Hi, I'm Dr. Bianca!


I’m a menopausal woman. I write about what it's like to get through the hormonal transition we’ve come to know as menopause. My intent is to help us all age together in the best and healthiest way possible. Let’s not suffer in silence. Let’s normalize the conversation. 


Organic Biodynamic Wine Subscription

Lumen Device: Hack Your Metabolism

Nutrisense: Continuous Glucose Monitoring System






“My bloat is gone!”

“I’m sleeping so much better!”

“My pants are looser!”

“This program is life-changing!”

“My coat is easier to zip!”

“I lost 12 pounds!”

“I love what this program is doing for me!”

Good news, ladies, you can efficiently run your first 5k during menopause despite the hot flashes, mood swings, and declining estrogen levels!

Being an older runner, it is a good idea to follow a solid training plan to skirt the risk of injury. Take it from me, I didn't start running until I was 43!

Any new goal can result in significant health benefits. So whether your intention is weight loss, increase in muscle mass, or grinning big as you cross the finish line, here is where you can begin with my help as your running coach!


Is Running Good For You During Menopause? 

Maintain Cardiovascular health

One of the significant health issues women face during and after menopause is heart disease. A life long of estrogen protects the heart. 

However, when estrogen declines, it no longer keeps the walls of the blood vessels strong, which could lead to blood clot formation and plaque build-up. 

Dr. Bianca running in mountains
  • Studies show that physical activity can reduce cardiovascular symptoms by 30 - 50% in menopausal women.

Boost your Bone Health

Women lose 1/3 of their bone density within the first 5 years of menopause! Therefore, running and other impact-type workouts are essential to reduce bone loss and improve overall bone health.

A study at the University of Exeter in the UK revealed that 1-2 minutes of vigorous exercise and high-intensity bursts are linked to better bone health in women. It also contributes to overall injury prevention and a decrease in osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

Running promotes the production of growth hormones and stimulates new bone formation, especially in weight-bearing bones. As a result, female athletes with higher bone density have a fewer risk of stress fractures than non-athletic postmenopausal women.

On average, women whose daily training routine consisted of 60-120 seconds of:

  • high intensity
  • weight bearing
  • strength training exercises

...had 4% better bone health than those who did less than a minute.

  • Running during menopause promotes the production of growth hormones and stimulates new bone to form! 

What Does Running Do For Menopausal Symptoms?

Have Fewer Hot Flashes

As a result of declining estrogen, a woman's body becomes very sensitive to the slightest changes in temperature. It can set off the internal alarm bells within the hypothalamus (our temperature control center) and make our brain think that "objects are hotter than they appear."

A study done in the Journal of Physiology showed that a consistent exercise routine during menopause can do the following:

Dr Bianca running in triathlon
  1. 1
    Reduces the intensity of how quickly the skin gets hot during a flash (you don't need to resemble a tomato!)
  2. 2
    Decreases the rate at which you sweat (you don't have to wring out your bras anymore!)
  3. 3
    Slows the rate of blood flow to the brain so you won't have massive anxiety or panic attacks before getting a hot flash!
  • A woman's heart rate can spike up to 25 beats per minute during a hot flash! A heart rate equivalent to fast sprinting!

Active Women Have less Belly Fat In Their Menopausal years

Estrogen influences fat distribution in a woman's body. Unfortunately, post-menopausal women typically experience weight gain and accumulation of fat around the waist area, commonly referred to as the "MenoPot".

In young people, the true gifts of our sex hormones is that of the pear shape. Perky boobs, tight butt, and a tiny waist.

Unfortunately, as estrogen production declines, that pear can resemble more of an apple. Sagging boobs, flat butt, and a wide waist.

The best way to reduce the midsection bulge is through a healthy lifestyle, including a running program. But, more importantly, short bouts of interval training, aka HIIT (high-intensity interval training) or SIT (sprint interval training). Small and powerful bursts of intense speed or power sprinkled into a run or walk-run program can be the key to shrinking the spare tire around your belly. 

Women with muffin top
  • Performing a HIIT workout 2 x per week for 16 weeks without restricting calories can reduce overall abdominal fat by 8% and deep abdominal fat by 24%. It is more effective than moderate-intensity continuous exercise.

