The environment of a race or competition can have a pretty big effect on performance - the difference in humidity, heat and wind at the competition’s location can throw off even the best athletes’ performance if they’re not prepared for the difference. The good news is recent studies show using saunas regularly can assist in preparing your body to acclimatise to the heat.
How Heat Affects the Body
Your body generates a lot of internal heat when you exercise. Your body needs to dissipate this heat, otherwise performance will decline due to the major rise in core temperature. An issue arises when the climate is also hot and humid - the external temperature makes it much more difficult for your body to cool itself down, especially if it’s not used to the extreme level of humidity. Heat acclimation training allows your body to get used to the warmer temperature prior to your race or event, meaning it shouldn’t affect you as severely on the day.
How Saunas Can Help
By regularly using saunas after your training, you can begin to prepare your body for the heat and humidity of a different environment -
Spend 15 to 30 minutes in a sauna immediately post-workout, without hydrating in the final 10-15 minutes of the workout.
Ensure the quality and intensity of your workout does not drop - continue under normal training conditions.
Do not hydrate whilst in the sauna - exit when you become uncomfortable (or at 30 minutes)
Gradually rehydrate over the next few hours
You should start to include this in your training around 3 weeks out from your event, and around 3 times a week at first. This can be increased to 4 times a week in the week leading up to the event if necessary.
Luckily for you, we have an infrared sauna right here at STAR! Book in for a session here to begin your heat adaptation training!