TR training plan to work with the menstrual cycle

When are women going to be able to plug in menstrual cycle details when creating their TR plan so that their training works with, rather than against, their hormone phases?
I set out to do today’s scheduled workout which was some 5min threshold pyramids which looked very achievable but once on the bike I was really struggling. I checked the advice on wild.ai for the kind of workouts I should be doing at this point in my cycle and changed to another more suitable session.
Although dr Stacy Sims and co are educating people on why women’s training needs to be different from men’s, the industry is still really behind when it comes to women’s training, so come on TrainerRoad - lead the way.

The current state of the art is that there is no compelling evidence to support a cycle-based approach to training, nutrition, or performance. The best recommendations we have is that individualization should occur based on how the athlete feels in different phases of her cycle. We strongly encourage athletes to track their cycles. That said, there is tons of nuance to the hormonal physiology in a cycle that cannot be understood simply based on bleeding patterns.

It is important to remember that many people in this field are selling products. They have a vested interest in overstating the current knowledge to make $$ while simultaneously praying on the insecurities of women about their cycle.

Kirsty Elliott-Sale in the UK is a world-leader in this field. This recent review spearheaded by her team is the best summary of the current evidence: The Effects of Menstrual Cycle Phase on Exercise Performance in Eumenorrheic Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis - PubMed

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As a woman training and racing at the domestic pro level in the U.S., the best advice from what I know about myself and my friends/racers, is that the menstrual cycle affects women in incredibly different ways. Whether you use hormonal birth control or not can also have a difference. How old you are, what kind of racing/training you do…all of it can have an impact.

For me, I know that the 7-10 days before the start of the follicular phase (when I start bleeding) I have a decreased ability to recover, as well as a decrease in my ability for high intensity. Don’t get me wrong – these changes in my abilities are subtle and only because I’m training hard and hyper-aware of my body am I able to track it this distinctly.

That being said, I know other female athletes who see zero meaningful change over their cycle, some who feel great right before their period starts, others who take birth control to counteract the changes they do see, and some who have drastic changes over the month. There’s no one way that a woman is going to be during her cycle, which is what makes a cookie-cutter approach downright impossible. I don’t actually use TR (…just stalk the forums…) but I’d recommend spending a couple months trying to figure out how your body changes, and then alter your training plan accordingly. If you work with a coach outside of TR, good coaches can also help you dig into this part of training.

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Intervals.icu (my app) supports menstrual cycle tracking and a bunch of other wellness data points along with ride/run etc. analysis. You can use it with TR to try figure out what works for you.

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Thanks for your comments all.
I bashed my original post out straight after feeling like a bit of a failure on the turbo and in hindsight I just need to be kinder to myself. I do know my menstrual cycle pretty well and how I feel/what I can achieve during the various phases.
I just always want to be on an upward trajectory but I’ve got to factor in that if I hit the high intensities in the 5-7 days before the 1st phase of my cycle I’m going to struggle to recover and risk not being able to perform for the next workout. I guess I was just looking for something/someone to blame. At least with TRs adaptive training I can make changes to my programme, focus on longer, less intense sessions in the late luteal phase and then be ready to ramp up the intensity on day 1. I am never happier than when I see day 1 proof!!
Only problem now is that I’m quite likely to be hitting peri-menopause soon and that’s a whole other ball game!

Is your app available in Europe? It doesn’t seem to come up in the App Store for me

I don’t think it exists as a phone app. I use the website https://intervals.icu/

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