BIG Women's Index

From sports bras to shoes, managing menstrual symptoms to easing back into running post-pregnancy - here's everything you need to know to run long, happy and strong


Posted: 11 September 2009

It might seem like gender isn't a big deal in the world of running. But even though men and women line up in the same races, with similar kit and an identical will to win, being a female runner can be a little different.

Women have a different biomechanic structure to men, which means different shoes - and different injuries - and physical changes like pregnancy and the menopause are likely to affect your training.

Whether you're taking your first tentative steps into the world of running or you're a seasoned pro, we've gathered together everything you need to know as a woman on the run.


Essential Reads

These handy articles are packed with tips on finding the time - and the trainers - to start running.

30 Things Every Woman Should Know
The more you know about training, nutrition and health, the better you’ll be at getting the most from your running, whether that means fitness, weight loss, great race performances or just plain fun. Here are 30 top tips, crammed full of useful information to help you reach your goals.

Women's Running Survival Guide
Balance being a woman and a runner, and you'll take control of your body - and your life. This is the ultimate guide to surviving periods, pregnancy, cramps or just an over-stuffed calendar...

Balancing Act
Is training yet another item on a long to-do list? This article will help you carve out time for training.


Kit

Shoes
The dark days of designing "shrink and pink" women's running shoes are over - shoe manufacturers are now coming up trumps with shoes that support women's unique biomechanics. Women are more likely to overpronate, have a narrower heel than men and usually weigh less than men, which usually translates to stability shoes with less cushioning, a narrower sole and flexible forefoot. Get the perfect fit - find your ideal shoe with the RW shoe finder.

Sports Bras
A supportive sports bra is one of the most important pieces of running kit a female runner can buy - track down your perfect fit with our Guide to Choosing a Sports Bra. You can read plenty of reader reviews in our Gear section too.

Ladies' Wear
There was a time when women's kit wasn't up to much. That time has passed, so grab this guide to women's kit - the perfect excuse for a shopping trip!


Health

Being a woman can mean a slightly different running style - and some unique health and injury challenges.

Women's Health
Apart from the injuries that plague all runners - shin splints, black toenails, tendonitis - some health issues are reserved exclusively for ladies. Learn more about some of the most common health issues affecting female runners.

Split the Difference
Become anatomically aware with this brief guide to the effects of sex on a runner's body, from skeletal structure to muscle mass.


Fertility & Pregnancy

It’s a fact! Fit mums have healthier pregnancies, easier deliveries, and smarter and healthier babies. And you could actually emerge from the experience of pregnancy a stronger runner.

During pregnancy, your body will become more efficient at circulating oxygen for you and your baby - your blood volume will be boosted by as much as 40 percent and your resting heart rate could rise by as much as 15 bpm. So keeping up gentle runs while pregnant and after the birth means you can make the most of these fitness gains.

Running and Fertility: The Facts
Hoping to hear the patter of tiny feet alongside your own? Here's the lowdown on how running may affect your conception intentions.

Two For The Road
There's no need to retire to the sofa for nine months - here's how to maintain your fitness ready for a healthy, happy birth and baby.

It Won't Change My Running!
If you're running for two, check out Runner's World readers' first-hand experience of running through pregnancy - and prepare to be surprised.

Eating for Two
RW’s US Nutrition Editor, Liz Applegate, hands out top tips to keep your body in tune and in its best condition for your baby.

Reader to Reader: Running and Pregnancy
Should you train with a bun in the oven? Here's what you thought.

Reader to Reader: Running Mummy
How soon after having a baby should you don your running shoes? Here's what you thought.


Back Into The Swing

As any distance runner knows, our sport is often a case mind over matter. And women who've been through the pain of childbirth are more than well equipped to dig deep during tough patches in races or long runs.

When you're getting ready to pull your trainers on again, life might seem to have utterly changed. But you can still find time for running. Here's how:

Life After Birth
These three real-life runners discovered that giving birth can even improve your running.

The Right Start
Here’s how to make your children full of beans for running, without becoming a pushy parent.


Q & A

Our experts are on hand to answer your real-life training and health questions. Here are a few of the highlights just for women:

You'll also find stacks of useful information in our BIG Q+A Index.


Women Talk

Our busy, friendly forums are at the heart of the UK running community. Start your own thread, or check out these long-running threads:


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