Marathoners’ Torture #1: 10-step guide for bathing in ice.

Running is torture on feet, so is wearing high-heeled shoes at work all day. I’ve been through months of recovery for plantar fasciitis and am determined not to go there again, but equally determined to keep running and to wear pretty shoes. I’m my podiatrist’s nightmare.

Here is my 10-step evening ritual designed to keep me on my feet.
What you’ll need:

  • hot tea,
  • your favourite comfy chair and blanket,
  • a fluffy towel,
  • your favourite TV show (or your mobile device or laptop),
  • a basin,
  • two trays of ice cubes,
  • a watch or timer,
  • fortitude.
  • Optional: a glass of wine, scotch or tequila.

What you’ll do:

  1. Make tea and have it ready next to your comfy chair, blanket and timer.
  2. Turn on your favourite TV show. Make sure it’s something absorbing like Battlestar Galactica or Dexter. Alternatively, get out your mobile device or laptop and log in to Twitter.
  3. Fill the basin only to about 3-5 centimetres (1 to 1-and-a-half inches) of cold water.
  4. Place basin, trays of ice cubes next to comfy chair.
  5. Sit with feet bare and blanket over legs. Set stopwatch or timer for about 6 minutes. (You might want to start out with 2 or 3 minutes).
  6. Take a deep breath.
  7. Plunge feet into cold water.
  8. Immediately dump the two trays of ice cubes into the water around your feet. Try not to howl, it will scare your family and pets.
  9. Keep breathing! Keep your feet in there! Google your exes, Tweet your pain, fantasize about Michael C. Hall – but stay with it!
  10. When your timer goes off, you may gratefully and with much drama take your feet out of the water and wrap them in the towel.
  11. Optional: enjoy your wine, scotch or tequila.


  • Do daily for injury prevention
  • To be enjoyed with a regular regimen of stretching and strength training.
  • Modification: do this with your legs in the bathtub (and more ice) after a 2+ hour training run or a race. Some races provide ice water barrels to jump in afterwards.

I’m not gonna lie to you, this is painful, but then so is running a marathon with injured feet. Embrace the suck. Besides, it feels so damn good when you take your feet out of that damn ice!

(With thanks to Duane Banman, the massage therapist who urged me to adopt this practice. His lair is otherwise known to marathoners and triathletes in Regina, SK as “Duane’s House of Pain.”)


2 thoughts on “Marathoners’ Torture #1: 10-step guide for bathing in ice.

  1. LF

    Wow – as if running a marathon wasn’t intense enough! I think I will try it Friday night with the new BSG and a gin & tonic, but I might skip the ice part 🙂

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