Running On Your Period

Surprisingly, I have a lot of male readers. I chalk it up to the fact that I have the sense of humor (and appetite) of a 16 year old boy. Unfortunately, I might lose some of you guys today with the topic of periods. Sorry. Hopefully, you’ll be brave enough to peek back in for lunch?IMG_6911 (800x533)

Today I had some female issues and had to walk part of my run. It was an easy 5 miler. No biggie.IMG_0905 (800x600)

I came home starving and ate eggs while cooking oat bran.IMG_0909 (800x600)

Side note: I love Chunky PB, but it was tearing up my bread recently so I tried a jar of smooth. The Whole Foods Creamy PB is grainy, so it ended up being the perfect for spreading while still having some texture.IMG_0914 (600x800)

This weekend’s Bachelorette Party was full of girl talk. We discussed EVERYTHING and eventually came to the topic of periods and tampons. Let me preface by saying – I hate periods. I was on a BC that stopped them for years and it was amazing. I’m no longer on that kind as my doc and I decided to try and get a normal cycle going for baby making convenience in the next year or so. (<- Did ya catch that?!)IMG_0687 (800x600)

Anyways, I was on the “no period” BC when I first started running and have recently had to deal with periods and running. Luckily, I have not had to deal with cramps and have been able to run like normal.  I have been more fatigued and scale it back when that happens. There’s no point in stressing over your body telling you it needs rest!

I receive questions about how to keep running through your period periodically. My advice would be: use tampons, wear capris or tight shorts/pants (so you’re not worried about things showing or moving around), listen to your body and take it easy if you have less energy or cramps. But, over the weekend I discovered not everyone wears tampons! So, chime in with other advice if you have it Smile

I usually exercise like normal if it’s that time of month, but I don’t have cramps like I used to in high school. I used to be useless for at least two-three days back then.

Here is a RW Message Board forum on Periods and Running

Question/Poll: Do you exercise on your usual schedule during TOM? Do you have any tips to stay active during that time?[polldaddy poll=5594474]


  1. says

    So, yeah, I try to work out, but since I’ve been off BC for the last few months I have been having massive issues with cramping and strangely depression the week leading up to. Being tested for PMDD, which is why I’m not currently on BC. So that takes about a week out of my month out alone. Once the period comes I’m good. I use the Instead cup, and if it’s the first heavy days and I’m running or working out, I use the cup and a tampon. But my first two days are insane. I’m sure you wanted to know that.

    Anyway, I like the Instead cup, after you figure out how to use it, it’s heaven sent.

  2. says

    I read somewhere when I was a teenager (possibly in Seventeen Magazine, so you know, take that as you will) that your metabolism is increased during your period and that you’ll burn extra calories if you work out during that time. I have no idea if this is scientificially accurate or just Seventeen being Seventeen. But, it’s always stuck with me and I’ll force myself out to rag and run. :-)

  3. says

    I work out as normal on my period unless I can’t get out of bed, and that’s never happened.

    I actually got my period the NIGHT before my first half marathon and wanted to DIE. I did the tampon thing, wore compression capris, took and Ibuprofen and prayed for the best.

    It wasn’t so bad…i think my flow may have stopped to a trickle while I was running those 13.1 miles…afterward though, it was awful. 😛

  4. says

    Hi Monica, thanks for bringing up such an under-addressed topic. Personally, ever since I turned 21ish I have pretty painless periods and tend to just ignore them and continue with my training/exercise plans as normal. However, there are times that along with my period comes exhaustion, cramps, a general “blah” feeling and on days like that I focus on nurturing myself, not pushing myself. So maybe I do some gentle yoga and stretching, use heated pads on my stomach and curl up with a cup of tea.

    I think a lot of people find it easier to push through the pain rather than acknowledge its existence and take a small break. Normally though, those breaks are so important – especially when you’re body is actually asking for one!

    So, my biggest piece of advice: listen to your body and learn when to push and when to take it easy.

