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Should I sync my training to my cycle?

People talking about syncing training to your cycle has become more common. But is it worth doing?

I have outlined some of the potential benefits and downsides below to help you make a more informed decision.

The potential benefits

  • Some research suggests you may be able to make better training adaptations by doing certain types of training at certain points in the cycle. For example, doing more strength or high intensity training during the follicular phase or doing endurance-based training during the luteal phase.

  • For people with severe cycle-related symptoms, especially when on their period, the periodisation of their training may support them training hard when they feel able to and rest when they need to.

The potential downsides

  • More research is needed! The research is relatively limited, and in studies that have taken place, there exists a large amount of individual differences between female participants.

  • You train based on how you should feel, rather than how you actually feel. If the research says I should be doing high intensity training during the follicular phase, but I feel quite fatigued, should I just do it anyway?! Probably not. Resting is likely to be the best thing you can do in that situation.

  • We may feel unprepared to race on our period. Whether you experience cycle-related symptoms or not, racing while on your period is a less than ideal situation for most women. But the mantra ‘don’t try anything new on race day’ applies to this situation too. Think about your race-day nutrition - you would try the gels and food you intend to have on race day in training so you know how your body responds to it. If you do not do harder training sessions while on your period, you may find it more difficult to race on your period because you may not have explored the remedies and methods to support you on race day.

Personally, I have chosen not to sync my training to my cycle, although I do take it into consideration. The main reason why I don’t is because I need to be ready to race at any point in my cycle. I admit, sometimes it is a bit of a challenge, but I make adjustments and do my best.

Would you consider syncing your training to your cycle?

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