Jan 08

Long Run & Midwest-Style Ice Bath

Today was my long run for the week.  18 miles.  My longest run since the Grand Rapids Marathon in October.  I was not looking forward to it as it was. And then good old Mother Nature had to drop by and dump a boatload of snow on us the past two days and lower the temperatures into the teens.

I got up early to shovel the driveway before Jennie left for work, so I was all geared up to get the run done early and out of the way.  Unfortunately, I got caught up with work stuff and didn’t get to leave until after 10:00.

The first few miles of the run were very slow going.  The plows had been down most of the roads, but they were still covered with a slushy, snowy mixture that is like running in sand.  I did a lap around Reeds Lake, which was occasionally clear, but more snow than pavement.  6 miles in, I got to Calvin College’s campus.  The sidewalks and paths through campus were in great condition compared to the roads.  I ended up basically doing laps around the campus for 6 miles to take advantage of the sidewalks.  I was even able to duck into the gym and refill my water bottle at one point.

After doing about 6 miles on the campus, I headed back home via the same 6 miles I started with.  It was amazing how much the roads had improved in the hour I spent at Calvin.  They still weren’t perfect, but it was much easier going than when I started.  I ended up finishing in 2:36:28 for a pace of 8:42.  I was actually surprised to be under a 9 minute pace considering the road conditions, so I’ll take it.

Not leaving until 10:00 led to an all too familiar problem.  I got halfway into my run and I was starving.  I ate breakfast when I got up, but by 11:00, my body was ready for lunch.  So, as I ran, all I could think about was food.  That didn’t help; it just made me hungrier.  I really need to work on better nutrition and eating habits before my long runs.

When I got home, despite being hungry, my first priority was to take an ice bath for my legs and to shower.  During my run, I had a great idea for my ice bath.  Why pay for ice when Mother Nature had provided a yard full of snow?  And thus, the Midwest-Style Ice Bath was invented (patent pending).  Armed with a plastic container, I filled it up with snow and readied the tub with water.


Previously, for my ice baths, I would add the ice to the water before getting in. However, taking a cue from Chic Runner, I got into the tub first and then added the snow.  This helped minimize the shock of getting into a freezing tub.  I started by just taking handfuls of snow and adding it to the tub, but that was slow going and freezing my fingers.  So I dumped the entire container in at once.  YIKES!  It was instantly freezing.  Colder than ice.  I basically had a mound of snow on my legs.  I suffered through it though and it was definitely worth it.  I am pretty much pain free now.

I was sort of worried that the snow would melt too fast and wouldn’t be as effective as ice.  I was wrong.  Here is a picture of the snow that was still left in the tub AFTER I sat in it for 10 minutes.


There was even snow left in the tub after I took a hot shower while the water drained.  Next time, I don’t think I need as much snow.  Lesson learned.

So, there you have it, a Midwest-Style Ice Bath; something that all you warm weather dwellers are missing out on.  Or not.

Next week is another light week; only 20 miles total.  After 41 last week and 43 this week, I am very much looking forward to it.  Hopefully the lighter running schedule will give me more time on the trainer, which has been lacking.

Stay tuned!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2010/01/08/long-run-midwest-style-ice-bath


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  1. Tricia

    a snow bath! I LOVE it !

  2. Jon

    Genius!!! Catchy name too 🙂 One of these days I gotta attempt an ice bath.

    How much snow have you gotten already this winter? Every time you post, you guys have just gotten dumped on again!

  3. Maria

    Way to use the midwest weather to your advantage, that was brilliant! Solid run considering the roads, good idea to take advantage of the campus nearby!

  4. lindsay

    nice! what a great idea. well, resourceful anyway… i’m not sure i’d voluntarily dump snow on my bare legs. 🙂

  1. Ironman By Thirty » Blog Archive » 20 Miler

    […] my run, I took my ice bath.  I had to use ice this time because most of the snow has melted.  I followed that up with my favorite post long run meal of a Red Baron supreme […]

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