Saturday, 12 March, marked one month since I started running, and in those four weeks, I covered about 35 kilometers. To celebrate the occasion, my instructor recommended that I walk for 2 kilometers to warm up for the ‘mommy race’ to be held at Hanaan’s Sports Day the following day. I spent the Saturday in Darling instead, attending close friends’ wedding and stuffing my face with dessert. That brownie though. 

I digress…

Zahraa and I after our first run on Monday. My eyes were sweating.
After my first run on 12 February 2016

Besides the 12 February being the day I set foot on the track, it also marks the last time I got my period. In 17 years, I have never missed a period, other than when I was pregnant, so I realised that running may have affected my body and my menstrual cycle. I know that under-fueling is real and that when the input and metabolic expenditure do not add up, a side effect can be secondary amenorrhea.

I’ve been reading up about secondary amenorrhea, which is going from a normal cycle to the absence of it for six months or more. This side effect is more common that I thought, and there are many females who experience this. Surely, this can’t be good in the long run though, even though the thought of not having a period is exciting.

I was naturally concerned, since I took a pregnancy test on Monday evening and it was negative. I spoke to my doctor the very next morning, who advised me to cut back on running just a little bit, and aim to run twice a week, at a pace I’m comfortable with, instead of four times a week.

According to Runner’s World, it can take a few months, to over a year to stabilise your body’s system and regain a normal cycle again. Based on their recommendations, this is what I’ll be doing to naturally ‘heal’ my body after the shock to the system:

  • Truly understand my energy consumption and my expenditure by keeping a spreadsheet.
  • I’ve set a new training routine: twice a week, for 3 to 4 kilometers a day. Sticking to this will help my body adjust to its new schedule.
  • Increasing my calorie intake with healthier foods.
  • Be present to my body and its needs.
  • See a doctor regularly to make sure I’m getting everything I need.

If you’re a female runner, who has/had experience with this, please share your advice with me? When this happened, did you continue to run? Did your exercise routine change? Did you regain your cycle? Anything at this point, even encouragement to continue, will be appreciated.

Thank you for reading and sharing with me.

Me winning the ‘mommy race’ which was the very last time I ran.