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07-03-2024
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What to do if your period lands on Marathon Day

If your period lands on Event Day, you are in good company. Musician Madame Gandhi ran the marathon free bleeding in 2015, and Paula Radcliffe broke the marathon world record in 2002 while on her period. 

Everyone's cycle is different, so you need to find what works for you. There is also period-proof activewear; everything from pants to leggings. And rest assured, there is a range of sanitary products available at the start of the TCS London Marathon, at the end of drink stations on the course, and at the finish. So if you need more, or if your period comes early, we’ve got you.

We spoke to Jordan Foster, from our official training app Coopah, to find out what you can do in training to help prepare if your period lands on Event Day.

If you have an underlying medical condition or struggle with your periods, please make sure you speak to your GP and seek medical advice if you have concerns about training around your period.

First up - are you tracking your periods?

You might know roughly when you are due or the length of your average cycle, but understanding the different stages is a game changer.

Period tracking apps are helping to break the taboo around periods and give a greater understanding of the monthly cycle. There are a handful available, such as Flo, Clue Period, Ovia and Spot On. These apps help you keep on track, as well as understand any patterns, and most will give you pointers about why you are feeling the way you do. Some apps can even help with the correlation between your cycle and exercise, such as FitrWoman and Wild.AI.

If you can’t commit to a subscription fee or are mindful about sharing personal health data, you can make a note in your diary and read up on the different stages here.

What can I do before Event Day?

So, judging by your calendar, you are due on or around Event Day. Here’s how you can prep during training.

1) Get out for some long runs while you are on

You may not always want to (we hear you), but as long as you feel well enough, it can help you understand what it feels like and is an opportunity to try running with different sanitary products and find out what is best for you. It’s also like completing any long run. If you’ve done it before, it gives you the confidence to do it again. You could even try running in period-proof activewear.

2) Prioritise sleep when you are tapering 

Carb loading and sleep? Well, that’s ideal. But in all seriousness, you may feel more tired than usual due to hormonal changes, so make sure you listen to your body and rest more than usual so you arrive on Event Day feeling refreshed. It will help you mentally and physically.

3) Pay attention to your pre-run fuelling and hydration

You may benefit from including more iron-rich foods like kale, spinach or kidney beans. Magnesium can help prevent cramping, so include bananas, peanut butter or tofu. You may also feel thirstier than usual when you are on your period. Make hydration a priority in training and on Event Day.

I really struggle with motivation in the lead up to my period… what can I do?

This is completely normal. You will be going through a lot of hormonal changes in the lead up to your period and this can result in premenstrual syndrome, which can cause bloating and affect your mood, which in turn can affect your motivation levels.

One of the best ways to keep yourself motivated is to plan activities that you enjoy. In terms of running this might mean running with a friend, getting yourself down to parkrun or simply sticking on your favourite playlist to get yourself going.

Sometimes, the hardest part of going for a run is getting yourself out of the door. Try to remember the 10-minute rule, just tell yourself you will go out for 10 minutes, and if you don’t feel better by the end of it you can turn around and go home but the chances are, once you get out of the door you will feel a million times better.

I suffer with really heavy periods and I’m worried about the long runs, should I skip them?

Heavy periods or menorrhagia can cause iron deficiency anemia so it’s a good idea to book an appointment with your GP, as this can leave you feeling short of breath or fatigued when exercising.

It’s also important to find out what works for you when it comes to managing your flow - whether that is tampons, pads, period pants or a menstrual cup. If you are using tampons or pads it’s good to pack spares in case you need to stop and change mid-run. There are toilet finder apps and maps to plan out any potential pit stops on your run.

 

Do you want a personalised training plan?

Check out London Marathon Events’ Official Training App, Coopah. LME has teamed up with the experts at Coopah to create training plans to help you reach your PB goals. Offering over 500 different workouts, Coopah keeps you motivated and makes running fun for everyone. If you're ready to get started, download the Coopah App now.