This is something I've been meaning to blog about for a while, as I really notice the stark differences in how I feel - both physically and mentally, at different stages of my cycle. There are times when I feel amazing, have a great workout, race or training run, and other times when I feel a weak, floppy mess! Rather than beat myself up about it or get annoyed with the 'pathetic' feeling days, I looked in to what is going on with my body and how I should respond in a way that's going to help - both with my fitness but also my understanding of what's going on! So in answer to the question - should you adapt your training to your menstrual cycle? Yes definitely if you are one of the many women who do experience fluctuations in energy levels, emotions and strength when going about your daily life and workouts.
So, how would you go about this? Below I've set out in a table the main stages of the cycle, what is going on with your body and the physiological changes during each stage, and how you might adapt your training and nutrition to best support your body and your fitness objectives along the way. It is based on a generic 28 day cycle (mine is only 24), so just there for you as a guide. I hope it helps you to understand your body a bit more too!
In practical terms, I typically train my hardest in the first part of my cycle (heavier lifts, faster or longer running intervals at pace), and take it a bit more easy in the latter. I still work out but just lower the intensity (lighter weights but more reps, flexibility, unilateral work, endurance). I also like to race in the first part of the cycle, but I'm usually outside of this!
I've also recently discovered the Fitr woman app. Key in your cycle dates and it will plot the phases of your cycle out for you - I find mine is slightly out in terms of how I feel, but I do use it as a guide to inform my training and nutrition choices. (I use some of the recipes too!)