During those years of my serious training and racing days, I really dreaded the time of month. I’ve always been one of the unfortunate women whose period affected my running in a negative way. In my younger days I was a stubborn and not-so-smart runner who stuck to my training / racing plans no matter what physical condition I was in. Over the years I have learned that it was not earth shattering to adjust / modify your training if I was not up to the workouts. My unpleasant menstrual symptoms included; upset stomach, bloating, muscle pains, back pains, headaches, and severe fatigue. Here I have a few tips which helped me to get through the unpleasant 5-6 days each month.
1, It’s more important to listen to your body than sticking to your training plan
When I was running a lot of marathons and training for them, inevitably the time of month would interrupt one or two of my key workouts a month such as a weekly long run or speed work. Consistency is the key. As long as your training as a whole is consistent for a few month, skipping those key workouts just for a week is not going to affect your overall fitness. Switch to short and easy runs instead on those days.
2, Don’t be too stubborn to take remedies
As much as I don’t like to rely on medication, it is one time in a month that I take aspirin. I start taking them a few days before to help with muscle pain and bloating. I also take natural remedies like ginger and turmeric to help with inflammation. Ginger can be cooked with your food or made into tea. Turmeric tea and other herbal teas helps with cramps.
3, Eat a balanced diet regularly
Eating a balanced, whole food based diet low in animal fat and protein helps ease menstrual symptoms. Animal fats and proteins are not good for balancing hormones. I cut out all animal products during the time of month. Eat foods that are rich in iron such as beans and green leafy vegetables to combat fatigue from blood loss. Maca root is good for balancing hormones.
4, Get a lot of sleep
Sleep is very important especially if you are a runner. When you are resting, all the training is being absorbed. Since you are more tired during the time of month, you need more rest naturally. Instead of being frustrated about disruption from routine, think of this time as a small break from training.