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Cold Showers?!

Right, so I've just got back from my "Saturday Long Run" and after cleaning up I sprayed my calfs with freezing cold water from the shower head ala Paula Radcliffe. Now I've been doing this after runs for a while now and I just realised I don't know why!

I'd heard rumours that it forces the blood to the surface and helps flush lactic acid from your system, but the mountain leader side of me says that blood goes AWAY from the surface when the skin is cold, to keep your core temperature up and keep hypothermia at bay.

So is there some reason why this is good for you or am I just inflicting unnessecary pain on myself? [&:]


  • AlgarniAlgarni Posts: 46
    I am not sure about doing it after distance running. I do know that sprinters jump in an ice bath to stop hemorageing of ruptured muscle fibres after a particularly strenuous workout.

    To increase muscle mass you over work the muscle to rupture individual muscle fibres (this is what I remember from college years ago). These muscle fibres then repair and create more muscle mass. To stop the bleeding in the muscle faster after one of these work outs they jump into an ice bath.

    I do know that a good massage after each run gets rid of lactic acid better than most other methods. (you don't have to have someone else massage your calves but I find a beautiful Swedish nurse in a bikini works best)

    Good luck and I hope this is a little help.
  • The cold shower thing definitely works and makes your legs feel fresh as a daisy after a long run but there is a technique. Firstly warm water for 30s- 1min then freezing water for 30s-1min. Repeat three times and finish with warm shower. The cold water causes cappilaries and small vessels to close and the warm water opens them up again flushing lactic acid away. I originally experienced this when training with my football team when we went from hot shower to ice bath but you can do it at home too with the shower.
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