Halt Your Heavy Periods

One of the most typical symptoms of menopause is crime scene-like periods. This is because a woman's hormones are responsible for the thickness of the uterine lining. As a woman ages and her hormones decline, ovulation lessens, leading to an irregular cycle.

The uterine lining gets very thick when there is a long or irregular time between menstruation. So, when it comes time to bleed, a lot of lining must be shed, leading to much blood loss.

90% of women that suffer from HMB (Heavy Menstrual Bleeding) are those that don't put physical activity at the top of their list.

Women going into menopause overweight or obese have more significant risks of bleeding heavy, prolonged cycles (lasting more than 10 days), anemia, and severe exhaustion.

  • Women who are highly active have 10% lower odds of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (HMB).

Get A Good Night's Sleep

Menopausal women know that sleep is a prized commodity

No one enjoys the blast of a heat wave at 3am. Ripping off your shirt should be done celebrating a world championship soccer win a la US Women's Soccer star, Brandi Chastain. Not in the middle of a swampy sheeted hot flashing nightmare.

Getting enough sleep is hard during menopause. Women typically do not get enough restorative sleep leading to grogginess, brain fog, and trouble with recovery. 

If you are suffering from nightly hot flashes, here are some best ways to bring your temperature down before you hit the sheets. 


Women insomnia and menopause
  • Add 1 oz of Tart Cherry juice to a glass of ice cold water 30 - 60 min before bedtime
  • Take a cool shower before putting yourself down to bed. 
  • If you are hungry before bedtime, grab a slice or two of turkey breast (tryptophan converts to melatonin, helping you to feel sleepy)

How Long Will It Take For Me to Train for My First 5K During Menopause?

The amount of time for any new runner depends on your fitness levels. For example, if you have been slug-like for a long time and get winded up the stairs, it might take you 10 - 12 weeks. 

On the other hand, if you are in good health and can give it a concerted effort, you can make this goal a reality in 6 - 8 weeks!

For your first time, ask yourself:

  • How much time per day/week are you willing to spend training?
  • Will you make this a priority in your day/week?
  • Are you ready to adopt a healthy diet to support your stress and recovery now?

Challenging the body to take on strenuous loads can be done but not without proper fueling. Therefore, adequate nutrition (like adding in more protein after your workout) and hydration (keeping those electrolytes in balance) are a MUST whenever beginning a new training program!

Eating right will fuel you for your runs and allow your body to recover between sessions. 


What Do I Do On Days I Don't Have To Run?

Every good training plan consists of days where you aren't running. Instead, these days incorporate exercises or movements that focus on keeping your muscle tissue and connective tissue pliable. 

Activities that focus on strength are also important. They are a great way to keep you from getting an overuse injury, which is most common in runners. 

Types of NonRunning Training

  1. Weight-bearing exercise - planks, yoga positions on all 4s, kettlebell swings, single or double-leg bridges
  2. Heavy lifting / heavy weights - dead-lifts, overhead press, back / front squats
  3. Resistance training - TRX, theraband walks
  4. Pilates - core stabilization, rotational movements
  5. Stretching/mobility - hamstring stretch, quadriceps stretch, hip flexor stretch, big toe stretch 
Strength Training for 5k In Menopause

Run Your First 5K: An 8 Week Plan

Here are THE ESSENTIAL things to know when following this plan:

  • Warm ups are IMPORTANT! They prime the joints and muscles for load bearing. They "warm you up" by increasing blood flow to your tissues and keeping you from getting injured! DON'T EVER SKIP THE WARM-UP
  • A cooldown helps to bring your heart rate back to baseline
  • Find the right shoes that fit you! Getting a professional sneaker fitting at a local running store can save you from injury. 
  • Do NOT wear your sneakers unless you are training or racing in them. The foam inside sneakers breaks down quickly from the heat of the foot and the pavement. Long runs, fast runs, or hard workouts can deform the shoe's sole, leaving you with a lack of support over time. 
  • Use this plan if you are an established runner returning from an injury. It will be a tremendous base-building injury "come back" plan!

