Tracking your period is important for many reasons, including your health in general and of course your athletic performance. And tracking doesn’t just mean a red dot in your diary on the days you bleed, the more detail, such as your mood, physical symptoms, energy levels, food cravings and sleep quality you track and record, the more useful period tracking will become.
I never used to track my period, I can’t believe no one ever suggested I should?! I don’t think my mum ever did, we didn’t really talk about periods and cycles then. I didn’t even do it properly when I was planning to get pregnant. Only since I’ve become deeply interested in female physiology and hormones, have I started tracking my period. I can’t believe how disconnected I used to be from my cycle.
You must begin tracking your period in detail at any age from puberty when your period starts until your periods have completely stopped post menopause. This is an absolutely vital first step for your hormonal balance. Listen to your body, recognise and acknowledge how you feel and make as many notes as you can on different stages of your cycle.
You will soon be so much more in tune to your cycle, and this will allow you to exploit your cyclical changes to better understanding how you feel as well as for understanding the variations in training, food intake and sleep across your cycle.
I started by just writing a few notes in my regular diary at first, and I actually think this is nice, simple personal and effective way (can almost become part of your journaling). This way, you can add notes about your emotions and whatever pops in your head and when you look back, it can be fun and eye opening to see interesting, fun and sometimes disturbing notes you make in different phases of your cycle.
This is an entry in my tracker notebook from some time ago: “I hate light today, so my curtains are closed and lights are dimmed. My boobs are big, sore and uncomfortable. Poor mum, I wasn’t very nice.. I shouldn’t have rung her”. Easy to guess where I was in my cycle when I wrote this ;)
Tracking your period with Period Tracker Apps is probably the most popular option in this day and age and there is definitely one best fitting app for each of us out there.
I haven’t tried many myself, I use the free version of “Clue” at the moment and I like it a lot. It lets you track literally everything from what your hair is doing and how much sleep you’re getting during different stages of your cycle.
Did you know that we women have around 450 menstrual cycles over a lifetime? Monitoring and understanding how we feel when our hormones fluctuate across each cycle can really help us understand our unique patterns.
Remember, we are all different and once you know your unique self well, you will be able to cherish your hormone interplay and adapt your lifestyle to your unique feminine physiology.