An uncomfortable subject for most men and some women, however I’ve been asked about this a few times recently so here are some facts……
In 1996, when Uta Pippig won the Boston marathon, for the third time, she had blood pouring down her leg as she crossed the finish line and it wasn’t a scraped knee. Her performance clearly wasn’t adversely affected by her period as she won it in 2:27:12.
Your menstrual cycle can be broken down into two halves. The first half is called the follicular phase, when you have your period and build up to ovulation on average day 14. The second half, called the luteal phase when the lining of the womb builds up preparing for pregnancy.
For most women, their best training time is in the follicular phase, when oestrogen levels start low and gradually rise. Body temperature is lower and glycogen is broken down quickly, to release energy. This is a good time for shorter, high-intensity workouts and races.
I consider myself very lucky and have never experienced any adverse effects from my menstrual cycle and can’t say I’ve ever noticed any changes to my performance whether it be endurance or strength training. I will be looking out for signs though knowing more about the impact it can have.