Friday, March 08, 2013

Fitness Friday - A Recovery Trick

One of the things that killed my previous attempts at leading a fit lifestyle was soreness. Very disenchanting for a chunk, lazy geek like me to wince every step after completing a long run. So I'd succumb to soreness and quit.

But I discovered a secret to defeating soreness: alternating hot and cold. My gym has a "cold pool." Next to it, is a hot tub. After a long run (usually >10K) alternating almost always eliminates any resulting aches and pains and allows me to keep to a strict training schedule.

My protocol is quick and simple:

  1. One minute in the cold pool, up to my waist, following by one minute in the hot tub, up to my waist.
  2. Two minutes in the cold pool, up to my arms, following by two minutes in the hot tub, up to my arms.
  3. Three min in the cold pool, up to my neck, following by three min in the hot tub, up to my neck.
You could go longer if you'd like. You could stick with just submerging your legs. Or submerge all the way each time. But the major focus is alternating between hot & cold. I believe it helps promote rapid bloodflow into the muscles (in the cold) and out of the muscles (in the hot.) And the bloodflow helps with recovery. If my science is wrong, my results are right. I've run half marathons then tried this trick, and I'm able to train the next day.

If you have access to a gym, give it a try. If you don't have a cold pool, there's likely a shower available near your hot tub and you could (brace for it) hop in a cold shower for 1 - 3 minutes. Even if it doesn't help with recovery, it will certainly wake you up in a hurry!
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