Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Incorporating the sauna into my heat acclimatisation routine

Good morning people.  Last night I went for a little wander and found that the hotel down the road has a sauna.  I have decided each day to go to the hotel and take a sauna after I have completed my 100 minutes of running in the heat.  Why on earth would I do that you may be asking.  Is 100 minutes of running in the midday heat not enough?  Well I want to be sure that I am properly heat acclimatised, and as I mentioned it has not always been that hot here since I arrived.  Despite being in the desert, there are often clouds and occasional rain showers.  I would find it tough if the temperature suddenly rockets once the race starts, and all I have experienced before that are mediocre temperatures (30C so far).

The sauna is not the ideal way to acclimatise for running in the desert, but combining it with my runs on the actual terrain and in the actual solar conditions I will experience during the race, and I am guaranteed to acclimatise well.  30 minutes of sauna time should be sufficient and I can do some stretching whilst I am in there.  Most of my UK compatriots are using either saunas or Bikram yoga to acclimatise. The richer ones may be able to afford sessions in a heat chamber at Silverstone, but for that price they could also have had a weekend in Egypt or Morocco running in the desert.  There are also some who choose to acclimatise by dressing up like the Michelin man before going out to run.  Some may even be lucky enough to get away without heat acclimatising beforehand, but a sensitive soul like me who gets headaches very easily needs to do some careful preparation to avoid feeling like crap throughout the whole race.


  1. Sauna would definitely relax your muscles from 100 minutes of running. :) It's important to get rid of cramps and knots in the muscles, which would have been painful and difficult to cope with, otherwise. By the way, with regular sauna bathing, the heart becomes accustomed to temperature changes, making it good for acclimatizing to the desert weather.

  2. Hi Neil. The sauna training definitely helped me to prepare for the heat of the Sahara, as I did not find the heat a problem at all in the Marathon des Sables 2012. The terrain and my feet were problems yes, but the heat no.

  3. I'm wondering if anyone ever found out anything about these. I have one as well but come up short researching it.