Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ice Bath

There is an element of masochism in running. You put yourself through a degree of pain for the pleasure you feel when you have earned the right to stop. Soft core runners like myself are not too big on the idea of seeking-out pain, we just accept it as part of the mix that makes running satisfying. We need the feeling of testing our boundaries, pushing ourselves, and knowing we have achieved something.

I don't really know the boundary between extending yourself and just trying to prove you are hard. However I know there is a strain of thought that thinks tougher means better and I think it is one of the reasons iced baths have gained favour as a means of post-run recovery. There is , of course, a plausible reason why they might work but it reads more like a hypothosis than something fully supported by the evidence. I still suspect that the underlying idea is that nasty medicine works best.

it was therefore really pleasing to read this refutation. It is not that I want to stop people diving into iced baths if they like them. Many people obviously think they work (and thinking they work is probably significant in actually making them work) so they should continue. No, I was pleased because I like to see ideas being properly tested - just because something is plausible doesn't make it true and we should not confuse the two.

However i must admit I get more satisfaction when the testing confirms my own prejudices - in this case I prefer a tepid shower.


b-z said...

hot bath for me

beanz said...

I'm with you on this one HK