Micro Needs of a Runner - She Runs Eats Performs

Episode 140

Published on:

18th May 2023

Micro Needs of a Runner

Micronutrients play an important role in Running performance….but how many of us consider what vitamins and minerals we require for our training? We tend to focus on our macronutrient needs…esp the need for protein and carbohydrates 

BUT…did you know….we need the micronutrients for the metabolism of the macronutrients….as well as for much much more!!

So, if you are a runner who tends to neglect your micronutrient intake then listen in for some enlightening and useful information.

A BIG thank you to our Show Sponsor AMAZING JANE ACTIVE WEAR. Please use discount code RHH10 for 10% off ALL purchases at www.amazingjane.com



Defining what micronutrients are and why they are important for general health but also for run training. 


Outlining situations when a runner may require micronutrient supplementation including when they: 

  1. Restrict energy intake 
  2. Remove food groups from the diet. For example: vegans, vegetarians and runners following a raw diet or a keto/paleo style diet
  3. Consume a high carbohydrate diet without consideration for other important nutrients



  1. Older athletes (both male and female) are more likely to take micronutrient supplements than their younger counterparts due to the various challenges that occur with ageing and recovery
  2. The prevalence of supplement use among female athletes tends to be similar to males, however their reasons for supplementing tend to be differ
  3. Females tend to introduce supplementation to support bone health and increase energy (no data on the reasons why males may supplement) 


Highlighting some micronutrients that are important for a runner including: 

Calcium and Magnesium – needed in the muscle contraction cycle

The B-vit complex, Vit C and iron (also magnesium) - required in the metabolism of the macronutrients to produce energy

Iron - required for the transport of oxygen to the cells for energy production 


Food recommendations containing the key micronutrients discussed including::

Foods containing both Magnesium and Calcium:

  • Leafy vegetables e.g. broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, rocket 
  • Nuts and seeds – especially sesame seeds and almonds 

B Vitamin Complex: 

  • Fish, meat, poultry, organ meats – especially for Vit B12 and B6
  • Leafy vegetables – high in folate
  • Dairy and Eggs – good sources if B12 if you are vegetarian

Vitamin C:

  • Citrus fruits: Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, lime
  • Berries: Black Currant, Strawberries
  • Tropical Fruits: Kiwifruit, Papaya, pineapple, Mango, Guava, cantaloupe melon
  • Red and green peppers, tomatoes 


Providing some hints and tips and ACTION POINTS to ensure a sufficient intake of micronutrients on a regular basis:

  • Keep your diet varied 
  • “Eat outside the box” 
  • Use recipe books or “Google” to find easy recipes  



1) Micronutrients play an important role general health but also in running performance, however their intake is often neglected by runners…and athletes generally

2) In sports performance their roles include:

  • The muscle contraction cycle
  • Oxygen transport
  • The metabolism of macronutrients (PRO/FAT/CHO)

3) Although a FOOD FIRST approach is recommended, certain individuals may require nutritional supplementation. For example if they:

  • Restrict their energy intake 
  • Remove food groups from their diet. For example: vegans, vegetarians, 
  • Consume a high carb diet without consideration for other important nutrients

4) ALL micronutrients are essential for sports performance whether it be a direct or indirect role they play. However, some have been the focus of much research including:

  • Magnesium and Calcium
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Vitamin C

5) This list is by no means exhaustive, but all are important for:

  • The muscle contraction cycle
  • Oxygen transport
  • The metabolism of macronutrients (PRO/FAT/CHO)

6) Finally, to ensure you are consuming ALL of these micronutrients in your food plan regularly….keep your diet varied!! It is a simple concept, but as runners we tend to be repetitive in our food choices.

Download our FREE E-book TOP Running Snacks and Nutrient Timing to Fuel Peak Performance

 Related Topics:

Iron Woman

FOCUS on Calcium

FOCUS on Magnesium

Spotlight on Vitamin C for Runners


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

​Also, when you're ready, here are FIVE ways that we can help you:

1)Check out our free downloadable resources

2) Join Easy Nutrition For Healthy Runners HUB. Please join our FREE private facebook group for education, tips, inspiration with like- minded female runners.

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4)Find out if you are the right fit for our Healthy Woman Healthy Runner Programme. Please book a free Discovery Call.

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We love to hear from our listeners - what are your nutrition and running goals, challenges and successes, please drop us a line at hello@runnershealthhub.com


Best Wishes and Happy Running!

Karen and Aileen


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About the Podcast

She Runs Eats Performs
for mid-life female runners of all abilities
Are you confused about the science around nutrition for runners? Listen in to learn about the WHY, HOW, WHAT, and WHEN of eating to fuel your running performance.

We are here to help you translate sports nutritional science, into easy to apply tips and plans, helping you enjoy peak running performance. We focus on the FEMALE FACTORS every mid-life woman needs to know to be a healthy runner.

About your host

Profile picture for Aileen Smith

Aileen Smith

Nutritionists, Educators, Podcasters, Runners and Friends

We have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living. She Runs Eats Performs for female runners of all abilities who are looking for simple ways to improve their running performance and their health with nutrition and lifestyle.
We enjoy sharing our nutritional expertise, reviewing the latest sports science and most of all helping you to take easy action so you can enjoy your running life to the full.
We are here to help you achieve great health and good shape whilst staying injury-free with easy-to-understand sports nutritional concepts and easy-to-implement tips and plans.

Aileen and Karen are BANT and CNHC Registered Nutritional Therapists.