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

Menstrual cycle phase and running economy

WILLIAMS, TRACY J.; KRAHENBUHL, GARY S.

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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.

©1997The American College of Sports Medicine

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