I feel amazing can I get out now and try to find my penis now please?"

    I occasionally take one after longer runs that have taken a toll but frankly sitting in a bath of cold water with your gonads up around your tonsils reading the Sunday travel supplement isn't as much fun as it sounds.

  • The only way I could make an ice bath tolerable was to get in pretty much fully dressed. I'd take of my shorts, but keep my under shorts on, and have a warm fleece top and hat on. A pint of boiling hot tea helps as well, and deals with the rehydration.
  • Okay.

    I tried a cold water bath after a 10 mile run tonight.

    I lasted about five seconds (literally). I can't do it. I'm just too weak.

  • nothing appeals to me about sitting in cold water whether in a bath or shower - reminds me of camping trips and skanky showers lol 

    the science bit sounds good but i'll stick with warmth and comfort  - its what i pay the gas bill for anyway 

    incidentally  - should legs feel stiff etc after longer runs - when i say long - for me thats 8 miles  - my legs are fine next day , my shoulders and neck ache though ? 

  • next time on a long run.....keep on checking if you are running with tense arms shoulder......a good way to stop it is every half mile  just let your arms drop down  and just let them go limp and shake them a will notice that your shoulders will drop as a couple of shoulder rotations at the same time if you want.........all this can be done whilst still running.......

    you want to get out of the habit of tensing shoulders when running if you can.........image

Sign In or Register to comment.