This past week I decided, kind of last minute, to head to a suburb and run a 5K to help support my running club. However, I also had to run 8 miles that day so the 5K would just be a part of my run.
And then I caught a cold. And a few days later I got my period.
Yes, we’re going to talk about periods. Feel free to skip this post if that weirds you out.
I took an extra rest day on Friday but my run on Saturday morning was, in a word, miserable. I did a two mile warm-up and was already dripping sweat. The 5K race started and I could barely hold an 8:00 minute pace. After the race I grabbed a water bottle from the finish line, turned around, and ran the course again to get in the rest of my 8 miles. I was struggling to keep a 9 minute pace when just the week before I breezed through a 7 mile run at a sub-9:00 pace.
Smiling even though I felt like death
I’ve always been curious about how hormones affect running and fitness because, anecdotally, I feel much stronger and faster the week or two before my period than I do the week of or even the few days before.
Turns out there might be something to that. If it’s been awhile since you’ve taken female anatomy, the menstrual cycle comes with ups and downs of estrogen and progesterone. Apparently estrogen is a “runner friendly” hormone and you feel better when estrogen is high. So, basically, days 10-20 or so of your cycle depending on the woman.
Progesterone is not as friendly and it also affects your body temperature set point as well as your breathing. This means you won’t start sweating until your body reaches a higher temperature and you might feel winded more easily. Kind of a problem when it’s hot or humid. So, running and working out is harder during days 20-28 or so.
Guess when my past two 5K races fell? Yep, during days 20-28. And it was humid at each race. BLARGH.
Guess when my marathon is scheduled to happen? During days 20-28. Also BLARGH.
Being a woman is so much fun, am I right?
- Monday 10/24 – 3.5 mile run + lower body strength workout
- Tuesday 10/25 – Upper body strength workout + 4 mile run
- Wednesday 10/26 – Rest
- Thursday 10/27 – Lower body strength workout + 5 mile run
- Friday – Rest
- Saturday – 8 mile run
- Sunday – Rest