Exercise and Fitness

Listen to Your Body – Also on Sundays

It’s a sunny and springlike – but yeah, still chilly – Sunday afternoon here in the Nordic latitudes. Sundays are generally seen as days in which we athletes “take it easy”, but for me the day doesn’t differ from any other weekday. Frankly, it’s quite the opposite as I’ve always felt that Sundays are often the best days to utilize in terms of trainings, works and being efficient altogether. Now don’t get me wrong, one has to rest and recover as well, naturally, but in my mind it shouldn’t be the calendar that defines when one’s physical, psychological, social, et cetera, charge reaches limits. Not if you’re determined to seek your full potential!


I was surprised by my high stress levels during the measurement since I can’t think of a specific reason for that. There were no external stressors like flu or alcohol involved so I’m guessing the reason was the poor sleep during the previous night due to the baby crying combined with the intensive training on the last few days. The high stress levels were a complete surprise to me since I was feeling pretty good. Based on the measurement results I changed my training schedule a bit so that I could do a more light intensity exercise the next day. After that I started to recover and train better. Without the measurement I would have probably continued with too high stress levels for a too long time.


Sunday: Stress and recovery analysis revealed relatively high stress levels.

I see myself as dual-careerist. On the one hand I am working as a full-time doctoral researcher. It’s a job that perfectly illustrates a post-modern 21st century knowledge-intensive and abstract work: it’s not dependent on any given time or physical place. Some say the vagueness makes such jobs stressful. On the other hand, I am training hard and aiming high in one of the most demanding Olympic sports – decathlon. This is a combination that’s surely rewarding at multiple levels, but yet, gosh, so demanding.


Moreover, to spice up the soup, above all this I am primarily a husband and a father. Hence I simply can’t afford to be restricted by the calendar when making my schedule with trainings and works (the family life is of course always there despite the moment in time). This is why I need to thoroughly and consistently listen to my body when deciding the daily program. However, in addition to such subjective feelings, I’ve come to realize that getting objective data about my recovery is a tool always worth benefiting!

I consider myself not only privileged being able to use Firstbeat’s devices in monitoring and evaluating my physical and psychological charge, but also lucky as I was first introduced to this technology already 10 years ago. Back in early 2005, despite being an overly eager 17-year-old junior athlete, I was already interested in analysing and seeing how my feelings correlate with the numeric data.

Today I realize that it’s not only interest I feel towards the technology, but also deep trust. After all, I currently feel my life being in a pleasant balance where dreams have become goals, goals have become achievements, and achievements have become seeds for new goals. And all this without looking at the calendar.

Wishing enjoyable spring days to you all!


Sami Itani
Jyväskylän Kenttäurheilijat

The writer is a 28-year-old Finnish decathlete that represents the track and field club Jyväskylän Kenttäurheilijat. He is a multiple Finnish champion in decathlon and has also had international success on his career. His personal best is 7731 points. Sami Itani is currently working as a full-time doctoral researcher in economic sciences at Aalto University. Sami Itani is also a husband and a father. 

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