As someone who was known as “the girl who got her period back” for a while, I have never actually addressed periods on my podcast until now. In this two-part episode with WUKA founder Ruby Raut as well as coach, physician and researcher Megan Roche.
Ruby was born in Nepal, and shared her experience as a young girl who would got sent to her aunt’s house during her period and would not be allowed to talk to any boys or men. That experience internalized a shame in Ruby that she was determined to bring out into the light. Ruby founded WUKA, the UKs first period pants brand, and while I have no affiliation to the brand, I am inspired by Ruby and all she has done to change the conversation and look after our planet (especially as the brand was started in my hometown…which I did not realize till we talked in the interview!).
In part 2, Meg and I discuss the logistics of running on a period. Does it help or hinder your running? What period products are options for runners? And most importantly, how do we stop feeling embarrassed about something that 50% of the population goes through every month. I also ask her how the heck ultra-marathoners do it!
This episode was long overdue, and I really believe it will be valuable to runners. Take a listen.
Ruby is originally from Nepal and now lives in St. Albans, England (Tina’s hometown). She is the co-founder and CEO of WUKA, the UK’s 1st period underwear brand. Ruby is an environmentalist at heart and is doing her part in making it easier for women to have access to period products that don’t harm our planet.
When she was young, Ruby shared about the experience of getting her first period. In Nepal, her mom made her a makeshift pad with an old saris cut into squares. Then she got sent to her aunt’s house and during her period was not allowed to see boys or men, be out in the sun, or leave the house.
Ruby shares how the taboo around periods in Nepal is very strong but even after moving to the UK, she realized that even with more access to disposable menstruation products, there was still shame around periods.
Ruby saw this as an opportunity to tackle the period taboo and the environmental factor that comes with single-use menstruation products. That’s why WUKA was born– as a sustainable solution to period products and is on a mission to make them accessible to everyone who needs them.
As a coach, physician, and researcher, Megan Roche (previously on R4R episode 109) sees many athletes who come talk to her about their menstrual cycle. She shares that the number one thing is taboo. That many athletes have trouble vocalizing what they are experiencing
“I’ve seen that a lot more coaches, especially due to the work by Stacy Sims, who highlights kind of training around the menstrual cycle training, with the menstrual cycle. There are more and more coaches just straight out asking athletes and talking about the menstrual cycle as this very early conversation in the coaching process,” Megan says.
For example, before starting your period, there’s a phase many people feel tired and bloated. But a lot of athletes know that when you get your period, you’re primed and ready for competition.
Megan shares that her husband, David, is a coach to many female athletes and creates an open environment about the topic. Because if a coach understands how you’re feeling around the menstrual cycle-related to performance it can help them contextualize the importance of it.
When it comes to long Ultra races, Megan explains that period blood is just like other bodily fluids. People just have to be prepared for it and understand it’s just another variable on the day. Changing tampons or silicone cups during trail races is part of it. She also says it can be helpful to use a chafing cream such as Squirrel’s Nut Butter as well as packing an extra pair of shorts.
Learn more about WUKA
Listen to Megan Roche’s podcast, The Happy Runner
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Thank you to my wonderful sponsors goodr, Generation UCAN, and Momentous for sponsoring this episode of the Running for Real Podcast.
I have been a fan of goodr for YEARS and I literally have their sunglasses all over my house. I recently had an episode with the Co-Founder Stephen Lease where he talks about the true and real story behind his company and I appreciate him being honest with me about it. The design behind these sunglasses really takes into consideration of look and comfort. They are 100% carbon neutral and a part of 1% for the planet and protect many great organizations who care for our planet deeply.
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Thank you Generation UCAN, I have been talking about them for years and my ONLY source for fueling while I am training and racing. And without fail I have had a product of UCAN every day, whether it is a peanut butter chocolate bar or their delicious cookies and cream protein powder. They have even introduced a new super starch granola that has been in the works for quite awhile. It is delicious and just what you need for a little snack. It gives you a steady energy without the sugar, so there are no sugar high or crashes!
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Thank you to Ruby and Megan, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.