How athletes manage their rules during training, competitions

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When the female athletes take the start and put on a spectacular show, we celebrate. But have you wondered how they run that long distance or short run during their period?

How athletes cope during their period is one of those topics that cross fans’ minds during races and training, but which is whispered in training camps.

A week ago, the “sensitive” topic was brought up at an athlete talk gala in Eldoret after marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge asked female athletes to speak candidly about the uncomfortable time, which can sometimes last up to five days, according to gynecologists.

“Can you tell us how you participate in running errands during your menstrual period?” As senior female athletes you should tell us what’s going on. We are men and we have young girls who will want to be athletes one day, ”asked former 800m world champion Janeth Jepkosgei and former steeplechase champion Milcah Chemos.

Jepkosgei, who switched to training, described the “bad days” as the most difficult for female athletes, especially juniors.

The former Olympic silver medalist recounted how, as a young athlete, she braved a menstrual moment during her first international outing at the world junior championships in Kingston, Jamaica.

“It was my first international outing and things took a turn for the worse. I managed to win the junior race despite being in my bad days. I had to be brave and talked to my coach and my doctor about it, ”Jepkosgei told the athletes who represented the county at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Jepkosgei, who founded Kapchemoiywo Junior Athletics training camp in Nandi County, said a doctor would prescribe a pill that would delay the timing or minimize the pain associated with menstruation for her whenever she competed for or before the bad days.

She said that in several cases, doctors are advising female athletes to withdraw from competitions, even when presented as the favorites of the race.

To the young women, she said, “Talk about it. Imagine that you are in the final of the Olympic Games and that you are living this moment. ”

She says monthly periods come with pain and sudden emotional changes resulting from hormonal imbalances.

“I deal with junior athletes and I have to deal with a lot of issues regarding their social life and their body,” she says.

Jepkosgei, brimming with wisdom, asked young athletes to start conceiving and having babies at the end of their careers.

“Maternity leave is a time to reflect. I had my child late in my career and took the opportunity to further my education through online courses,” Jepkosgei said.

According to Athletics Kenya athlete representative Milcah Chemos, this time of the month is the most difficult for an athlete.

The former world champion in the 3,000 m steeplechase coupled with a teenage pregnancy, the situation is getting even worse.

“For female athletes who can muster the courage to compete during their period, there are specially designed panties to use while running,” says Chemos.

Chemos adds: “The best thing, especially for a young athlete, is to talk about it. We talk about this issue quietly in training camps and before competitions.

She said many young athletes are embarrassed to talk about the monthly and natural experience that fear stigma.

On the issue of early marriages among junior female athletes, Chemos said Athletic Kenya is working on measures to end the threat in training camps.

“Many young athletes have disappeared after teenage pregnancies. We’re doing something that will see the suspects arrested. You will soon be reading and watching what we are doing to save our young athletes from teenage pregnancies, ”she said.

“As a senior athlete, I prefer to look for the best possible way to get this medal or to win both for you as an athlete and for the country as a whole,” she said.

Dr Fredrick Kairithia, obstetrician and gynecologist from TUC, Kenya Anti-Doping Agency (ADAK), explains that for an active athlete this time of the month is a psychological and emotional aspect that affects performance.

Fortunately, says the gynecologist, most athletes do not experience heavy, painful flow from their daily exercise.

But he warns against the use of pills to postpone monthly periods by female athletes, saying a number of drugs contain steroids, banned by World Athletics’ World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

“I advise athletes not to use over-the-counter drugs. I urge them to see a doctor for exceptional therapeutic use of the pills.

“Using such drugs without a doctor’s advice will lead to athletes testing positive for banned substances even without knowing it,” said Dr Kairithia.

He asks athletic enthusiasts to empathize with female athletes when they unexpectedly produce poor results, even when they are the favorites.

According to Dr. Kairithia, female athletes will not attribute poor performance in races to menstruation, but instead will cite an upset stomach or just poor health after giving up or finishing in less good positions.

“Sometimes it is necessary for the athletes to withdraw. Sometimes a female athlete can run a full marathon without any discomfort, ”explains the doctor.

He continues, “It’s good to understand, empathize and support female athletes. Sometimes they will politely tell you that they have withdrawn from races for personal reasons.


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