4 Questions Your Mother and Coach Never Answered

Do Oral Contraceptives Affect My Workouts?

There’s no evidence that OCs enhance or hurt running performance. If a woman has very heavy or irregular periods, OCs may benefit her to regulate the cycle. For women who have irregular or absent menstrual cycles (whether from menstrual dysfunction or menopause) and therefore compromised skeletal health, OCs supply bone-protecting estrogen.

How Does Running Affect My Menstrual Cycle?

In most cases, running will not affect your menstrual cycle. However, menstrual cycle irregularities and even not having a cycle at all can occur with extreme, especially aerobic endurance exercise. If women don’t consume enough calories to counterbalance the large caloric expenditure with running, menstrual cycle irregularities can occur, which causes body fat percentage to decrease, sometimes down to dangerous levels.

How Does My Period Affect My Running?

Sometimes, certain period-related symptoms may make it harder for women to run and be motivated—feeling tired or bloated, having less energy, cramps, upset stomach, and dealing with tampons/pads/cups. However, women who run during their periods often experience a decrease in symptoms. Your period may not be the best time to run a marathon, and performance may be worse, although it’s perfectly safe to do so.

Can Running Treat or Prevent PMS?

Aerobic exercise won’t prevent PMS, but it can reduce the symptoms and can even be used as a treatment.

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