How Your Period Affects Your Runs

Yup, your cycle really can impact your stride.

Does the thought of running while on your period make you curl up in the fetal position on the couch because: pain? Or does it bum you out because you think you won’t be able to stick to your typically amazing pace? Well, according to Jordan Metzl, M.D., an exercise physician and author of the new book Running Strong: The Sports Doctor’s Complete Guide to Staying Healthy and Injury-Free for Life (published by Women’s Health‘s parent company, Rodale), neither of those things should be an issue.

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Why You Don’t Want to Run When Aunt Flo Comes to Town

Metzl says that time of the month can make you unmotivated to run since the drop in estrogen and other hormonal fluctuations during your period leave you bloated and tired—not to mention crampy.

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Should You Just Run Anyway?

That said, hitting the pavement could actually make your symptoms a lot better. That’s because getting your run on releases tons of endorphins that can alleviate your cramps and fatigue, he says. Oh, and fun fact: Running can also help you de-bloat. That’s right, Metzl says that jogging it out increases the blood flow to your kidneys and increases your glomerular filtration rate—or the speed at which your kidneys separate the waste from your blood—which results in you peeing out the excess water that causes bloating. Boom.

Is Your Pace Going to Suck?

Big news: Not only is it not a bad idea to hit the pavement, good ol’ Flo shouldn’t inhibit your pace either. “There’s no reason why you couldn’t do your normal run,” says Metzl.

However, if you are feeling super bleh about lacing up your shoes, Metzl says it’s a good idea to run a bit slower or for a shorter distance. “If it’s easier for you to get your mind around doing a smaller run, that’s better than doing nothing at all.”

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How to Be Prepared Next Period

Metzl says a good way to stay on top of your routine all month long is to keep track of how you feel during each run while noting where you are in your cycle. When you find a pattern, use that as a guide to plan your runs. For example, you can plan short and sweet runs for when you normally feel less than awesome and tougher ones when you’re usually on top of your game, he says.

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All gifs courtesy of giphy.com

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