Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Steam Steam & more Steam

Today I had an interesting thought...Why not replace an easy workout in the pool and maybe some ab work with something completely new. Steam bath cycles, a little research got me here.
Previously I had tried the steam shower at the Baxter YMCA for a mere 2 minutes and it was pretty humid and very difficult to breath, but i was sweating buckets. I thought perhaps this has some great benefits that I have been missing out on. I would think from so much sweating that you would release lots of toxins which can't be a bad thing. Let's see what the web has to say about steam.

Between 1894 and 1986, at the
University of Munich’s Institute of Medical Balneology and Climatology a comprehensive series of comparative tests were conducted to determine the effects of the sauna, steam room and whirlpool bath. Studies showed that the steam room helped with Bronchial asthma, bronchitis, catarrh of the upper respiratory tract, coughs, hoarseness, expectoration, non-acute rheumatic complaints and restricted or painful movements of the joints. The steam room is also beneficial for people suffering from Sleeping disorders, poor skin circulation, dry, chapped skin, muscular tension, muscular weakness in the subcutaneous blood vessels, and sensitivity to sudden changes of temperature.
Another great advantage of the steam bath is in its highly beneficial effect on the skin. The moist heat stimulates the subcutaneous
blood flow and cleanses the skin intensively, opening the pores, removing dead skin and impurities and leaving the skin feeling soft, clean and smooth."

After reading up on this a bit, one key word stood out for me, asthma. I have had asthma since I have in 2nd grade and have had some fits with it at odd times. If this steam room can have a positive on my breathing that has troubled me for years why not give it a try? Blood circulation is also increased while using the steam room which influences recovery of the muscle quicker. Many people seem to use this after a workout to relax and just drain their pores. I on the other hand did some research and found where some people did "cycles" of the steam room and basically used this as a workout.

Here goes nothing, I set my intervals for 15 minutes and 4 minutes. Goal is to do 2 cycles of the steam shower followed up with a sauna nap for 10 minutes. Within 30 seconds in the sauna I am soaking wet, it is just ridiculously hot. Just relax and keep still. Time appears to be standing still after a few minutes. Not sure if it was just cranked up or what but 2 sets of people came in and left while i was still holding out. After 12 minutes I started to feel pretty odd and knew i needed to jump the gun and get out, so i stumbled to the exit. Skin blood shot red, dripping w/sweat and my hair feeling like its on fire, i walk to get some water.
Upon arriving back to the steam area, i decide i will jump in the sauna for 5 minutes first. it feels like room temperature in there, my lungs were on fire in the steam room. Steam room it is after a few minutes. I remember my leg shaking because i was ansty and i could feel and hear my heart racing while trying to man up and do at least 10 minutes of this torture. I felt as if I had done a speed workout honestly, it reminded me of duathlon nationals when it was 95 and i was trying to finish the 5k, i was having nightmares while still being awake. 6 minutes come on man, just relax, " is it better to breath short breaths or take long slow breaths, oh man i am starting to panic. 7 minutes, holy moly, i can't do this, just one more minute chris come on 7minutes and 30 seconds i am getting and disorientated, "it's time to leave". I literally fall through the door holding on to the handle just anxious to feel the cool air.
wow, so how did i feel, completely drained for one...that's a given i guess with the extreme sweating. i weighed my self before and after

-162 before
-162 after (is this possible?

For some reason I thought it would still be a good idea to attempt my last speed workout before duathlon worlds after this day. My rare shakeout 5:40am run, then this new detoxification death match at lunch time, now a difficult workout that i would need to bring my A game and focus for. Long story short, my workout consisted of:

2 miles at 10:30 pace

1000k @ 3:07

800m @ 2:12 or below...

I felt pretty miserable from my first mile on, i would call this a progressive speed workout since the pace gets faster but i felt like i was going the other way for sure. Strides was all over the place and choppy, Alana Hadley and her dad were out at the track running as well, she inspires me just to be happy that I get to run in general. It only got worse and i hit my 1st 2 goals with the last 3 a bit short. the last 800m was not even attempted, i knew when to quit. Looking back, i should have drank much more water as well as had an endurolyte which mark recommended, how can i be so stupid not to think about that.

All in all the steam room idea worked good, I think i may shoot for a different cycle early next week, with sauna and steam room. my muscles actually felt ok as a positive note, my one calf seemed to cramp a little but noting crazy, we will see how i feel tomorrow and the next day is the most important thing.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting topic. I have never thought about using steam workout to easy recovery. With the amount of workouts, I may try it but not this week. Maybe next week when I don't have a GP race.