When training for a triathlon, everyone wants to know what they can do to help improve their performance and get faster.
While commitment and consistency with regards to your strength and flexibility training are crucial, along with good nutrition, you don’t want to forget about recovery. Allowing your body to recover from your grueling training regime is vital as it will allow it to absorb and regenerate, as well as keep you from sustaining injury.
To help with the recovery process, you may want to consider taking an ice bath.
Ice bath benefits are thought to include:
- Helping to combat microtrauma that often occurs when performing intense exercise – these are small tears in your muscle fibers
- Lessening of muscle soreness
- Constricting of blood vessels and flushing of waste products
- Diminishing of swelling and tissue breakdown
- Keep muscles limber
- Reduction of muscle stiffness
- Speeding up recovery between sessions
While there are a few studies that back the benefits of ice baths, including one published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise and one published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, it’s important to note that not all studies have come to the same conclusion.
Therefore, it might be a good idea to test it out to see if you notice a difference to your recovery. You may just find that you feel better the day after an ice bath and ready to tackle another training session.
If you feel brave enough to take the plunge, run a cold bath and add in several packs of ice. If this is your first time, you may struggle to submerge yourself to below the neck. Just take your time and wean yourself to the process.
You can go in up to your waist to begin with, going in for two minutes, then taking a two-minute break, repeating the process a few times so your body can get used to the cold water.
Eventually, you will be able to go in for up to a maximum of ten minutes and experience the full benefits that ice baths provide!