When I started running a couple of years back , and since I had never been into sports or intense physical activity before, one question always plagued me. Is it ok to run during your periods? What if I get them on the day of the marathon? My curiosity led to a lot of reading and talking to long distance runners (in Philippines and India).
Yes, almost all of us are irritable and sluggish during that time, and understandably so but it’s mind over matter all the way. Running and exercising during PMS and periods don’t affect us negatively, however, if your period becomes very irregular, slows or stops completely, it’s definitely time to see a gynecologist.
Here are few pointers I have gathered over time –
Don’t stop – Moderate exercise and running can actually improve various severe side effects of menstruation — including uterine cramping, vomiting, nausea and back pain. As per Livestrong.com when you exercise, your body increases blood flow to the uterus and boosts its production of endorphins, “feel-good” hormones that may counter the affects of these pain-inducing prostaglandins in some women.
Pay attention to hydration – During ovulation, the body temperature goes up. So hydration is even more important.
Clothing – Wear dark comfortable clothes (why am I even saying it!) and dress cooler than you normally would.
Avoid binging – It’s best to not give into craving for junk food and opt for food rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and B-complex. Try to include nuts, leafy salads, sautéed vegetables, fish, red kidney beans, broccoli, chic peas, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, bananas, avocado, yogurt, milk, oranges and figs in your meals.
It’s the best time to indulge in some dark chocolate as it’s rich in nutrients.
Pads/Tampons – As per a lot of runners I spoke to apparently tampons work better. I still haven’t tried it though. I have been able to avoid chafing caused due to rubbing of pads by applying Vaseline on the inner thighs. I do that only in case of long runs. It was my first day during Airtel half 2014 and I came out unscathed!
Menstrual Cups – Apparently they work even better than Tampons. I haven’t tried them either.
Be prepared – In case of long runs, I carry a waist pouch with wet wipes and extra pads. And I also cut down the distance I was planning to run if I have to, without feeling too bad about it.
At the end of the day, we need to figure out what works for us and what doesn’t. Be in touch with your body and listen to it.
So, go with the “flow” I say 🙂