Running and Your Fertility


Last week I met a police man who told me he was a good runner when he was a cadet at police training college. I asked him if we could train together for the Nairobi Full marathon and the guy frankly said No!……He is unmarried without kids and somehow he believes marathon running is bad for his fertility. He did not have any facts to back his claims so I decided to do my own research as to whether his claim was just one of the many myths about running.


Do Pro marathon runner have families?
To get answer to that question I first checked the family status of reknowned marathon runners.

  • Catherine Ndereba, she is married and blessed with one kid.


  • Paula Radcliffe, just gave birth to a bouncing baby girl and she trained during her pregnancy.
  • Paul Tergat is married to Monica and they have three children.
  • Haile Gebreselassie is married to wife Alem and they have three daughters.


So far nothing to worry about. I then checked to see what the professionals say about this issue. I first read an article by Coach Jenny Hadfield, a blogger at Runners World magazine. She wrote an article about marathon and female fertility. She wrote the article in response to a distressed mother of three who was training for a marathon and wondered whether marathon running would inhibit her getting more kids. Coach Jenny wrote;
Marathoning is very demanding on the body, even if you are training to run it for fun. Marathoning can exacerbate these issues and increase the chance of fertility problems. If our bodies are struggling [stress, diet, over exertion] we have a built-in mechanism that will shut off our fertility systems to help us survive. She adds “Every woman is different. We all have similar anatomy, yes, but we eat, sleep, work, stress, run, and live at different intensities. Not to mention we respond to all these things differently as well. And it is these variables that make the difference in whether it is a good idea to train to run a marathon or not”


Sign that running might be affecting your reproduction.
Just like too much water is not good for you so too much running can affect your reproductive functions. She advices the ladies to consider the physical and mental demands of running and if your periods stop, then you should stop running and consult your Physician.

Men and how they are affected
As a single childless man, I was more than curious to know how running affects me. On they have this article running and men fertility. The conclusion was the only effect was a slight reduction on semen. It was based on A study in the medical journal, Fertility and Sterility. Twenty-four marathon runners had their blood and semen checked regularly as they increased their training for competition. All sex hormones remained the same except for an increase in the hormone, prolactin, which did not affect their ability or desire to make love. The only change in sexual function was a decreased volume of semen.

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