We see tons of runners out on the trails by our business, completing their long and short runs in preparation for the impending marathon. And, we know that people typically complete their long run over the weekend, which is why we’re hosting our Run.Stop.Soak. Event on a Monday evening.
Why, you ask? Well, because timing is everything when it comes to hot tub relief after strenuous exercise.
Studies have shown that when your heart is back to beating at its normal rate and you’ve stopped sweating, a session in the hot tub can lower your pain and increase your range of motion. However, when it comes to more rigorous training (like running longer distances), you’ll need to plan the right times for the tub to gain the maximum benefits.
Now, we know that everyone has their own routine, but here’s one schedule that seems to work for a lot of folks:
So, remember, ice first, hot tub later. The effects of any soreness or injury, including the impact on your body from a strenuous run or exercise, calls for cold first – ice, chilled water, or a cold compress – followed by relaxing dip in the hot tub a few days later.
- Before. A short, pre-exercise soak in a hot tub has the ability to make your run more pleasant, especially on a cold day, because it will increase the blood flow to your legs. Remember, though, that you’ve already begun to sweat from the moment your started to soak, so make sure to stay hydrated.
- Immediately After. While hopping in a hot tub right after your long run may sound like a great idea, this is the time to play it cool. By applying ice or cold water (think: ice bath) you will limit blood flow to your sore, inflamed muscles, allowing them to feel better, faster. At this point, heat would only help to prolong the inflammation AND make you to continue to sweat which would be of no assistance in your rehydration efforts.
- Later On. You’ll get maximum benefits from the hot tub by soaking 36 to 48 hours after your run. By this point in time the inflammation will have gone by the wayside (or will be greatly reduced) and the increased blood flow will stimulate healing for your damaged muscles. Plus, you’ll get all the other added benefits of hot tubbing, like some uber-relaxing time to yourself!