If you’re feeling sluggish, dizzy, dealing with stomach cramps, or just paranoid that you’re going to leak through your activewear, it can totally ruin your run. You may not even want to go out at all.
Having your period shouldn’t ruin your fitness regime. And luckily, there are ways to handle running on your period.
Below we’ve shared some tips for how teens can go with the flow when it comes to combining running and periods.
It’s important to stay hydrated during exercise like running anyway. But it’s particularly important if you’re on your period.
Not drinking enough water can result in painful cramps and uncomfortable bloating. And if your body is pumping out sweat during your job, your tummy aches may get worse.
Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your run — you should definitely carry a water bottle with you. Occasional top-ups will replace the water your body uses during your run, as well as fight bloatedness and tackle cramped muscles.
As a runner, you’re probably pretty in tune with how to fuel your body before or during a run.
But alongside carb-loading for marathons or eating that routine banana on the morning of a big race, you need to think more holistically about your body’s needs when on your period.
Your body is going through a big upheaval and you could be losing a lot of blood a day (yay, being a woman.) You need to stay topped up with plenty of nutrients to keep your body strong.
This means eating plenty of fruit and veg in addition to your pre-run carbs. Eating the right stuff offers your body a good dose of vitamins and minerals to prep your muscles for exercise.
Plus, it fills you up with fiber so that you don’t have space for junk food or any other cravings post-run. Salty food in particular actually makes period symptoms like cramps worse, so stay away from those fries!
Find the right products for you
Finding the right period products for you will help you handle running on your period better.
Lots of girls and women prefer to use tampons when they are running, as they don’t feel as uncomfortable and aren’t as visible as pads. Nowadays, pads are designed to be super thin and move with your body, but they can sometimes stick and make you feel self-conscious, especially if you’re in running shorts or tight leggings.
Another alternative is Knixteen’s period panties, which completely remove the need for tampons and pads. These period-proof panties are designed to protect you from embarrassing leaks, cringey odors and moisture, so you don’t have to worry about the potential dramas of running on your period. Instead, all you have to focus on is winning the race!
If you’re feeling super paranoid about leaking when you’re running, remember that you can always switch to running tights in a darker color, just to put your mind at ease!
Get a good night’s sleep
There are a few different ways that you can prepare your body for a race if you’re planning on running while you’re on your period.
Firstly, get plenty of sleep the night before you run. Teenagers need to have more sleep than adults anyway (you’re doing a lot of growing!) and this is especially true if you’re on your period.
You should aim for between eight to 10 hours sleep the night before a competition — this will help you to feel prepared and fresh for your race the next day.
If you’re struggling with cramps and achiness, try taking a hot water bottle to bed to ease those aches.
Stretch before you start
Do not underestimate the importance of stretching before and after you exercise, particularly if you’re going for a run! And especially if you’re on your period.
Running — or any type of exercise — will help you feel better when you’re menstruating because it reduces your stress levels and releases happy hormones. But you need to stretch first to get the full effects!
Stretches will help to warm up your body ready for your run, loosen up your muscles, and alleviate period cramps. Check out this post for period pain-easing stretches.
Want to go with the flow? Follow our advice on how you can handle running on your period as a teenager.
And remember: always listen to your body. If you’re feeling dizzy, drained or suffering from a particularly heavy flow, it’s okay to sit this one out. Exercise will usually help you feel better, but sometimes it’s fine to just save it for another day.