I’ve been running for over 20 years and to be honest I’m still on the fence whether you should go in the bat before running. Personally, I think it’s ok to go in the bath before a run but I would never go in the bath just before a race.
Why it’s ok to have a bath before going for a run
Going for a run with mates, by yourself, or with your partner is not normally at full race pace and you’ll probably find yourself regularly running slower than your race pace and at more of a jogging pace.
This is why I say it’s ok to go in the bath beforehand because it’s a lot more low key and it’s just a run-out. You’re not competing and a bath before running can loosen muscles and generally freshen you up.
However, as daft as it sounds, you’ll probably need a bath afterward anyway, so, on the other hand, I can understand why you wouldn’t want a bath before a run. Unless you take a shower when you get back.
What I do tend to find is when I have a bath before a run, it tends to take the edge off me and make me feel a little falt. I’m sure you’ve felt like this in the past, where you don’t feel that ‘springy’, you feel ok but that energy seems to have gone.
I think this is because of the amount of sweating that you have done with the heat from the bathwater. This kind of leads me onto why I don’t have a bath before a running race too.
Why don’t I have a Bath Before a Running Race?
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a 5k or a half marathon, I never have a bath before race day. As mentioned above, the heat of the water seems to sweat the energy out of me and makes me feel lethargic.
I do have a shower though and I find that I definitely do not feel the same as what I would of done if I’d of had a bath. It seems a little odd but whether that’s just me or not I don’t know.
Personally, I would test this for yourself, try taking a bath before a lower key race like a park run. Park runs are great because you can go as hard or as easy as you feel (and they’re free).
Only then will you know whether to bathe before a race. Alternatively, it may be worth testing out an electrolyte drink after your bath to see if that can re-invigorate you after losing sweat and obviously the salts too.