Hands up if you had no idea…

… that the impact of menopause on your body could affect your running in so many ways? I’ll be the first to admit that I was very ignorant of all this – ignorant and naive. I’d never thought about menopause at all until it was happening to me, and I certainly didn’t make any connection between it and my running. I just attributed my slowing down to the fact that I had put on weight, and that I thought was purely because of my very stressful job. Likewise, I assumed that the increased niggles and injuries I was getting were because I was heavier. It was only with hindsight that I realised that may not have been the cause.

It’s only since I started the ‘Running through menopause’ Facebook group that I’ve really started to appreciate just how many ways the hormonal changes that menopause brings can impact on running. The list is long, and ever growing; it seems like every week I learn of something new to add. Some of the effects are experienced by many, and some by just a few, but it seems that few women experience their running being completely unaffected.

So, in no particular order, here are some of the most common ways that hormonal changes impact on running. Some you may be aware of, some may be new, and as it’s far from an exhaustive list, you may have your own to add too. Whatever the impact menopause is having on your running, you are not alone, that’s for sure. Someone else out there will be experiencing it too.

  • increased fatigue
  • muscle loss (and therefore loss of strength, power and acceleration)
  • body fat gain
  • weight gain
  • loss of balance (leading to increased tripping over)
  • increased recovery time needed
  • intolerance to sugary sports drinks and foods
  • loss of awareness of thirst
  • loss of motivation
  • increased injury risk to muscles, tendons, tissues and bones
  • thermo-regulation (overheating or being too cold)
  • slowing down
  • GI issues
  • loss of self-confidence and self-belief
  • itchy skin
  • anxiety
  • loss of bladder control / needing to pee more often
  • poor sleep
  • menstrual flooding
  • increased aches and pains

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