Hot, cold, hot, cold

I had a VO2max workout this morning on the track, running fast miles. The first felt good, the second felt horrible, and so it continued downward (but I maintained my times). My warm down was a 1600m shuffle, not a run. It was a good workout and one of the toughest I have to do, so I only do about one a month as it destroys my legs. If I did it every week I’d soon quit running.
The point of this post is in linking back to Alan Couzens’ article on serious recovery again. As recommended by Alan and by Gareth Davies, the guy in the Swansea University Sports Village who for want of a better description, looks after my legs, I used a hot shower – cold shower cycle to warm and chill my exhausted muscles after the run. The aim, you’ll remember, is to use alternating vasodilation and vasoconstriction to aid pumping the fluid stuck within the muscles back into the systemic circulation. It makes your legs go an interesting pink colour too.
It felt pretty good. You can certainly tell when you’ve warmed up your legs properly as when you stick them under the cold tap a swearword will appear from nowhere. The muscles cool quickly though and its quite comfortable. After five or so cycles I was done. Walking (very, very slowly) back to my office my legs felt, er, “clean”. It’s difficult to describe. Fresh is definitely the wrong word, but they didn’t feel heavy, fat or stiff. They were tired, but they felt good. I’ll see if I can get a stock of ice in for the Tewkesbury half-marathon in 10 days’ time.