Week 2 of training, and feeling great. Oh, endorphins how I’ve missed you!
Here is the weekly training plan:
Monday: 20 min run + 2,050 yd swim
Tuesday: 30 min run + strength training + core workout
Wednesday: AM track workout + PM cycling
Thursday: 30 min run + strength training
Friday: 2,000 yd swim + core workout
Saturday: Bodypump class + cycling workout + 1,700 yd swim
Sunday: 50 min run
After a hard workout I love to treat myself to a sauna at the local Y. I was raised by Finlanders, and in my family the sauna is practically sacred. The Finnish invented the sauna, they consider it the holiest room in the house. Now, the first thing you must learn is how to correctly pronounce the word sauna, the Finnish way. It’s not pronounced “saw-na.” In my family and in Finland, it’s called a “sow-na.” Say it wrong and my grandmother will politely correct you, and then proceed to start up a friendly chat that could quite possibly last the rest of the day. She is blessed with the gift of gab.
I pretty much grew up in the sauna, it’s in my DNA. My parent’s shower is actually a sauna, and my grandparents had the same in their home. Every summer my family spends a week at the Finlandia beach club (you need to be Finnish to be a member), and it’s my favorite week of the entire year. The lake is cold, but the wood-burning saunas are HOT.
This being said, I have some pet peeves when it comes to the people that use the sauna at the Y. I need to get these off my chest. As you read my pet peeves, you may realize that you do this yourself. It’s ok, I still like you and you weren’t raised as I was so I’m willing to overlook it. Just know that I am mildly irritated when it happens.
- I have no problem with nudity in the sauna, but don’t lay on the bench with your legs propped up on the wall. No one wants to see that.
- The sauna is not supposed to be warm, it’s supposed to be hot so that you sweat. To increase the temperature you pour water over the hot stones to produce steam and increase the heat in the room. So don’t give me dirty looks when I pour half a bucket of water onto the hot stones.
- The sauna is not meant to warm your towel as you shower.
- The sauna is not meant as a place for you to put lotion on after you shower.
- Don’t stand in the doorway letting all the heat out while you finish up your conversation with someone that isn’t planning on sitting in the sauna.
There isn’t a lot of research showing the benefits of the sauna for athletes. A 2007 study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports reviewed male distance runners and use of the sauna post-workout. Those that used the sauna had an increase in plasma and blood volume and were able to increase their run time to exhaustion by 32%. The study concluded that 3 weeks of post-workout sauna bathing produced a worthwhile enhancement of endurance running performance.
There’s definitely a need for more research to further support the benefits of the sauna. Regardless, I just enjoy the relaxation factor. Life can be stressful and busy, it’s nice to take 15 minutes to yourself. For me, it makes me feel like I’m home. Be aware of the risk for dehydration, so limit sauna use to 15-20 minutes. Make sure to hydrate well afterwards to replenish sweat losses.
T-236 days until Ironman Wisconsin