8 tips for female masters triathletes
As you get closer to menopause (the date of your last period) you might start to notice some changes with your training and recovery.
These are my top tips for athletes approaching menopause, to enable you to keep performing well, enjoying triathlon, and being active.
Fuel for your sessions.
Going into your training under-fuelled causes problems, with muscle growth and repair, and can also raise cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
In peri-menopause we sometimes have raised levels of cortisol, and training also elevates this hormone. By going in to sessions under fuelled we are not giving our bodies the best chance of growth and repair.
Eat a snack containing protein before and after long, or hard sessions to help you get the benefits from your training.
Eat a balanced diet
You’ve heard it before, but you really need to be mindful of the affect that food has on your overall health and well-being. You might notice certain foods don’t work for you anymore.
In general you want to eat a fibre rich diet, with a high proportion of fruit and vegetables, making sure you get enough protein at different points during the day.
Try to eat some form of protein at every meal.
Rest and recover
When you sleep you release growth hormone, so if you’re not getting enough sleep then you won’t adapt as well.
This may mean you have to get to bed earlier, or sleep in later, or maybe add in short naps. It will depend on your lifestyle and habits, but
getting enough sleep will help you to reduce cortisol levels and adapt to your training.
Talking of adapting, you may need to adapt your training sessions. This can be a really challenging thing to do, especially if you have been training for many years and you are used to your body being able to handle a certain load.
Listening to your body can help you to train smarter, and feel better in training, yes there are times when you might need to push through, but if you are struggling through session after session, you need to look at changing things up,
by taking a rest day, or making a session lighter based on how you feel.
To help you adapt and transition through this time, (yes remember it is a transition, this state of hormone fluctuation won’t last forever) tracking can help you.
It may seem like there is no pattern because the patterns you have got used to in your cycle have changed, but you may find by noting down feelings, muscle soreness, and fatigue levels that some of these things recur.
It can help a lot to know that you may feel a certain way at a certain time, then you can take steps to be prepared, and
take the pressure off yourself at that particular time.
Include strength training
As you get older muscle mass decreases, and if you don’t do any strength training it’s going to decrease even more quickly.
There are so many benefits to lifting weights, it’s important to include strength work during the week.
Lots of women tell me they don’t like the gym or are intimidated by the environment, but when you look at the positives it’s worth getting in to the habit of using weight training to supplement your other training.
Mix it up
Try something new. Remember that feeling of doing your first triathlon? Sometimes we can lose the joy along the way. Learning a new skill or adding a new sport might just be what you need if you feel stuck in a rut, and has lots of health benefits.
We need to exercise our minds as well as our bodies.
You may have been able to get away with burning the candle at both ends before, but with already raised levels of cortisol if you don’t recognise signs that you need to de-stress, you can start feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
I love using breathing techniques and yoga as my de-stress,
but there are other ways for example watching comedy, seeing a friend, or some kind of repetitive activity like crocheting, or colouring can help take you away from screen distractions and stresses
Let me know what’s worked for you, and how things have changed during peri-menopause.
What are your tips for athletes approaching menopause?
Did you know my coaching packages are all designed with women in mind?
We schedule specific strength sessions for different times in your life, along with regular reset sessions, to de-stress. You can find out more about coaching here