That rubbish week of training!

First up…I believe a few gentlemen read this blog. Thank you for doing so. I’m going to discuss periods in this post – please keep reading if you’re interested, but feel free to come back next time!

So. Last week, I wrote a training update that was all unicorns, champagne corks and ginger cats! I’d done all my runs, I’d hit all my goal paces, I’d eaten well, I’d even done some core work. I was flying and I was buzzing with excitement.

My favourite buzzing photo!
My favourite buzzing photo!

And then last week happened.

I missed a key workout which threw everything else off kilter. All my paces were slower. I missed all my tempo goal splits. I felt sluggish and slow, so I ate every single carb that came within arm’s reach. (This made me slower and more sluggish). I despaired of my goals. I despaired of many things.

Me, despairing. All the cycling photos this week!
Me, despairing.
All the cycling photos this week!

And then on Thursday night, my period came and it all became clear.

Now I don’t want to blame my poor running and eating on my period. It was definitely due, in part at least, to a lack of self-control, self-discipline and guts. But I’d be foolish to discount the impact it has on me. I definitely get less patient, I definitely eat carbs like they’re going out of fashion and I definitely get weepy but it hadn’t occurred to me that it might impact my speed.

Salty Running did an excellent post about the impact of your period on your running that I cannot dream of improving upon so I’m linking to it here and you should go and read it in its entirety!!  But basically, the first two weeks of your cycle are your best running weeks. Then it’s basically downhill for two weeks. The progesterone that rules the second part of your cycle even wants to store carbs! I knew it!

So what does this mean for my Q1 goals?

  1. That having my goal race (Oakland) a day or two after my period is unfortunate. I’m going to have to work even harder to PR.
  2. That I need to schedule my races more carefully than I have in the past. I’m actually going to try to do this!
  3. That my 5k coming up this weekend (a ‘trial run’) may actually be a bigger deal than I’d expected!! I should be running faster and free-er again.
  4. Do I plan a Parkrun 5k in mid-March before progesterone starts to ruin things?
  5. Day 2 of my period made Game of Throne’s Red Wedding look like a preschooler tripping in the playground. I need to check my iron levels.
Not THOSE iron levels!
Not THOSE iron levels!


Before I end, a quick summary of this week’s non-period-related excitement. (Phew, you all think).

The Good

  • Hit 25 miles total. Happy with that.
  • Ran four times. That’s decent.
  • My morning run with Lisa.
  • Gutting it out in the cold and the rain on Saturday.

The Bad

  • Missed a key speed workout, intervals.
  • My tempo miles were all way short of goal-pace and were slower than my PR at Thanksgiving.
  • My diet was bad. Too much sugar, carbs and wine.
  • I didn’t do a single core exercise all week.

Next week

  • Crissy Field Parkrun on Saturday. 5k. I definitely want to be close to PR. Whatever…I totally want to PR even if I don’t go sub-25.
  • Focus on core work, speed work and sleeeeep.
  • My nutrition. I’ve read a good book on nutrition this week and I’m going to try some of the hints and tips.

Wish me luck.

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Good luck. I know that my period or my friend George as we always called him growing up because “only a man makes me feel this bad” is definitely a tough time for me as well. Unfortunately trying to schedule races around it may not work all the time but I tell myself that “I did my best on that day” and this seems to work. Just enjoy it! 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      I love GEORGE! That’s hilarious. Brilliant.

      But you’re right – no matter what the day is, you can only do your best on that day! But I may try to plan goal races slightly better in the future.

    2. Jen says:

      “only a man makes me feel this bad” – LOL

  2. Angela says:

    I’ve read some of that stuff, but I’ve always wondered about those of us who do long-term cycle suppression, and what that effect is? I guess it should be the same as being pregnant (except without all the obvious impediments to training that tend to come with pregnancy), but I don’t actually know. Now I’m super curious!

    1. Cathryn says:

      I’m guessing your hormones remain fairly stable, thus it’s never a bad time to race.

  3. You can blame everything on your periods. I would totally understand. For me, it affects me A LOT. Thank you for talking about it on here.
    Good luck for your 5K!!

  4. Bean says:

    Periods suck. I am always so slowwww and unpleasant when my uterus is rejecting everything. I never even thought to schedule races around this but that makes total sense otherwise it seems we are setting ourselves up for failure.

    1. Cathryn says:

      If it’s a PR race then it MAY be worth looking into?

  5. bt says:

    I wouldn’t count out your race performances. Paula Radcliffe set her first world record on the first day of her period…

    1. Cathryn says:

      Darn…my excuses are gone.

    2. Jen says:

      Interesting article! Especially about the recommendations regarding carb loading vs. refueling during the run, depending on the time of the cycle.

  6. Jen says:

    TMI time: I think I spent all of 2012 or 2013 racing on the first or second day of my period, and besides some of the unavoidable inconveniences (worrying about carrying tampons, etc.), I actually did well. I read an article that the few days before Day 1 is actually the worst because you’re more sensitive to pain and bloated (& therefore heavier), whereas on Day 1, you might be a bit tired and crampy, but that’s actually a big day for pain threshold.

    1. Cathryn says:

      That’s interesting. Personally, day 2 is always the grimmest. Day 1, I’m def bloated and heavy but day 2 is normally horrific.

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