Obsessive Runner The secret to a shriek-free ice bath

The secret to a shriek-free ice bath


If you’ve been into running for a little while now, you’ve probably heard runners espouse the benefits of post-run ice baths. I used to think that ice-baths were some form of cruel insider running joke to see how many newbies could be fooled into this chilling endeavour.

The benefits of ice-baths are pretty simple: cool down your legs to constrict your blood vessels and as you warm up post-bath, more blood will circulate back into your legs and help to take away workout waste products such as lactic acid. For me, I’ve found that ice baths help to accelerate my recovery and get me back to the next run sooner rather than later.

The first time I tried an ice-bath, however, I ended up discovering a new part of me that I never new existed. Here is the step-by-step lowdown of my initial foray into chilly waters:

  • Step 1: Collect bucketfuls of ice
  • Step 2: Fill bathtub with cool water
  • Step 3: Add ice to water
  • Step 4: Submerge myself into water
  • Step 5: Shriek like a little girl

During my first ice-bath, I discovered I had a little person inside of me – it was the voice of little girl which I never knew existed until I submerged myself into that frigid liquid. I have three young boys who heard my screams from downstairs and they were wondering if their father had given birth to a little baby sister – not a pretty sound indeed.

I was, however, a little wiser the next time and had figured out the secret to making it a much calmer and quieter experience. Here are my revised steps:

  • Step 1: Collect bucketfuls of ice
  • Step 2: Place myself into the bathtub
  • Step 3: Fill bathtub with cool water and turn the faucet progressively colder
  • Step 4: Add ice to water
  • Step 5: Sit and enjoy the ice bath. Bonus points to myself if I brought along a warm beverage to keep my upper body warm

The secret of ice-bathing is like good math – it’s the order of operations that count. Getting into the tub first, progressively filling it with cold water and then adding the ice cubes allows you to acclimatize to the cold rather than going in directly for shock therapy.

Now that you know the secret, be smart in your ice-bathing – but if you’re telling your newbie friends about ice-baths, make sure you tell them to follow the first sequence as some sort of insider running joke, OK?

Chillingly yours,



Related blog articles by Andrew Chak:

  • Twas the night before the marathon
  • How I really want you to cheer for me on race day
  • Race day shirt selection syndrome


Follow me: @andrewchak


  1. My trainer had also told me to take ice baths after a workout to take away the achyness in my aging knees. Surprisingly, it worked! One thing I find that helps is, once submerged DO NOT move. Happy icing!

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