It is not an often occurrence to hear about women, their periods and sports collectively. However, I have always been interested in finding out about how the menstrual cycle affects our training. I have been taking note of how I feel or how my body performs during ‘that time of the month’ but it still hasn’t made anything clearer.
We are all very different when it comes to our period, especially when it comes to training. No month is ever the same… Although, there are some scientific reasons as to why we are not at our best whilst we are menstruating.
My personal experiences
When I was younger, I had very heavy and painful periods. I wasn’t very active at the time, so I just curled up into ball and let it happen. I dabbled with different types of period protection and eventually settled with tampons as my go-to. As a young (sexually active) adult, I was put on the pill by my doctor and my periods became much lighter and the symptoms settled into routine.
Although now, I have chosen to step away from chemical contraceptives.
Becoming a runner at the age of 23, I didn’t let my period interfere. I continued to train whilst on my period, but would feel lack of motivation to do so; and I was more inclined to pass on exercise. If I were to train, I wouldn’t be so hard on myself to perform well. Sometimes, it would just be a case of moving my body because, that actually helped with some of my symptoms.
As most women know, the top symptoms that we may feel (according to certain research) are:
- Exhaustion/feeling more lethargic whilst doing every day tasks,
So why are we talking about this in connection to playing sports?
These symptoms are hardly the best at any time, let alone if you are running outdoors and putting pressure on yourself to perform. Although, we have to bear in mind that symptoms do vary from person to person. Some women hardly feel any symptoms at all! (Lucky for some, hey?)
Personally, I have always been a big believer in doing exercise whilst on my period because it does makes me feel better, but I keep the intensity levels down at this particular time.
BUT WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE RACING?
Waking up on the day of the official big half marathon earlier this year; (01/03/20) who decided to arrive first thing? Aunt Flo was in force and I had to prepare for my day ahead. I knew that it wouldn’t stop me from racing, but how would it affect my overall performance? I was not looking to break times or anything, but I didn’t want it to stop me from feeling good for my first proper race of the year.
Continuing my day as normal, I packed my bag with extra tampons. However, I was worried that after a full morning/early afternoon at the race, I could potentially have an ‘accident’. With only busy portaloos to use and a lot of time away from loo’s in general, this could be a sticky situation. You know the score, ladies!
THIS is where WUKA pants would have been a perfect.
Fast forward a couple of weeks…
As part of a recent campaign, I was given a pair of WUKA pants to trial out in celebration for their launch at Sainsbury’s. The pants were a medium flow in black. This particular pair holds up to 2-3 tampons worth and can be worn up to 8 hours without any leakages. However, if your flow is a little heavier, I highly recommend the heavy flow panties (which is 4 tampons worth).
Currently, there are three different flow pants available. The two mentioned above (medium/heavy) and a lighter flow pair which holds 1-2 tampons worth. Dependant on your flow, there is a pair that will see you through your period! After researching this product online, I found that many women have chosen to use WUKA because of the environment.
These are a great way of reducing your carbon footprint. According to a recent newspaper article, there are approximately 700,000 pantyliners and 2.5M tampons being flushed down the toilet, in the UK, on a DAILY basis. We are using these single-use products and contributing to our plastic waste every single month for quite a number of years. This was something that I didn’t feel comfortable in doing anymore and I knew that I personally had to make some changes.
Sainsbury’s became the first company to stop producing plastic applicators for its own-brand tampons, removing 2.7 tonnes of plastic annually.
The Guardian. Oct.2019.
It was only a few years back that we had no variety in period protection in supermarkets. Disposable pads and tampons were the only items of choice, where as nowadays, there are more sustainable choices on the market. WUKA is now a product that Sainsbury’s EXCLUSIVELY sell to the public. Giving many more choices to the feminine care isle. They launched into the supermarket on the 15th of March this year (2020) which has excited many of us. Not long before International Womens Day, HOORAY!
Regardless of the symptoms that come with your period, if you feel safe with your protection, then you will more than likely achieve more. To feel more confident in your day-to-day life as well as in your sports.
I have now used the WUKA pants for two of my periods and I will be buying more of their products in the future. It has changed my way of thinking for period protection, indefinitely. I have had no accidents with the pants and feel comfortable in knowing that they will protect me during that time of the month.
There are different styles and different colours (in each of the flows) which each pair are ultra hygienic. Having anti-bacterial fabrics which fights bacteria and the odours that come with it. WUKA can also be used for up to two years, which will save you money in the long run by not buying other sanitary products. As well as being an eco-friendly option over single-use products on the market.
So next time, when I am on my period during race day, I will bring out the WUKA pants. Even if I do use a tampon/cup with them, I know that I am safe whilst wearing WUKA as a back up, but also as a product on its own from any leakages. There are a few products out there on the market, but now that I have used WUKA, I will be sticking with what I know.
What are your thoughts on period protection? What do YOU use as a runner/woman in sports? It would be interesting to hear your personal experiences and what you use. Comment below, or get in contact with me via my social medium platforms.
Should we talk about periods and training more?
Lets get stuck into more conversations on taboo subjects, to get more women talking without embarrassment! The more we talk about these subjects, the more we start to see a change in PERIOD TALK.
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