8 Week Plan to Your First 5K

Dr. Bianca medal 5K

Monday (Run)

Warm up: (5 min)

  • Hopping forward in place 5 sec then fall into a 10 sec jog
  • Leg jacks in place 5 sec then fall into a 10 sec jog
  • Skipping forward then fall into a 10 sec jog

Main set: (15 min)

  • Walk for 1 min then jog or run for 30 seconds (alternate this walk/jog for 15 min)

Cool down: (5 min)

  • Slow your jog into a walk to bring your heart rate down

Tuesday (Legs)

High Intensity  / HIIT: Repeat these 20 sec on / 10 sec off for 5 minutes

  • Air squats
  • Forward lunges right
  • Forward lunges left

Wednesday (Run)

Warm up: (5 min)

  • Hopping forward in place 5 sec then fall into a 10 sec jog
  • Hopping backward 5 sec then turn and fall forward into a 10 sec jog 
  • Karaoke left 5 sec then fall into a 10 sec jog 
  • Karaoke right 5 sec then fall into a 10 sec jog

Main set: (15 min)

  • Walk for 1 min then jog or run for 30 seconds (alternate this walk/jog for 15 min)

Cool down: (5 min)

  • Slow your jog into a walk to bring your heart rate down

Thursday (Core)

High Intensity  / HIIT: Repeat these 20 sec on / 10 sec off for 5 minutes

  • Plank (on knees or straight leg) 
  • Boat pose pike Yoga position
  • Sit ups

Friday (Run)

Warm up: (5 min)

  • Side shuffle right 5 sec then turn and fall forward into a 10 sec jog
  • Side shuffle left 5 sec then turn and fall forward into a 10 sec jog
  • Butt kickers 5 sec then fall forward into a 10 sec jog

Main set: (15 min)

  • Walk for 1 min then jog or run for 30 seconds (alternate this walk/jog for 15 min)

Cool down: (5 min)

  • Slow your jog into a walk to bring your heart rate down

Saturday (Upper Body)

High Intensity  / HIIT: Repeat these 20 sec on / 10 sec off for 5 minutes

  • Plank (on knees or straight leg) 
  • Boat pose pike Yoga position
  • Sit ups

Sunday: DAY OFF! 

  • NOTE: The walk to (jog) run ratios change each week, and the total run "main set" time increases incrementally by 10% each week!  See the chart below for the breakdown for each week. 

Main Sets & Walk/Jog to Run Ratios

Week One

Main set: 15 min 

Ratio of walk/jog to run

1 min walk

30 seconds run or jog 

Week Two

Main set: 16 min 30 sec 

Ratio of walk/jog to run

1 min walk

35 seconds run or jog

Week Three

Main set: 18 min 30 sec

Ratio of walk/jog to run

1 min walk

40 seconds run or jog

Week Four

Main set: 20 min

Ratio of walk/jog to run

1 min walk

45 seconds run or jog

Week Five

Main set: 22 minutes

Ratio of walk/jog to run

45 seconds walk

50 seconds run or jog

Week Six 

Main set: 24 min 20 sec

Ratio of walk/jog to run

40 seconds walk

55 seconds run or jog

Week Seven 

Main set: 27 minutes

Ratio of walk/jog to run

35 seconds walk

1 minute run or jog

Week Eight 

Main set: 30 min

Ratio of walk/jog to run

3o seconds walk

1 minute run or jog


The 8 week plan featured shows week 1 where all run days have a main set of 15 minutes. These main sets also have a walk:run ratio of 1 min walk / 30 sec run or jog.

In week 2, the run time increases by 10%. So all run days will have a main set of 16 min 30 sec and walk:run ratio changes to a 1 min walk / 35 sec run or jog.

Follow along the chart above to see how the main set time and the walk:run ratios change each week. 

Just Do It! 

Even if you are just curious about your fitness at this age and have never been athletic, this program can transform your body and mind over two months. Menopause and running a 5k are totally doable! You never know where this might lead. Be curious and have fun exploring your capabilities!

Products I Use

Tart Cherry Juice Menopause

Tart Cherry Juice

Theraband for menopause and running

Theraband Loops

Menopause and Running: How To Run Your First 5K

How To Run Your First 5k During Menopause


July 21, 2022


This post may contain affiliate links. Please read full disclosure here.

The comments +

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Reduce The Bloat  |   Bust the Belly Bulge   |   Increase Your Energy   |  Improve Your Sleep   |  Burn Fat


Dr. Bianca Beldini

I’m your Doctor of Physical Therapy, Acupuncturist, Master Dry Needler, and Triathlon and Running Coach. I’ve been in the health, wellness and fitness industry for over 25 years, and I’m here to help you reach your optimal health.