Training Articles

Working with your body to find the right running schedule

Whether a beginner or an expert, runners must get the basics right to avoid injury and ensure a positive relationship with running. One of those basics is knowing your body and working with it to create a schedule that ties in with your body.

If you are a beginner, don’t worry. It might take a few runs to get used to what feels right. If you’re already running regularly and run every day, you still might benefit from some of the key tips we’re about to set out.

When you know your body well, you can start to plan out rest days and a running schedule, which will put you in great stead when it comes to planning your #HERVIRTUAL5K race run, any time in between 28 March – 28 April.

First, we’ll talk about cycle syncing – which we must note is not suited to everybody!

As defined in this article, cycle syncing is a ‘practice whereby you alter your diet and exercise routine around different phases of your menstrual cycle to support and optimise how you feel’.

In short, your menstrual cycle will change the way you feel with a change and fluctuation of hormones daily. That will effect your levels of energy and in turn, your running.

Through day 1-4 (otherwise known as your early follicular stage), your focus should be on low energy exercise. As part of your running schedule, this might just be walking daily, having rest days or taking part in pilates or yoga to work on some strength.

From approx. day 4-14 is the later follicular stage. During this phase, your energy and Oestrogen levels begin to rise, meaning it is a great time for strength training. Through this phase, work in exercises like HIIT (high intensity training) and weight training. With your runs, you can start to build in some intervals focusing on pace and energy in short bursts, helping to build you up to your race pace.

At around day 15 is the Ovulation stage, where oestrogen levels peak during your cycle. This, in our opinion, is when you’re most likely to run your personal best, with strength and energy as high as they will be during your cycle. Before day 15, perhaps from day 10, you might be able to have a few efforts at your race pace for the #HERVIRTUAL5K.

Be careful though, as there is some evidence to suggest you’re more likely to get injured during this phase – down to more lax ligaments and tendons.

From day 16-28 is the luteal phase, where oestrogen begins to decline and you may start to feel a little more sluggish than usual. At this point, it’s not our advice to go out and chase a PB as energy is only going to decrease. However, you may be able to achieve fast times in the early stages of this phase. During the luteal phase, progesterone rises, which can dampen the effects of oestrogen as well as raise your body temperature, making endurance a little more difficult than usual.

Of course, this isn’t set in stone at all, but it may be kinder for your body to consider cycle syncing when taking on the #HERVIRTUAL5K this month.

For further information, you can listen to this podcast!

Also, be sure to join the conversation and share your experiences with our women taking part on Facebook. Join our closed social media community here.