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It’s that time of the month again for me. I feel sluggish, have weird and wonderful cravings, and if I’m not careful I can be inexplicably irritable. Yes, kids, I’m about to have my period. But I’m also right in the middle of my seventh week of training for a marathon.
In a previous post, I got a question about using tampons on those red-letter days. RunsNRoses said, “Does using a tampon make any difference? I’ve never tried using one and I do avoid running on red-letter days. I can only imagine maybe its less uncomfy using a tampon rather than sanitary napkin?”
Ever since I learned how to use tampons, it’s been so much easier for me to continue training right through even the heaviest of days. Yes, tampons are more comfortable than sanitary napkins when it comes to running (or doing anything athletic) on those days. And they are definitely more convenient. Let me explain why.
Basically, a tampon is a mass of absorbent material bound together into a capsule shape and inserted into the vaginal canal. To make insertion easier, they usually come with a disposable applicator. For safety and for ease of removal, a string is attached to the tampon. If inserted correctly (this comes with practice and is easier with an applicator), you’re not even supposed to feel the tampon is there.
This design gives a tampon certain advantages over a napkin when it comes to freedom of movement and activity, particularly for athletic women like me. A tampon doesn’t rub against the inner thigh, so I don’t experience chafing when I’m running or cycling, and when I stretch or do yoga I can get into any pose I choose to do without discomfort. It absorbs menstrual fluid more directly, so there’s much less chance of a leak staining my clothes (soooo chaka!) or attracting sharks if I’m swimming in open water (Heaven forbid). And it’s discreet, so nobody ever knows I’m on my period even if I’m wearing a trisuit or compression tights.
Some years ago I could barely scrounge up a tampon in the Philippines. I’m glad that they’ve become much easier to find on supermarket shelves — and in a variety of absorbencies, too, so I can use Super Absorbency tampons on my first few days, and go to Regular Absorbency on the light days. (I still can’t help wanting to hoard boxes, though. I was in Boracay a few weeks ago and saw a whole shelf of Playtex tampons. I just barely held myself back from buying three boxes!)
I only use tampons during active days, though — each one lasts about 4 to 6 hours before needing to be changed. After my workout and at bedtime I switch back to napkins. A box of eight tampons (that go for around P125) could last a while. The convenience and comfort is worth it.
I’ve got six weeks and one more menstrual period to go until my next marathon. Thanks to tampons, I won’t miss a week of training.