Confession: Secretly, I didn’t mind my ovarian issues because it meant running sans period for over 5 years!
Yes, it’s horrible and awful that I went through some crazy kind of menopause at 30….
But suddenly I no longer had to think about all the female crap that interrupted my running! The fatigue, the cramps, the moodiness, you know the infamous PMS.
Well as I noted a few months ago, suddenly after 5 years my period returned. And oh baby it came back in full force…which lead me to realize I haven’t talked about this ever on the blog!
My life is my work and you’re welcome.
Period Effects on Running
Have you ever wondered if your great run or really crap one, could be directly related to your cycle?
First let’s set aside that you can’t perform well on your period. In fact, you might be at your peak the day you start or shortly there after. Case in point, Paula Radcliffe set her first marathon world record on her period.
Let’s look at the cycle and what might cause that:
The two key hormones are estrogen and progesterone. Following the onset of menstruation, both hormones remain low for most of the first (follicular) menstrual phase, until a sharp spike in estrogen that precedes ovulation. During the second (luteal) menstrual phase, both hormones rise and progesterone takes over from estrogen as the dominant one. — Alex Hutchinson, Sweat Science
I can run forever!
Estrogen is highest right around the mid-point of your cycle and can give you a boost in distance running because the body begins utilizing more fat than carbs for energy.
Is it hot in here?
Progestorone is highest in the middle of your cycle, which raises your body temperature. I feel like this explains my night sweats, but more importantly explains why sometimes you feel like you’re overheating on a run! The hotter you feel, the higher your heart rate goes and usually the harder the effort will feel.Who stole my oxygen?
As your hormones continue to increase, during the last two weeks of your cycle, it may become harder to breathe. Your phrenic nerve, located in the neck, becomes activated and this triggers the diaphram thus speeding up your breathing.
Are there cement blocks on my feet?
“Progesterone stimulates ventilation independent of the intensity of the run, which can increase the perception of effort since runners typically link their perception of effort to how much they’re breathing,” according to Dr. Jason Karp. So plan your easiest workouts in the couple of days prior to starting your period.
Dr. Jason Karp dives more in to all the things women runners need to know around their hormones in Running for Women, definitely check it out!Your cycle could be behind both your GREAT and your AWFUL runs, find out more! #runchat #letstalkpms Click To Tweet
Running on your period doesn’t have to be the worst. I found a few tips and tricks that help tremendously with the mood, aches, pains and everything in between.
Natural PMS Remedies
It’s happened to all of us at some point. We have a run planned, but find ourselves curled up in the fetal position instead pondering how we’ll ever move again, let alone run.
The good news is that there are a number of natural PMS relief tools you can implement to keep running because as we know consistency is a key to results!
Umm yes counter to what I just said about moving, you also need to not move more! Your body is doing extra work and requires extra sleep during this time. Checkout my tips for natural sleep aids, if this time of the month happens to throw you off.
I know it sounds horrific, but it’s true the movement actually helps muscles to relax. It makes sense, movement increases blood flow throughout the body, which brings in oxygen to reduce cramps. It can indeed also simply work as a distraction…play the I will just go for 5 minutes game and then see how you feel.
I love a hot soak, checkout this recipe for a homemade detox bath. It’s a great way to relax your muscles, help with fluid retention and ya know…sweat it out. I’m not sure that helps with PMS, but the relaxing sure does. Additionally, the magnesium, will get things flowing so if you’re feeling constipated this a go to.
I wrote in depth about how runners need magnesium, but it becomes even more important during this time. As noted above, it both helps to ensure your relaxed, reduced cramps and helps with getting the bowels moving. Sorry, I know that’s not the most glamours thing to talk about.
Find all my tips and recommendations here for magnesium and how much athletes need >>
What helps with PMS mood swings??
Honestly, I’ve never found anything that worked as quickly for me as the natural product called Jayde. Which is no longer in production and I legit emailed the company repeatedly asking if it would come back or if they had other recommendations.
However, it’s pretty easy to replicate and I have indeed done it:
- Turmeric pills – my go to for all things anti-inflammatory
- Digestive Enzyme – yup, it helps your stomach
- Boswellia extract – an anti-inflammatory often used for cramps
Of course one of the keys for me is that it’s a natural herbal remedy.
I’ve found that NSAIDs or other anti-inflammatory drugs make me feel sleepy, lethargic or of course as a runner are bad for your kidneys to take prior running. None of that happens here, I just feel better!
The right foods can absolutely help with PMS! Of course we’re all craving chocolate and that’s just fine, but if you can fill up with a few other things you’ll help mitigate things! The goal is to go higher in iron and B vitamins.
- Lemon water
Here’s a fun smoothie recipe putting it all together >>Essential Oils
Yup, I’m totally a fan of essential oils now and I’ve shared before how you can use essential oils to improve athletic performance, but here we’re talking about relief!!!
Lavender and peppermint have the biggest boost to help both with mood, cramps and headaches. Combine to dab on your neck or sniff on the wrist.8 Natural PMS Remedies to kick cramps, moodiness, headaches and more! #letstalkpms Click To Tweet
Just like putting a hot compress on the neck helps you to relax, sipping hot tea can also work towards relaxing the entire body. Ginger tea will help with stomach pains, Chamomile helps with relaxation and peppermint is also known for digestion/relaxation.
Do you notice changes in your training around your cycle?
Do you have any natural remedies to share?
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