On Saturday I decided to take a longer than usual run, because I'd been missing them. Afterward, because I am making the transition to barefoot running, I decided to take an ice bath. Yes, I've taken them before, and yes, they are extremely cold. But let me tell you, they are worth every single excruciating moment of pain - when you get out.
Usually I take an ice bath after an "exceptionally" long run. I don't mean "exceptionally" in the grand scheme of things, but a run that is at least one third longer than my normal run. It keeps the minor aches and pains down as well as invigorating me after expending all my energy. I've taken about 10 of them over the past 2-3 years, and each of them has been worth it.
I usually just dump the icemaker contents into cold water, but this time I got a by-God ice bath made with a 10-pound bag of ice. Let me tell you, it was freaking COLD, too. Yeah, that's what I would expect as well. I got in as soon as I dumped the ice in and sat right down. For the first time ever, I was actually quiet getting in; I often shout "cold-cold-cold" while I'm easing into it!
I sat in there for about 10-15 minutes or so and shivered. No, I did not submerge my entire body in it; my legs were the only thing that "needed" to be iced and the water came up to about my bellybutton. Once all the ice has melted, you can start to ignore the fact that you're in an ice bath and it just feels like a cold spring. Sort of. Eventually you get used to the cold water and of course by then it's starting to warm up from your body heat.
The best part of an ice bath is of course getting out of the ice bath! Amazingly, you feel refreshed and ready to go out for another run.
And even better: the next day, you don't hurt as bad!