The WHY of Sports Nutrition - She Runs Eats Performs

Episode 42

Published on:

4th Feb 2021

The WHY of Sports Nutrition

The WHY of Sports Nutrition

Do you ever ask yourself the question “Why do I need to bother about Sports Nutrition for my running?” 

Do you ever think about what you eat and if it is helping or hindering your running performance?

In this episode we help answer these questions. We focus on the benefits of running specific nutrition such as:

  • Energy to fuel our running
  • Reduced risk of running injury
  • Efficient recovery from training
  • Increased running performance – the ultimate goal.

 But we also outline the pitfalls of neglecting nutrition before moving on to give you ideas of how you could enhance your nutrition to support your running performance.

 We also remind you of the importance of an optimal everyday healthy diet being in place CONSISTENTLY. This is the foundation on which sports nutrition is built. 

Show Notes


Introducing the episode and outlining the key principles of Sports Nutrition to be discussed:

  1. General good health
  2. Provide energy 
  3.  Immune Support
  4. Recovery/repair from training
  5. Injury prevention
  6. Training adaptation
  7. Sports Performance


Considering scenarios when sports nutrition may or may not be required; e.g. what type of running? for what time are you running? At what speed are you running? Does it include skill-based running?? These and many other factors will determine whether Sports Nutrition is appropriate for your running training. Could it be that an optimal everyday diet is sufficient for your training? We discuss that here.  


Considering the benefits of Sports nutrition in supporting the immune systems and highlighting the fall-out to health and running training if the immune system id suboptimal e.g. low energy, poor recovery from training, increased risk of injury and illness. 


Looking at the impact of sports nutrition on training adaptations with a particular focus on body composition; thinking about food timing, energy balance, and adequate protein.


Focusing on the consequences of poor sports nutrition and its impact on running performance linked to low motivation, injury and recovery. A brief introduction to Overreaching and Overtraining syndrome is also given.  


Introducing the Female Factors:

  1. Women tend to be more susceptible to AI conditions, therefore may be at more risk of compromised immunity. This could increase their risk of injury and illness in training if nutrition is not addressed
  2. Women appear to be at increased risk of injury besides men, especially of the lower limbs.  One study noted that over a 2yr period 73% of women and 62% of men sustained an injury.
  3. There appears to be an increased risk in women age 50 or older and a lower risk among those 30 or younger – this could be linked to peri/menopause and the changes in hormone balance and bone density. 
  4. Menopause can have an effect on body composition leading to some weight gain. This is because fat cells are known to be one of the principle Sources of oestrogen production following cessation via the reproductive system.
  5. Also, as we get older it is more difficult to lose weight, which may be linked to a reduction in Resting Metabolic Rate.


Considering some key nutrients and foods that would support ALL runners in reducing their risk of illness, injury and suboptimal running performance. Key considerations include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Beta-glucans


Introducing some additional nutrients to support soft tissue and collagen production including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Manganese 
  • Protein


Key Takeaways:

  1. There are so many benefits to Sports Nutrition, however we have highlighted several specific to running including: Immune Support, Recovery/repair from training, Injury prevention
  2. An everyday healthy diet is the best place to begin….but remember this needs to be in place CONSISTENTLY before considering nutrition specific for your running
  3. Remember Nutrition specific to Running may not be necessary for everyone, it will depend on so many factors including: distance, time out running and type of running e.g. easy/technical, 
  4. If nutrition is neglected then it could potentially result in time out of running due to injury/illness, reduced energy and motivation to run, development of Overtraining Syndrome 
  5. There are many key nutrients to consider for the prevention of injury, illness, poor recovery from training etc including: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Protein, Manganese, and Omega 3 FAs. So, ensure you include the food sources of these nutrients in your diet on a regular basis.
  6. Finally, The ultimate goal of SN is to enhance Performance… whatever your running goals are remember that what you eat may be the factor that decides whether you achieve that goal or not.

Related Topics:

The Performance Effects of Overtraining Syndrome

Nutrition Basics For All Runners

Endurance Running and Immune Support


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.

If you're ready to make learn more about how you may introduce easy nutrition into your running and training plan join our Easy Nutrition For Healthy Runners Online Programme for short videos, recipes, downloads and LIVE training and Q&A.

As a THANK YOU to you as one of our valued listeners, we have a special offer for you use COUPON CODE POD to get 33% discount off the full price which brings the price to £199.

If you’d like help from Karen and Aileen to design a personalised sports nutrition plan for your running - please contact them at

Happy Running!

Aileen and Karen  


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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

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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.