So, you’ve had a long run, you need to stretch, perhaps a post exercise massage would be quite good or what’s that I hear you say, why not an ice bath? Are you bonkers? An ice bath, really, like I want to get into a bath filled with ice and see my already shrunk appendage (after exercise of course) reduce even further to the size of a platypus’ peepee. Who would do that to themselves? Still, I tell myself, I’m doing a long run, I need to get in the right frame of mind. Really, yes really it is a great idea, all the athletes have been doing it. I’m sure I saw it when it was the Olympics, Sir Chris Hoy, Sir ‘the mod cyclist’, Sir Mo’ Farah and Sir Jess Ennis or something like that (gosh how disrespectful I am), they were all in the ice tub, not together of course (that would be like some weird dream, especially if the wonderful Mrs Ennis-Hill was in it, mores the pity, however she’ll never usurp the soft spot I have for Denise Lewis, now that was a six pack). Anyway, ice bath, brilliant, marvellous, ‘an-ice’ idea. I’m up for it. Plan made, determined head on (thank you Aunt Sally) if I say I’m going to do it, let’s do it.
Now I’m on the final straight, I’m running back to work, sweaty but prepared, my mind is made up. Immediately to the bedroom, plug in, cold water running, ice bucket fetched, then another and another. That’s it, it’s prepared, I’m stripped off and I’m ready, no hesitation and I lower myself in, triceps poised, the plunge. Flaming Ada, that’s cold! Right, let’s see how many I can count to before I feel like I’m freezing the proverbials off the proverbial monkey of brass. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, actually, it’s not too bad. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 I can’t feel my freaking feet. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 Holy Jesus, please help, 17, 18, 19, 20, right, that’s it, that is it, me done. Except now I can’t get out, the feeling in my legs has gone. I heave my lazy backside out of the bath and stand trembling like a drowned (but slightly overweight) whippet on the bathroom floor. Surely 20 seconds is not enough is it, I wished I’d researched this further. I’ve been in plunge pools for longer than this. Right, summon up the courage to do it again. That’s it 1,2, 3 and dip. Christ, it’s even colder the second time around. I’m shivering like I’m Harry Potter in the pond when he tries to get Gryffindor’s sword (if I remember the movie correctly). I manage to get to the count of ten this time. No more, that’s me done. Mind you I feel mightily refreshed.
Next day, no aches, no pains, that ice bath has done the trick, bloody hell great idea, I’m brilliant! However, there is a visit to my sister (the commensurate professional, the person who always does things properly, the trained one, the experienced one, the dedicated one, the achiever in the family, the one I’d like to be a little bit like, so yes I am proud of her and yes there is sibling rivalry but like all good sisters she winds me up, only occasionally, though, just in case she’s reading this). So with the children in tow, we meet her at Whinlatter Forest, we’re going Gruffalo hunting, great walk for the children and for me to blow some cobwebs away, and we are almost on time, a huge sigh of relief breathed, she hates it when I’m late.
‘Hey Sis’, I say, full of the joys of spring, or deep like the reverie of autumn, ‘my training’s back on track, even managed a long run yesterday, no strapping, just good stretching and sensible running, I even took an ice bath after’. The reply is less than encouraging, a knowing ‘Hmm’. I continue undeterred ‘By the way, you’ve done your training badges, you read Runners World and the like, how long are you supposed to be in an ice bath for any way?’ With some confidence (like she knows) ‘oh, anything up to about 20 minutes’. Bloody idiot!
Now who thinks his training is still on track?