  5. says

    I’m on a pill that gives me shorter, lighter periods and because of my running it went away completely for like 4 years… until I got injured. Because my activity level went way down (read no more training for marathons or any distance for that matter = less lean muscle) my body fat went up and so did the estrogen levels thus giving me one again. It went nonstop for over a month the first time and I was freaking my sh*t. I called my doc and they explained that it was to be expected and it did end up going away later that week. That was May. Now I have a much more manageable one to two day period each month and even that is annoying to me after how many years I didn’t get it at all. I wonder sometimes what will happen when I start running again. On the one hand getting it back made me feel better about my chances of getting pregnant in the future (not anytime soon!) but on the other, I really enjoyed not having one and dealing with tampons. Thankfully I’ve never had the PMS/cramps thing so I’ve always kinda lucked out in this department. I guess time will tell how it will all play out once I’m back at it. Good luck with readjusting to the cycle and my fingers are crossed that you’re able to give us a very happy announcement sometime in the near future! :)

  6. says

    I’m on the type of BC where I don’t get my period and I love it! I’d get awful cramps and act like a crazy person so it’s good for me (and everyone around me) to just go without. And I never have to miss a workout because of it!

    When I wasn’t on that type of BC I’d still workout but it would depend on how I felt.

  7. Ida says

    Working out during makes me feel better, but sometimes the workouts are less intense. I feel like endorphins can help balance out all the other hormonal crazy that is going on.

  8. says

    Sometimes exercising on my period makes me feel better, other times my period leaves me without the will to live, let alone run. I find that as long as I listen to my body and give it the kind of exercise it craves (i.e sometimes yoga is better for me than a long run) I’ll be ok.

    As long as we’re on the subject of tampons, I’ll let y’all know about another option: I use a small menstrual cup made of medical grade silicone cup called a Lunette to catch my flow during my period. Before you get grossed out let me tell you that I find the cup WAY cleaner than a tampon. I never have to worry about it getting saturated and leaking on a long run, no uncomfortable strings chafing me and nothing smells because it’s all trapped in the cup. i find it superior for swimming, biking and just about any other physical activity. Most of the time I can’t even feel it, I’ve even forgotten that I have my period while wearing it.

    Call me a dirty hippy, I don’t care! :)

    • erica says

      10000% agreed about menstrual cups (i can personally endorse the divacup in particular, as well) – cheaper, cleaner, easier, and you get over any “ew gross!” feelings real quick haha

  9. says

    I am all for going to live in a Big Red Tent during this week. Though sadly soon I will not have to worry about this, early menopause rocks in that sense. I find taking Ibuprofen the week leading up to it helps with the aches and pains.

  10. says

    If I take ibuprofen, eat super well and up my sleep, I don’t notice much of a difference in energy levels and just kind of suck it up, but I know I’m lucky because I’ve always had fairly light periods, which keeps it manageable.

  11. says

    Holy crow! I had this issue on Sunday! I am participating in a progressives race series that had the 15K race last weekend. When I signed up for the race, I didn’t consider this issue in the equation. TOM came in the night and the onslaught of miserable cramps came during the race around mile 6. I had every intention of not letting TOM affect me during the race but I literally almost doubled over in pain at a few moments. IT WAS NOT FUN!

  12. Jazz says

    For sure, I think excersize helps a lot on the Period! I also use a Diva Cup and HIGHLY recommend it for running… and everything else.. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t use it!

  13. says

    I’ve been running for two years and have had probably less than 8 periods in that whole time. My OB put me on a low dose BC, but on it my periods were lasting 14-18 days which was AWFUL. I stopped taking the pill to see if my body could possibly somehow manage a period on it’s own, to no avail so far. After my marathon next month I’m scaling back on mileage in hopes that it returns, if not then I’ll be paying another visit to my lovely doctor.

  14. Melissa says

    I’ve run a quite a few races during my period. My first piece of advice is to wear dark or black bottoms in case of accidents. Can’t believe I made that mistake! (yellow shorts, even!)
    I’ve found that taking ibuprofen GREATLY reduces my cramps and the flow but you have to take them before the pain gets bad. My PMS usually consists of depression which in turn makes me not want to run so it’s a huge struggle to get out there the week before my period and then the week of it’s another hassle. Geez, being female bites sometimes! I’m not sure my husband could handle it every month LOL

  15. says

    SO excited about the baby making news.
    It’s actually due to all the baby making that I’ve been doing that I haven’t had a period in almost FOUR years!! I’ve either been pregnant or nursing (and haven’t gotten it back – some women do). I don’t mind. No blood is fine by me.

  16. says

    With the threat of peanut butter prices going up, I just went to Whole Foods and bought the last three jars of that exact PB. The fact that it’s smooth while still having some texture is the only reason how my hubby and I can agree on a variety of the stuff.

