Sports Nutrition Foundations for Female Runners
“When everything is equal, nutrition can make the difference between winning and losing”
A quote that sums up this episode and leads to the question….
”Could nutrition be the limiting factor in YOUR running performance? So, this episode aims to answer this question.
We explore the reasons for focusing on nutrition for training and consider why nutrition may be the element that's preventing runners achieving improvement in performance. We delve into the female factors surrounding nutrition and running performance and also take a deep dive into the two limiting factors in running performance i.e. carbohydrates and hydration from an athletic point of view as well as female angle.
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Introducing the Performance Triangle and outlining its importance in achieving peak running performance before moving on to discuss the influence of diet on performance. Thinking about the starting point for a runner when considering dietary changes to support their training. Considering the positive influence of an optimal everyday diet.
Delving into running specific nutrition and discussing the starting point for all runners:
- Establishing your health goals
- Establishing your running performance goals
- Considering working with a nutrition professional to ensure the recommendations are personalised
Moving on to outline some key generic principles of Sports Nutrition including:
- Efficient recovery from training
- Reduced risk of injury/illness
- Training adaptations
- Increased running Performance – the ultimate goal.
Discussing the known nutritional limiting factors in sports performance:
- Carbohydrate intake
The Female Factors:
- Female HORMONES and hormone balance
- Female hormones are complex and vary throughout the lifespan (e.g. menstrual cycle, peri menopause, post menopause, pregnancy, post partum)
- MUSCLE development is different for women
- Lifestyle challenges potentially different from men
- Higher RISK factors for females for certain health conditions or health concerns such as:
- Hormonally driven cancers
- Autoimmune conditions
- Disordered Eating
- Weight management
Looking at nutritional change and the potential challenges that may arise from this e.g. increasing/decreasing daily carbohydrate intake depending on training load, being mindful of hydration status on a daily basis
- Remember the Performance Triangle is made up of 3 EQUAL sides: Training, Nutrition, Sleep/Rest – so give each EQUAL consideration for enhanced performance
- Everyday Nutrition Foundations need to be in place consistently day in and out before sports specific nutrition is introduced
- Personal Health concerns and/or conditions and life stage need to be considered when introducing a nutrition plan to support running performance
- Consider what YOUR CHO and Hydration requirements are in line with your training and race requirements and goals.
- There are many benefits to introducing SN alongside your running training including: adequate energy intake to fuel your running and including nutrient dense foods/drinks to help reduce the risk of injury and illness and maintain electrolyte balance.
- Ultimately, the aim of SN, if applied appropriately and consistently, is to enhance running performance, thus aid you in attaining your running and performance goals.
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.
Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell met at as nutrition students (Institute for Optimum Nutrition, London) and became lifelong friends and nutritional buddies! Both have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living.
Together they host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.
We are excited to be able to share our expertise, experience and short cuts with you. We hope you'll join us again. If you'd like to know more about us and She Runs Eats Performs please check out our TRAILER.
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If you’d like help from Karen and Aileen to design a personalised sports nutrition plan for your running - please contact them at email@example.com
Aileen and Karen