Sorry male readers! Proceed with caution.
It wasn’t until Monday night, after I had a frustrating Sunday and Monday filled with a roller coaster of emotions (things that normally wouldn’t bother me are now bothering me), plenty of eye rolling and just general annoyances, gobs of starchy food, spoonfuls of peanut butter topped with chocolate chips, that I realized what was happening.
My workouts this week have been less than desirable and it has taken just about everything in me to just get a run in, let alone a good one. And extra workouts? Nope. Not feeling it. What am I feeling? Peanut butter and chocolate, pasta, mashed potatoes, holding down the couch, biting your head off. So I did a little digging.
I read a few articles about PMS symptoms and how it relates to running. What I discovered was pretty interesting. Below is a snippet from a Run the Planet article called “How Your Menstrual Cycle Affects Performance”. You can find the link below.
The fluctuation of your energy levels
Your menstrual cycle is composed of three phases. The first phase, generally days one through thirteen (the first three to seven days being menstruation), is called the follicular phase and is marked by relatively low levels of estrogen except for a spike near day fourteen. The next phase, called ovulation begins on day fourteen. The remainder of the cycle, days fifteen through 28 of the average 28-day cycle, is called the luteal phase and is characterized by moderately high and stable levels of estrogen. Estrogen levels are important because estrogen is the key hormone affecting not only your cycle, but also the type of fuel available for your working muscles. Studies have shown that low levels (in the follicular phase) favor the breakdown of quick energy stores (muscle glycogen) whereas high levels (in the luteal phase) favor fat-burning, lower lactic acid levels and glycogen sparing.
OOOOHHHHH!!! That’s why!! I thought I was done paying attention to all this stuff. When we were trying to get pregnant, I knew all about this world (painstakingly so – it took me over a year to get pregnant). I knew my temps, my phases, how food affected me, how travel, stress and exercise affected my luteal and ovulation phase. I just never thought about it from this angle and how to potentially use it to my advantage.
I will really start to pay attention to this from now on. It helps me better understand why I will hit a workout one week but not the next. And that it might not have anything at all to do with overtraining or under training. So, before I burn my training plan and heaven forbid, over react, I will be mindful of this.
You will be happy to learn that I’m moving out of the miserable bloating, cramps, I-can’t-take-enough-Midol phase and into the low estrogen level- I-Am-Wonder-Woman Phase so I would expect big things from me in the next week
Now, if only I could control that appetite thing…
- Women’s Hormones and Running – Guest Post by Jason Karp, Ph.D. (ubermotherrunner.com)