  17. says

    I find that exercise helps my cramps a ton. It also helps me not get so depressed and bloated.
    I went off BC in March and was shocked at how much PMS hurts when you’re not on a BC. Holy crap!
    I also use the Instead cup and love it. Way more freedom and it’s great for running.

  18. says

    Okay I have to go here…I ran a really long run once with a tampon, the string freaking chafed all over down there.

    If you are going to long long run with a tampon make sure to put some lube on the string (twss).

    I don’t want anyone to experience the worst chafe ever.

  19. says

    OMG! I was on the pill for about 8 years. I still had cramps and stuff the whole time, but for the most part I was better because it made everything much lighter. The last few years of that I was on the one for PMDD (they don’t need any free advertising from me)…by time I went off it (in July) I feeling SO down and depressed, I would just lay on the floor that TOM, curled up in a ball with my head down – this made exercise, as well as normal functioning pretty impossible.
    But, now that I’m off the evil drugs I’m feeling awesome. Sure, it gets uncomfortable sometimes, but I try to keep up my normal exercise routine. Those endorphins are no joke!

  20. says

    Running during my period (when I used to get it) was the best. I had very painful periods from endometriosis and the time I spent exercising was the only time I didn’t have pain. But I’m not sure this is normal.

  21. says

    Check out the Diva Cup or similar products…freaking amazing! It makes it so much easier to head out for a run and not worry about leakage! And if you are going on a long run when things are a little heavy it is super easy to stop in any bathroom with TP and be off an leak free again! Obviously I highly recommend it.

    I switched from super light period BC to a Paragard IUD…totally not prepared for the full blown period problems! Everything changes so much from month to month. One month I’m curled up in a ball in pain, the next month the pain isn’t too bad but I eat about six full meals a day, and the next month the pain and food is normal but all I want to do is sleep all day long. Weird hormones…pregnancy hormones will probably make me crazy!

  22. says

    My workout habits do not change with my period. It’s less comfortable for me to swim, for example, on my period but I always feel a MILLION times better if I workout. It helps with cramping.

  23. says

    Love that you’re not afraid to talk about this stuff!

    I recently started BC and am currently in the oh-my-gosh-my-period-is-so-gloriously-light-now phase, so I’m just grateful that I can exercise at all when it’s that time of the month (didn’t used to be the case a few years ago).

  24. says

    The first day of TOM I’m worthless (bloating, cramping, fatigue, desire to eat small cows and chocolate factories). I can (and have) push myself through a workout, but it’s no fun. I hate tampons and try to avoid them when possible. However, the rest of the time besides that one day, I power through, and it’s usually fine.

  25. says

    Most months, I get a nasty migraine that knocks me out for a day or two, but other than that I try to exercise because it generally makes me feel so much better and less crampy.

  26. Aleks says

    I’ve been of BC for 2 weeks now, so haven’t gotten my ‘real’ period yet… I’m slightly scared. I loved the pill because it gave me very light and painfree periods, so I could run/exercise normally (with tampons, haven’t tried the cups but that’s intriguing). I might come back to the pill though (the reason I stopped is because I ran out of my supply and haven’t been to the doctor yet since I moved countries). I want to see what happens when I’m no longer on it after 3 years. And yeah, I don’t mean babies happening ;).

  27. Malin says

    A hard run, it doesn´t have to be long, is the best medicin against cramps(for me that is). I did a 20 minute treadmill run yesterday, with a 5 minute all out sprint at the end and I felt great the rest of the day.

  28. says

    Oh man…I definitely have to exercise the same…and drink extra water! I get migraines during that TOM, but if I exercise, which helps with oxygen flow to the brain, it’s not nearly as bad…

    Baby making in the next year huh??? Me and Travis are considering it too (Maybe!)…we should be preggers and try to run together…lol

  29. says

    It totally depends on how I’m feeling. Unfortunately, I haven’t ever had to worry about this because mine has been missing for a few years. Doctors are still trying to figure out why. :(

    But hopefully one day soon I will be “plagued” again for my own baby-making expenditures.

  30. Hailey says

    I feel horrible on my period. When I’m on it, I just go to school, them come home & sleep. Some days it’s not so bad so where I could work out. But most of the time I can’t. I get major migranes & such bad cramps on my stomach and back. I usually just grab my heating pad & jump (slowly crawl) into bed & sleep.

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