Taking Control of Irregular Periods
By Fitness Ambassador Jacky Hunt-Broersma
I was so excited when Garmin introduced menstrual cycle tracking in Garmin Connect. Menstrual cycles are something we as women don’t talk about enough, but your cycle can really impact your training as an athlete. I have an irregular cycle, and it can make training really difficult. Since I started logging and tracking my symptoms and cycles, I am more in tune with my body, and I’ve already noticed some positive changes in my training and nutrition. Here are some of my favorite features within Garmin menstrual cycle tracking and how they’ve helped me:
I love the insights you get during each phase. It so useful to know what makes symptoms worse or when training will be harder and what I should do to make it easier, or how to help relieve symptoms. I even get recommendations for what to eat during different parts of my cycle.
The most surprising insight was that excess stress can make your cramps worse. Now I make sure I have time to myself to breathe and re-center. The most useful insight I’ve gotten was that my body is primed for maximum strength, speed and power at the start of my cycle, making it the best time to focus on more challenging workouts. I’ve even learned to adjust my training to help me cope with the heat. I couldn’t understand why some days I would do really well running outside, but on other days, I would just struggle. Now that I’ve been recording my cycle in Garmin Connect, I know when to adapt my training to account for a higher internal body temperature. Who knew?!
Because I have an irregular cycle, it is so helpful to know when to expect periods. Some months, I’ve had it start twice, and being able to track it is really useful in trying to get my cycle more regular. It also helps me know when I can push my training harder. I’ve switched runs around when I know I’m going to have a heavy menstrual day or when I know I can handle more endurance training.
I love that I can add symptoms to each day. It helps me be more in tune with how I’m feeling — and not just physically. I can log my mental state and emotional changes, too. Sometimes I struggle with mood swings, and I always felt really guilty for how I was acting or feeling. Now that I make a note of my emotions daily, I feel more in control and not so guilty, because I know it is related to my cycle and how my hormones fluctuate.
Seeing how my hormones change throughout my cycle has also helped explain changes in my sleep, mood, metabolism and appetite. I’ve started noticing patterns and trends that have enabled me to make better choices. Knowing how my body changes during each phase of my cycle has helped me understand how I should train and has actually made training much easier. Menstrual cycle tracking in Garmin Connect is definitely helping me reach my goals and understand my body better. I think it can help you, too. Check out the Menstrual Cycle Tracking in Garmin Connect blog post to learn more about setting up the feature and downloading the Connect IQ app