I have been regularly taking ice baths for the past eight months, mainly during the summer, and I've started to notice some patterns.
A bath for up to five minutes helps me relieve muscle inflammation and improve my recovery time. It's not surprising since the cold water constricts my blood vessels, which reduces blood flow to my muscles and helps to reduce inflammation and pain caused by DOMS. Ice bath is also believed to flush out waste products and lactic acid that build up in muscles during exercise, which further aids in muscle recovery.
Between 5 to 10 minutes, I experience not only the physical effects but also a noticeable improvement in my mood, focus, and alertness. I can feel the release of endorphins, and I'm ready for immediate action after drying myself off.
Anything over 10 minutes is a different story. The release of dopamine seems to spike, and a sense of deep calm and connection takes over. I need to sit or lie down in the sun for another 10 minutes before I can interact with others. I may even need to take a hot shower to pull myself back into the present moment. This experience is not like a soft reboot but a hard reset of my system. It's a strange feeling that I both enjoy and fear. For me, it's more of a meditative state.
I have noticed that somewhere between these stages, my physical sensations and inner voice fight back, urging me to get out before I go any deeper. I wonder how many stages there are and what it would feel like to be immersed for 30 minutes. It could feel like a hard mental and physical workout, and it would probably take a couple of hours to "come down." The more ice baths I do, the more interested I get in the science around it and experimenting with it.
If I could choose a superpower, it would be to possess the curiosity, ingenuity, and clarity of expression of the great physicist Richard Feynman. He had a unique ability to ask questions, explore and understand complex concepts, and explain them in simple terms.
Recently, my 8-year-old and I watched a video where Feynman explained his perception of fire. We were both captivated by his imagination, excitement, and ability to explain the complex process in a way that we could grasp.
I can only imagine what it would be like to have Feynman's remarkable ability to approach problems from multiple angles and think outside the box, applied to the intricacies of the mind and body connection for endurance running! The secrets it could unlock for endurance athletes would be groundbreaking!
Jokes aside, I always admired people who can get the point across straight, in a concise and clear way.
In a world where attention span is short, clear communication can be the difference between being heard and being ignored.
Seth Godin, a renowned author and entrepreneur, is known for his daily blog posts that inspire and motivate readers. Many wonder how he manages to produce high-quality content every single day without fail. The answer lies in his commitment to the practice.
Seth Godin views writing as a daily discipline, just like exercise or meditation. He has made a habit of writing every day for years, and it has become part of his routine. He doesn't wait for inspiration to strike; instead, he sits down and writes, even if he doesn't feel like it. This dedication has helped him to build a strong writing muscle that allows him to churn out posts effortlessly.
Of course, there is Seth and everybody else! Work, travel, and other disruptions threw me off my routine this week.
Setbacks may be part of the process, but it's so frustrating!
But also revealing as I missed my little writing and morning meditation routine. In truth, that surprised me and it's a sign that something is changing in me.
So this morning I purposely set the alarm 90 minutes earlier, to make space sure this short-term disruption doesn't turn into a long-term slump. I made some space for myself before the chaos of the weekend and it felt good.
So.. taking a few days off from the routine may be beneficial after all. Just like taking days off from running helps with recovery and getting the mojo back.
Today I moved out of the way and everything flowed in perfect harmony, with a feeling of love, peace and abundance permeating even the smallest of things.
Such a fulfilling feeling to carry a smile the whole day, being content with what we have, where we live, the air, the sun and the rain.
Happiness is the ultimate practice
No matter how dedicated I am to running, I sometimes fall short on different training aspects. Sometimes it's the intensity, variety, or specifics of my runs. Other times, it's strength work, maintenance, nutrition, hydration, or mental game, and the list goes on.
In the past few weeks, I got caught up in the rhythm of life, work, and my daily running routine, and I neglected the importance of regular stretching. As a result, my leg muscles became tight and inflexible, increasing my risk of injury and hindering my performance.
During today's run, my right ankle was literally stuck, with no mobility whatsoever, and I could feel my hamstring and calf muscles pulling. After an afternoon of playing with the kids at the beach, I now walk like a 90-year-old.
It's time to get back on track and add stretching to my routine. Although there's no consensus on a protocol, research suggests that a minimum of 2 minutes per muscle group, three times a week should be enough. That means I need to stretch my hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, glutes, hip flexors, IT band, lower back, and shoulders for a total of 40 minutes. Looks like I'll need a good Netflix series to keep me entertained during my stretching sessions. Any suggestions?