As you may have seen, I was recently training for a hyrox competition. I normally train with a triathlon coach and although I did consider hiring a hyrox coach at first, I decided  that going for a first Hyrox race and having only 7 weeks of training probably wasn’t really worth it.

So, I bought a standard plan instead and I adapted it to my own menstrual cycle. If you want a reminder of how best to train around your menstrual cycle then read this blog. In the end I didn’t compete as we had a friend’s funeral that day. So if you are looking for the race report, there isn’t one I am afraid.

If you really want to get a fully personalised training plan it is best to have a coach do it for you, but there are some tweaks you can make to an existing one. This is how I did it:

Calendar cycling a date as day 1 of the menstrual cycle

I track my cycle so I have a good idea of when I am feeling good and when not. If you do this, then it can already help with how to make adaptations. You can do this by noting in your electronic or paper diary, or you can use a period app like Clue or WildAI.

For example, I know that when my period starts, I can start training harder straight away, but some people need one or two days to feel the energy rise again. 

The main change I made to the programme was to create a recovery week before my period started. This is when we don’t feel so good and struggle to build and repair muscles (read the blog above for more details).

Recently at a talk on this subject, I realised that not everyone knows what a recovery week would entail, some thought it was doing no training at all, but that is not the case. A recovery week is a lighter training week.
So for example, I swapped an intense interval run for a very easy 45 minute run. If you are a regular runner this would be slower than your endurance/long slow runs, so might be a surprise to you how slow you should run. I also did some of the Hyrox training sessions that were in the plan, but dropped the intensity right down.

The extra benefit of this is that I could also really focus on my form on the exercises I was less familiar with. Another thing I did was skip some of the sets in the plan for that week. If you know that you still struggle with training on day 1-2 of your period then you would extend that recovery into those days. Then you can adapt the plan so when your period starts, and you know the day you are feeling strong again, you can start some strong hard workouts again.

If you would like to work with a trainer who has a better understanding of how your energies eb and flow during the month email me for a free 30 minute session

Some people also feel a bit flat when they ovulate (around day 14). If you track your cycle this is something you can note each month and see what the pattern is. This would also be a time to add a day or two of easier training. You might manage to move some days around to make this work but be thoughtful of this as you don’t end up missing rest days or create too many hard days back to back. I don’t experience this so I didn’t do this myself.

What you can also do when you adapt a plan, whether for Hyrox, triathlon or running, is find a plan with 4 week blocks. They should include a recovery week every 4 weeks so you could try to make it match your cycle, i.e. put your recovery week of the plan before the start of your cycle. Unfortunately this only really works well for people with 28 day cycles. Longer or shorter will take a bit more work to adapt.

Hopefully this gives you some thoughts on how to train for your next big event!

Author: Lorna Wilson

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