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  • Writer's pictureMichael Plugge

Pioneering research on her own body could change everything for Silje Opseth

One of the issues female athletes are dealing with, is the lack of research the effect their menstrual cycle could have on their body and their athletic achievements. Silje Opseth now takes matters into her own hand and uses her own data to better understand her body.

Silje Opseth during the first camp of the season (Photo: Silje Opseth)
Silje Opseth during the first camp of the season (Photo: Silje Opseth)

Silje went into season 2022/2023 with high hopes and big goals, it didn't go her way. Inconsistencies during the World Cup and a World Championship that could only be described as a nightmare for her, made Silje decide that she needed a new approach. To NRK she went into depth about it.

"There was a fairly clear trend of where I was in the cycle and where the results dipped"

For two years, Silje has been logging her menstrual cycle. She has now put that data next to her results and found a clear correlation. "It was interesting, because there was a fairly clear trend of where I was in the cycle and where the results dipped," she said. It also explains some of what happened during the World Championship in Planica.

"It's much easier to be able to tell myself that it's completely natural"

In a top sport environment, nothing is left to chance, but one aspect that is out of an athlete's control is her cycle. With the research Silje is doing now, she hopes to understand her body even better. "When I'm in a bad period, it's much easier to be able to tell myself that it's completely natural. It's just hormones messing things up for me. Then it is easier to get through it. In the past, I've just stood and stared, and didn't understand anything. I was just frustrated, annoyed and sorry," she explains.

Coaching staff during the camp in Lillehammer (Photo: Hopplandslaget)
Coaching staff during the camp in Lillehammer (Photo: Hopplandslaget)

One of the things this team is known for, is the openness and willingness to listen to one another, something we also see in regards to Maren's new training regime. Silje has had conversations with the coaching staff and with the professionals at Olympiatoppen. Silje thinks it important that there is a common understanding of when her mind and body won't cooperate perfectly together.

"We know that athletes who perform over time are those who are also good outside the hill"

Coach Meyer praises Silje for her openness and says that she's a more secure person who is more comfortable in her own life. "The fact that she dares to go out and be open about such things indicates that she feels secure in her own worth. We know that athletes who perform over time are those who are also good outside the hill," he continues.


Silje may have discovered the correlation between her results and her cycle, but her project doesn't stop here, she will now use this knowledge during training and competitions. Recognizing the impact of the cycle, she emphasizes the need to alter her training to it. Silje has experienced that pushing her body for too long, she gets sick, because her immune system is weakened. By strategically prioritizing strength and endurance during certain phases and allowing for adequate rest in others, Silje aims to optimize her performance and results.

(Source: NRK)

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