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Running on your period

Depending on which blog/article you read, there are any number of positives and negatives when it comes to running on your period.  We'll have a look at a few of each side of the argument here:

Running on your period

The 'for' group:

  • The first few days of your period means that your estrogen and progesterone levels drop.  These means that your biology is more similar to the male make-up.  Your core temperature lowers and you can hit higher intensity workouts for faster and longer periods. 
  • The endophins released when you run can be a natural painkiller.  So it may be that relief is felt during and after your run with that post-workout high if you find you're suffering.
  • Running whilst on your period can reduce bloating.
  • Running reduces stress and it's known that stress can intensify period cramps.  So if running helps to alleviate stress, then the incresed blood flow can help to ease cramping. 
  • Running can help to reduce your feelings of PMT.


The 'against' group:

  • Physiological changes in fluid, temperatue and fuel efficiency means that some women are more predisposed to overtraining and under-recovery for the two weeks surround the period.
  • There is a risk of bleeding heavily which might come through your clothes.  
  • If you're bleeding heavily the loss of blood might make you feel lethartic or light-headed, particularly if your on a long run or involved in a race situation.
  • If you suffer from heavy periods, there is a risk of anaemia, which can make exercise hard due to the low number of red blood cells which transport oxygen around the body. 


Our final word on the subject of running on your period:

As at least one of us here at towers is somewhat of an expert in this field (ie. a female of appropriate age) and this is the general thought process... 

It's sad to investigate this topic to find that there are precious few studies which look into the best time to run during our cycle.  For some, our periods can mean not even being able to function or move, let alone run.  For anybody with a heavy flow, has to live with endometriosis or debilitating cramps then our advice is, always listen to your body. 

Every single one of the above for and against arguments are correct in their own way.  If you feel lousy - then don't or limit your runs.  If you feel amazing - then by all means get out there and release those endorphins.  The plus side is you can still run safely while mestruating, nothing in the rule book says don't.  In fact running and other kinds of physical exercise can actually help to reduce discomfort and can boost your mood!

Ultimately, nobody knows your body as well as you do.  So listen, feel and follow your own good advice - there is always tomorrow!