It hits us once a month – but what happens when in coincides with a big race! I mean it’s already tough on us once a month but happening on race day is just disastrous. Take a look at Mary Keitany. During the New York City Marathon, she lost to Flannegan. Her agent later confirmed that her period had just came that morning for the first time in 3 months, leaving her with low energy levels.
However, it’s not all cons with our period. Back in the day, Paula Radcliffe suffered period cramps yet went on to break the World Record in Chicago.
Understanding Your Hormones
During your period, progesterone and oestrogen are at it’s lowest. In other words, this makes you more neutral, and more manly biologically so to speak. It is during this time that your body is better able to convert carbs into energy. However, before your period and the hours when it just hits you, your uterus produces a compound called prostaglandins. This compound induces your uterus to contract to push the endometrial lining out. So, the hormonal advantage is unfortunately shadowed by the horrible cramps.
What To Do?
Photo Credits: Kidspot
Should you wake up with period cramps, use a hot pack to aid with blood circulation. Do a light warm up to raise your core temperature. This helps your body break down the inflammatory compounds and also produce pain-killing endorphins to make you feel better. You can take painkillers as well such as Ponstan however, you should always try them beforehand because you never know how something new may affect you on race day. Also, fluid intake is more significant during your period. You are losing blood, which is in effect fluids. This puts you at a higher risk of dehydration. Pay attention to hydration and eating more iron-rich food during this period.
After Your Period – Does It Make You A Better Runner?
After your period ends, oestrogen levels are on the rise. Your body tends to use fat instead of carbohydrates to produce energy. This means carbo-loading is of little effect. After you ovulate, progesterone levels are on the rise which tends to give you the moods swings and the bloated feeling. The spike in your hormones actually make you an inefficient runner, so to speak. Your body tends to retain more water and causes a delay in sweat response, making it easier for your body to overheat in a race.
So, honestly speaking, apart from the cramps, the best time for you to race – is during your period!