Let’s talk about periods and running

Yes, you read that correctly. It’s time to talk about periods. After all, about half of all people have them. If you don’t want to read this post, I suggest you press the little “x” button now.

I was chatting to Louise, Mary and Laura on Twitter recently after Louise published a post about her experience at the Autumn 100. Mary also wrote a great blog about her experience at her ninth marathon. I’m not saying that we should scream from the rooftops when we’re on our periods, after all our body, our business, right? But after a chat on Twitter, I started wondering whether we’re sometimes ashamed to talk about.

Being on your period doesn’t have to stop you from being active – Mary and Louise both proved that. But we all have different bodies and different experiences and some of us suffer more painful periods than others. I had mine during Spitfire Scramble and it wasn’t a nice experience. It was painful, plus we were camping. Ugh. Nightmare. I didn’t mention that in my write up though, but why not?

For whatever reason, periods seem to be a slightly taboo subject. I’d have found a blog post on how to cope with a period during an endurance running event complete with camping useful. Yet I didn’t talk about it. Why? I just assumed that people didn’t want to know. This is of course true, but no one makes anyone read stuff and actually, it might have been useful to some female runners.

Although I have nightmare periods, I’m lucky that I’m not affected in the days leading up to it – I just have 2/3 days of hell when it’s actually happening. I know some women however can feel lethargic and awful for up to a week before – we’re all different and for some it does have an impact on running performance. Some ladies will plan round their time of the month and avoid running, some will just get on with it and others will see how it goes on the day. We share advice on sports bras, how to warm up, hell, we share advice on food to avoid for runners trots and how to eat, so why not sharing advice on how to cope with periods and running? Why are runners happy to talk about having the shits* and how to cope, but not about periods? How do you cope in races? Race toilets are usually rank – do you carry hand sanitiser with you?

What do you think ladies? Should we start talking about it more? We have body functions. It’s normal.


*Ok, so it isn’t something I tend to talk about, but why is this acceptable and not blood?

2 thoughts on “Let’s talk about periods and running

  1. Given that I went on the pill in order to prevent my debilitating period pain in the first place I really shouldn’t have forgotten that this sort of discomfort is the unfortunate norm for a lot of women. However it’s been so long since I had pain that I forget and then wonder why having your period should impact running at all. I wear a mooncup so have the luxury of being able to forget about my period when I’m active. It doesn’t impact at all. I’ve got no issue talking about these things, but I’m not very practiced at it and it rarely feels appropriate so tend not to but I don’t think there’s any reason we should’t!

  2. Great post! With all the tax on tampons hitting the news it is still a taboo subject to talk about something that happens to a many women of a certain age. This needs to change!

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