The Ice Bath – Running Life Lesson #12
It takes courage and discipline to immerse your body in an extremely cold, ice filled, bath. As I get older my body becomes less tolerant of the extremes in life. I don’t like to stay up late, because it really messes me up the next day. I don’t care much for the extreme heat, extreme sports, or the extreme cold!
The ice bath, known as Cryotherapy, decreases the metabolic activity by constricting your blood vessels, which reduces the swelling and breakdown of tissue in your legs. Once you get out of the ice bath and your skin begins to warm, there is a faster return of blood flow. It expedites the recycling effect in your body and helps flush out the harmful metabolic debris from your legs.
I started doing ice baths in college, when I was running 70 to 100 miles a week. It proved very effective, but I stopped doing it over the years until I began increasing my miles this year in preparation to race in my first marathon. I truly believe that an ice bath is the number one tool that helps me stay injury free and would recommend it to anyone that plans to take on long distance running and have aspirations to compete in a half marathon or marathon.
My legs can feel dead and extremely heavy after a long run and my mind and soul can feel just as dead and heavy after a long day of life on planet earth. Like our legs, our mind and spirit needs to be flushed and recycled in order for us to stay on top of our game and be ready to take on whatever tomorrow brings.
Being healthy is a total mind and body experience and requires that we take care and manage every part of our being. I use the ice bath to heal my legs, and I use other tools and techniques to heal my mind and soul.
I try to do at least three things everyday to flush my mind and spirit:
- I go to the word of God. Nothing, and I MEAN NOTHING, comes close to cleansing and healing my soul then time in communion with the Lord through His word (the Bible). My goal is to read and study the Bible at least 30 minutes every day. For me, the best time is first thing in the morning, down in my office with a protein bar and a glass of milk.
- I listen to Podcasts. One of the greatest aspects of owning a smart phone or MP3 player is the ability to have access to Podcasts. Podcasts are like TIVO for the radio. I enjoy listening to people that I respect like John Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, Michael Hyatt, and Seth Godin and allow their thoughts and words to percolate through my mind and give me a fresh perspective on topics and issues of the day. I listen to Podcasts on long runs by myself or through my noise cancelling headphones while I mow the lawn, or sweep and mop the house. I also listen to Podcasts while driving to and from the airport on business trips. Listening to people that I respect motivates me and energizes me to tackle life. You can get access to Podcasts through iTunes. Once you subscribe to a show, any new episode will automatically download into iTunes and then into your phone or MP3 player when you sync it with iTunes. It is a beautiful thing! I suggest you try it.
- I write. I never took this too seriously until this year when I began the daily discipline of writing down my thoughts. It felt good when I started to get my thoughts and ideas out of my head and onto paper. I found that I became more relaxed, more focused, and began to sleep a lot better after the process of writing became a regular part of my day. As Michael Hyatt often says, “writing allows you to detangle your thoughts.” That is important to keep your sanity and help you discover a deeper level of creativity. I write every morning after my Bible study for about 45 minutes to an hour.
My legs feel awesome and refreshed after 15 minutes of sitting in the chill of an ice bath and my mind and soul feels just as refreshed after a good Bible study, an awesome Podcast, or a great writing session. What are you doing to keep you mind and soul healthy and refreshed? I would like to hear your techniques and tips!