It’s Race Day & Your Period Is Here. Now What?

It’s Race Day & Your Period Is Here. Now What?

First off, don’t panic—embrace it. There’s no reason you can’t run, and no reason you can’t have your best race yet. Paula Radcliffe broke the marathon world record in 2002 while suffering period cramps.

The science to date backs this up: A majority of studies have concluded the menstrual cycle has a neutral effect on women’s athletic performance, neither significantly improving nor impairing it.1 While others have found lower hormone levels during menstruation may actually translate to a boost in strength and power.2

Of course, menstruation is highly individual, and your experience may not exactly match the literature. That’s even more reason to talk openly about it. This natural, normal part of life shouldn’t be seen as a taboo topic. At Solaray, we’re on a mission to help shift the narrative, and to help you get the information and support you need during this and every life stage.

Ask your racing community to share what they go through and their strategies, then try them out to see what works for you. Also consider the following tips and tricks:

Know Your Flow & Plan Accordingly

There are lots of cycle tracking apps to help you keep tabs on your period. That way, you can be prepared if you’re menstruating on race day.

Dress comfortably—that may mean looser-fitting clothes than you might normally choose—and confidently, perhaps opting for darker bottoms with extra lining. Make sure you have the menstrual products you prefer on hand. Keep in mind that pads can become saturated with sweat. Tampons and menstrual cups, even period underwear, might be smarter options if you can tolerate them. And, be ready with a supply of supportive supplements (more below).

Stay Hydrated

Of course, hydration is always important when exercising. But it’s particularly vital if you’re menstruating. That’s because fluctuating hormones and blood loss can increase your odds of becoming dehydrated.

Take extra care to stay on top of your fluid intake before, during, and after your race. Plain water is always a good choice. But if you like special sports drinks and they sit well with you, stock up on your favorites.

Rest When & If  You Need It

Typically, you’ll feel less energy during the week before your period—when premenstrual (PMS) symptoms arise—thanks to lower levels of estrogen and progesterone. These levels are their lowest on the first day of your period, but they begin to rise thereafter.3

If you know your period will sync with your race, experts say you may want to increase the amount of sleep you’re getting at night, or even sneak in naps, in the days or week leading up to the main event. If you need to cancel a workout in that time, be gentle with yourself and listen to your body.

Supplement for Common Symptoms

To be sure, menstruation can be frustrating and uncomfortable. But it is possible to have an easier time of the month, especially if you’ve got the right help in your cabinet.

That’s where her life STAGES PMS & Menstruation comes in. It’s doctor-formulated by a renowned women’s health expert to provide support for a healthy cycle and menstrual discomfort, specifically to help ease breast tenderness, and to support mood and energy.*It’s anchored by vitex—aka chasteberry, a traditional herb long used for women’s wellness—and scientifically backed saffron, shown in numerous clinical studies to support mood and overall mental outlook.*

Our PMS & Menstrual formula is made without hormones or soy and is vegan and gluten-free. It’s designed to be taken daily during PMS and throughout menstruation, though continued use can and may be recommended; a serving is just one convenient capsule. If your period tracker indicates your cycle will coincide with your run, you can start taking this formula in advance of and on race day. Order online or purchase at your local health food store with enough time to have a bottle handy.

If you’re looking for menstrual support but are also experiencing other issues on your hormonal journey, STAGES Perimenopause may be right for you, around race day and beyond. It also supports a healthy cycle, breast tenderness, and mood, while providing additional targeted support for perimenopausal hot flashes and night sweats plus sound sleep.*

Both products are recent industry award winners. The entire her life STAGES line—which also includes Menopause, Postmenopause, and Libido formulas—and all Solaray supplements are verified for purity and potency and our state-of-the-art lab in Ogden, Utah.

Peace Out, PMS. Hello, Winning Run.

If you’re feeling sad or stressed about the timing of your cycle, try to remind yourself that getting a regular period is a good thing—even when it comes on race day. It’s a healthy sign that your body is working as it should. With the right preparation and supportive supplements, running a great event while menstruating can be no sweat, at least figuratively speaking.

Solaray her life STAGES is the proud 2024 title sponsor of the Women's Epic Race.


Resources:

  1. Carmichael et al. “The Impact of Menstrual Cycle Phase on Athletes’ Performance,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2021), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916245.
  2. Lisbeth Wikström-Frisén, “Training and Hormones in Physically Active Women,” Umea University (2016), https://umu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:955835.
  3. “Physical Activity and Your Menstrual Cycle,” Office On Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, https://www.womenshealth.gov/getting-active/physical-activity-menstrual-cycle.

 

 

† As experienced in conjunction with a normal, healthy period.
‡ As experienced in conjunction with perimenopause or menopause.

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