When someone requests to join the ‘Running through menopause’ Facebook community, one of the pre-approval questions asks how menopause has had an impact on their running. And the most commonly written answer? It’s fatigue, or some variation of. Sometimes it’s fatigue when running, sometimes it’s fatigue from general life; sometimes it’s both, and sometimes we just don’t know where it’s coming from. It’s common, though, very common amongst menopausal women, but it needn’t mean the end of running – there are ways and means of working through it.
If fatigue is impacting on your running, it’s worth working out what is going on. If you can identify what’s causing it, you can look for a solution. Some causes may have a relatively quick and easy fix, maybe training or diet-related: others may require a longer, possibly medical, intervention. Knowing your body well, though, will start you on the journey to finding whatever it is your body needs to keep running – and running well.
Here are 5 key questions to ask yourself that will help you to understand more about what is happening to your body.
- Is there a pattern to your fatigue? Does it change over the course of a day? Is it worse when you are running or is it there all the time? What does it feel like over a week, or a month, or longer? If you’re not sure, it’s worth starting to keep a record (alongside a record of your exercise too, and your periods too, if you still have them). What you find might be quite revealing.
- Are you eating enough to fuel your everyday life AND the running/training you do? Do you eat good quality real food? What do you eat and when? Again, it may well be worth keeping a record – we often eat differently in reality to how we think we do!
- Are you running/training too much or too hard? Do you have a balance between ‘hard’ and ‘easy’ days, or are you always exercising in that ‘grey zone’?
- Do you get enough rest and recovery time (including sleep) each week? What about each month and over a year? How do you feel after that rest and recovery time – refreshed, or not really?
- What other stresses do you have in your life? Work? Family? Covid? These can have a massive impact on anyone’s ability to run, never mind a body that is going through menopause too.