ice bath or compression tights?

by srphotos   April 1, 2012  

what is you preference?

doing a major endurance ride in about 5 weeks and need to go with one of the above

6 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

May be a silly question... but why nit both?

posted by ALIHISGREAT [110 posts]
1st April 2012 - 23:57

like this
Like (0)

Can I ask why you *need* to go with either?
What is the nature of the endurance ride - 1 long day/days; Multiple days...?

There is no compelling evidence that ice baths gave any physiological benefit. Yes they reduce acute pain, but contrary to the anecdotal protestations of many people, they don't 'enhance' recovery.
There *is* good evidence that if you do use an Ice Bath for too long and too cold that you'll actually cause damage at a cellular level - but it won't hurt!! Wink

Compression garments? An excellent way to make your wallet lighter - but I'm not sure that will help much.

A body that has been 'strafed' needs looking after and treating with care.
Muscular healing happens when you increase blood flow to them, so unless there is an acute injury, set your 'Ice' bath at 38-40°C and luxuriate in it. Muscles will relax, blood will flow and you'll be able to ensure you have a full range of movement in them when you get out.

You will of course have many people telling you that Ice baths and compression garments 'work' for them, and as many opinions as there are posters.

Ultimately - you have to decide for yourself what works for you!

Oh - and yes - I have used both ice baths and compression garments in the past, and Endurance events are my thing!! Smile

.....aspiring to mediocrity Big Grin

Mr_eL_Bee's picture

posted by Mr_eL_Bee [67 posts]
2nd April 2012 - 10:50

like this
Like (1)

The nature of my ride is that I'm a participant in the Athens to London DallaglioFlintoff cycleslam raising money for Cancer Research UK along with Great Ormond St & Virgin Unite.

I would mostly describe myself as a commuter cyclist (although training rides at the moment are approaching 60 miles) so doing stage 5 of the ride (se France to London) covering 578Km in 4 days definately falls under endurance ride to me.

Having never done anything in this scale before I'm looking at all the options available to make the ride easier (I know nothing going to make it easier, but of I can lesson the pain)

When you say using an ice bath for too long, how long is too long?

I understand what you're saying about both ice baths & compression, but is the thought behind both not to draw the blood flow to the core of the muscle and regenerate from there? (I don't know if this is the case or not, just seeking clarification)

BTW, if you feel generous and compelled to sponsor me you can do so here

posted by srphotos [17 posts]
2nd April 2012 - 12:16

like this
Like (0)

At the level of intensity that you'll be riding there is going to be minimal if any micro-trauma to your legs. Yes they'll get tired and the cumulative effect of fatigue will have some significance, and as they say on the site the MAIN issue is in recovery.
Remember that it takes 24-48 hours for recovery strategies to 'work' - so you need a rolling recovery strategy that includes recovery type drinks and food *while* you are riding. Waiting until the end of the day is too late - you will have riddden two more days before it kicks in and you'll always be playing catch up. Interestingly the best way to get this is through your drinks - ideally ones that DON'T have artificial sweeteners as they absorb poorly and reduce the bio-availability of the nutrients and electryolytes in them - and with calorie-dense foods with protein added to keep your mouth and stomach from getting bored!

Micro-recovery while on the bike as and when you can and resting as much as possible at the end of each day will help too. As I say, a warm bath, and a gentle massage and a few exercises to maintain a full Range of Movement after a long day is simple, and works!

It's very easy to over-complicate things - especially when you have conflicting advice and suggestions.

Consider this though. When you put your legs in icy water for 7-10 minutes (the first 5 are the worst and your feet will HURT, then they equalise and after that it feels fine) they pretty much stop working when you get out, and if you stumble and overwork a cold muscle it WILL tear!! So unless you have the facility to transfer directly into a warmer bath to re-warm those legs......

Nice little anecdote for you: I participated in a 10 marathons in 10 days event in which the most uninjured runner was the one who avoided ice baths like the plague - there were a couple of fellas who started getting all competitive about the temperature and duration of their Ice Baths - 5°C for 20+ minutes - and their performances deteriorated as the event progressed.
As for me, I ran my fastest marathon on the last day!

I applied the same principle when I rode 10 Fred Whittons in 10 Days last year for charity, and got progressively quicker on average as the event progressed.

OK - so it's "anecdote" and not "evidence", but with any luck someone will pipe up and present a different viewpoint and allow you to draw your own conclusions.

Good luck with the event. Smile

.....aspiring to mediocrity Big Grin

Mr_eL_Bee's picture

posted by Mr_eL_Bee [67 posts]
2nd April 2012 - 14:41

like this
Like (0)

neither, have a beer. Big Grin

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1081 posts]
2nd April 2012 - 21:13

like this
Like (0)

Hope this helps.
Though a good few years ago now, my main quarry was the type of ride you are getting ready for and I have to agree with what has been mentioned above. On the 'compression' side of things, I experimented with all sorts of kit and the ones I found that did the best for me were tight(ish) but more sought for comfort. If the weather permitted I would always opt for todays base layer type tights and tops, tight yes but not as tight as today's compression labeled kit that can cost a lot. On 'mega rides' I could never substanciate the true compression fit but always did well in 'strechy' kit. After the ride it was always a good protien top up and hot bath,,,, never did me any harm and always felt great after. The next day I would kick off with a cool shower to wake me up though.
I agree with the information given above, it seems the same as we used some time ago and appears to work now as it did then.
I think a lot of the hype and some recommendations are based on multi-million £ sponsorship of top level athletes at the helm as in TDF etc. Us more 'mortal' beings have to do the best we can with what we have.
Try a nice warm bath after.
Regards

Trikeman. Wink

Grunt, puff, pant and groan goes the old man - but he gets there in the end. ;o)

trikeman's picture

posted by trikeman [357 posts]
2nd April 2012 - 22:02

like this
Like (0)