For many years, women’s menstrual cycles were seen as having a negative impact on training, and if a woman lost her period, it was a sign of fitness. We now know, of course, that this is not true, and that women can actually train with their cycles to improve athletic performance. To make training according to your cycle easier, there are a few apps available to help female athletes track their periods, monitor their symptoms, and know when to ramp their training up and when to back off.
In addition to the usual features you would find in a period tracking app (cycle and ovulation tracking, etc.), FitrWoman includes a variety of features that are specifically for active women. It explains each of the menstrual cycle phases, tells you which one you’re in, what you might expect symptom-wise during that phase and how to adjust your training to match your phases. Other features include:
- Recipes and nutrition tips
- Sleep tips
- Period log
- Symptom log
- Notes section
- Integrates with Strava
The app is free (but does contain some paid features), is very comprehensive and offers coaching services as well. The only downside to the app is that the training recommendations based on your cycle appear to be static and generic, so don’t expect to get new or different information every month. It also doesn’t provide any visualizations of your menstrual cycle data, symptoms or other information you’re hoping to track.
WILD.AI is relatively new to the scene and allows active, naturally-cycling women to track their menstrual cycles, training, symptoms, health and wellbeing all in one space. It was developed by experts in female physiology, who are also athletes.
The app allows runners to log their training sessions according to type, time and intensity, will provide pre, during and post-exercise nutrition and recovery tips, and help you modify your training according to your cycle. Other features include:
- In-depth physiological information about your cycle phases and training, nutrition, recovery, mental state and supplementation needs.
- The data page tells you where you’re at in your cycle at any given time (i.e. day 25 of 28, or mid-luteal day 4 out of 7)
- Your tracked metrics (like cycle phase and period symptoms) are summarized in easily-readable graphs
- A check-in function reminds you to log your symptoms each day to track things like sleep, injury and illness, mood, stress, gut function and readiness to train, along with period symptoms
- The app syncs with both Garmin and Training Peaks
- There’s a team version available for coaches to track multiple athletes
The only con to the WILD.AI app is that while it is free, some of the training and nutrition features are paywalled (although they are quite affordable, at $63.99 per year or $7.49 per month). For many female runners looking to unlock their potential and train effectively with their monthly cycles, the cost may be worth it.
This program is targeted toward coaches who are working with female athletes. It allows the athletes themselves to their menstrual cycle-related symptoms every morning and monitors for irregularities or medical issues. Any potential problems are automatically flagged by the system, and automated alerts and the dashboard highlight the athlete who requires attention and offers proactive recommendations. Other features include:
- Alerts when athletes are at risk for issues like RED-S, possible PCOS or other menstrual cycle-related medical issues
- Charts and graphs allow coaches and healthcare professionals to easily interpret risk and monitor the menstrual cycles of their athletes
This is an excellent tool for coaches who have multiple athletes since it allows them to track all their runners in one place. It is not designed for individual use, however, and is not free, so likely won’t be your first choice if you’re just looking for something for yourself.