Should You Shower After And Before a Run? (Hot VS Cold Water)

There’s no way around it, running makes us sweat. Some of us sweat a lot (unfortunately, that would be me), while others might only slightly perspire. But all of us excrete some amount of liquid and minerals (aka sweat) during each and every running workout.

Sweating is a natural process that your body uses to cool itself down. Exercise and high temperatures cause your body to heat up.

Your body then responds with sweat. The primary benefit of sweating when you work out is that it can help prevent you from overheating.

Being able to regulate your temperature during exercise is critical, especially if you’re engaging in activities in heated rooms or outdoors in warm weather. It’s when we don’t sweat that we should be concerned, as that can put us at risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Some people like to associate sweating with being smelly. However, sweating itself is not always a malodorous function. What really stinks up the place is the bacteria that forms and thrives inside sweat-soaked clothing. Bacteria loves that type of warm, moisture-laden environment.

So should you shower after a run? Whenever possible one should take a shower after one goes for a run. Showering can not only rinse off the salty sweat residue, but it can also help to regulate the core body temperature. It is recommended to wait for a while before jumping in the shower. By cooling down for 20-25 minutes or so after the workout, one should be cooled down enough that one will be done sweating.


There’s nothing worse than getting out of the shower and then immediately starting to sweat again!

Should You Shower Before Running?

You might be wondering why in the world would you take a shower BEFORE you run?

It turns out that showering before exercise can help to loosen up your muscles, increase blood flow and wake you up in general. Another great reason to shower before running is to rinse off any residual salts or dirt that might have accumulated on you since you last cleaned up. If you go for a run without removing those first, you could be susceptible to chafing.

To me, chafing is the runner’s worse enemy. I’ll gladly do whatever it takes to avoid that painful skin irritation, including adding an additional shower into my day.

Another good reason you might want to take a shower before a workout is if you’ll be in a group setting.  It’s not easy to make a good impression if you haven’t showered in a while.

Personally, I like to shower before heading off to almost any organized athletic event. The pre-race shower helps me to be more physically and mentally awake. It also ensures that I won’t be the one that everyone is trying to avoid when we are packed inside the starting corral!

Is It Okay to Not Shower After a Workout?

It’s ok to skip showering after a run if you absolutely have to, but it’s definitely not recommended. By skipping the shower, you leave yourself at risk for rashes and other skin issues caused by lingering bacteria.

Sometimes we just don’t have time or access to showering facilities after a workout. If you are unable to take a shower, try to keep on hand a clean towel that you can use to wipe yourself down.

Another great tip is to buy a packages of baby wipes and stash them in your gym bag. These are an awesome way to do a quick cleanup when there’s no shower available.

After wiping down, take another minute to switch out your sweaty running clothes for fresh ones. Things like chafing, rashes and infections can all develop by wearing damp workout clothes all day long. By switching into dry clothes, there will be less of a moist habitat for bacteria to multiply and possibly cause skin issues.

Should I Take an Ice Bath After a Run?

Cold baths are great to reduce muscle inflammation as well as reducing soreness. The cold exposure will constrict blood vessels, which flushes out the lactic acid and other waste biproducts. [source]

Running causes stress on our muscles, especially when we run faster or further than we are used to. That stress makes our muscles inflamed and irritated.

Stepping into an ice-cold bath after a hard workout is a great way to bring down that inflammation and speed up the recovery process.

For the best results, plan on spending at least 5-10 minutes submerged in the bath. It will be uncomfortable when you first enter the water, but you’ll soon get over the shock. Plus, just think about how tough you will feel afterwards!

Also, check out our post “How Many Ice Baths a Week You Should Take? Does It Work & What To and Not To Do!

Is an Ice Bath or Hot Tub Better After Running?

Why not try both?! By alternating between hot and cold, you will get some of the best of both worlds.

Starting off in an ice-cold bath will reduce any inflamed muscles and will flush the bad stuff out of the way.

It will also quickly bring down your core body temperature.

Then when you switch to hot water, whether it be a hot tub or a shower, the blood vessels will open up and allow for fresh, oxygenated blood to flow freely.

This hot-cold alternating technique is known as a contrast bath. This practice could help to improve overall blood circulation throughout your body.

Contrast bath therapy treats many issues common to runners, including sore joints, muscle spasms, and even foot and ankle sprains. This treatment method is common with athletes from many different sports due to its effectiveness and low cost. [source]

Brad Birky

Brad Birky is an endurance athlete and trained chef who has qualified for and completed the Boston Marathon as well as multiple Ironman distance triathlons

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