According to a BBC article, a new study casts doubt on the effectiveness and safety of the post-workout ice bath. In addition to shocking the body — a dangerous event for anyone with a heart problem — the ice bath was not shown to be more effective at reducing soreness than other post-workout treatments, such as a warm bath or gentle massage. See the BBC article at
Remember also that the whole point of training is to introduce a stimulus that will trigger an adaptation response in the body. An ice bath may reduce the severity of the training stimulus, but that can then reduce the resulting adaptation response. Put more simply, if you reduce the impact of a tough workout, your body might not improve as much.
The point of Smart Marathon Traning is to be smarter than we are brave; just because something is difficult or painful doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing for us to do as runners. Being tough earns no extra points unless it’s combined with being smart.
Keep in mind, however, that this doesn’t apply to your post-race routine. A hard race provides a stimulus that may be higher than your body’s adaptation capability — which is why we don’t run hard races too frequently. In those cases, anything you can do to reduce the impact of the race on yoru body will help with your recovery and reduce the risk of injury, all without sacrificing the adaptation level you can achieve and maintain.
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