I’m not sure men really appreciate how fortunate they are. When you (men) pick a race your biggest concern might be the weather. We (women) need to work around biology. Men, don’t groan and stop reading, read on and consider yourself lucky that not only can you pee without waiting in a port-a-loo line, but you don’t need to plan your race calendar to find that one week a month you can actually run fast.
No matter how much you train, how rested you are, or how well you ate if you are of the lady variety your plans of running a PB may be foiled by timing. And the troublesome time is probably not the week you think. At least not according to Coach Jenny:
The “Up” or the “High’ Phase of the month is typically Days 4-15 [day 1 is the first day of menstruation]. This is the Follicular Phase, and a time when estrogen levels are low and when our bodies more easily break down glycogen for quick energy, making high intensity workouts more efficient. You may find during the first two weeks of your cycle you are able to run faster with lower heart rates, and leap tall buildings in a single bound. This is a great time to push harder runs and races. Then we ovulate [Day 15] and move into the Luteal Phase [Days 16-28] where estrogen levels are stable, but high. This is the “When Is This Run Going To Be Over” Phase. Although hard and fast runs will seem nearly impossible during this phase, your long runs may seem just fine due to the high levels of estrogen and it’s preference of fat-burning for fuel.
Ahh, ovulation. Seems Mother Nature would prefer us to be doing something around that time other than running marathons. I’ll leave it to you to figure out what that is and what your goal time should be. During That Time we might be bloated and cramping, but that won’t slow us down. So, ladies you may have about an optimal nine-day race window each month. On those other days … Mind over Mother?
p.s. I did not race this weekend and therefore this was not a preemptive excuse for my poor performance.
Title Reference: Chamber Brothers – Time Has Come Today. 1966.