Menstrual cycle phase and running economy

WILLIAMS, TRACY J.; KRAHENBUHL, GARY S.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
Applied Sciences: Biodynamics
Abstract

Menstrual cycle phase and running economy. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 29, No. 12, pp. 1609-1618, 1997. To further elucidate the relationship between RE and menstrual cycle phase, eight eumenorrheic moderately-trained female runners were studied throughout their menstrual cycles, which were divided into five phases: early follicular (EF), late follicular (LF), early luteal (EL), mid-luteal (ML), and late luteal (LL). Subjects were studied at rest and while running at speeds initially corresponding to 55% and 80% maximal oxygen consumption (˙VO2max). Ventilation (L·min-1) was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in ML compared with EF during all three conditions (mean ± SE)(rest: 12.4 ± 0.7 vs 10.3 ± 0.8; 55% ˙VO2max: 46.2± 0.9 vs 42.2 ± 1.4; and 80% ˙VO2max: 68.8 ± 3.0 vs 63.3 ± 2.0 L·min-1, respectively). Resting˙VO2 (mL·kg-1·min-1) was significantly(P < 0.05) higher in ML (4.8 ± 0.1) compared with EF (3.9± 0.2). Profile of Mood States (POMS) total mood disturbance (TMD) and three subscale (depression, fatigue, and confusion) scores were also significantly higher during ML compared with EF; TMD: 127 ± 6.0 vs 104± 6.0; depression: 6 ± 1.4 vs 3 ± 1.4; fatigue: 9± 1.0 vs 4 ± 0.9; and confusion: 7 ± 0.9 vs 5 ± 1.2, respectively. The POMS vigor subscale score was significantly lower during ML (11 ± 1.5) when compared with EF (19 ± 0.7). RE at speeds corresponding to 55% ˙VO2max was not significantly different between phases of the menstrual cycle. RE at speeds corresponding to 80%˙VO2max was, however, significantly less (higher ˙VO2) during ML (41.4 ± 0.8 mL·kg-1min-1) than EF (40.2± 0.5 mL·kg-1·min-1). It was concluded that RE at speeds corresponding to 80% ˙VO2max in moderately-trained female runners covaries independently with ventilatory drive changes and with fluctuations in mood state which occur throughout the menstrual cycle.

Author Information

Exercise and Sport Research Institute, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287

Submitted for publication March 1996

Accepted for publication May 1997.

©1997The American College of Sports Medicine