Runners Nutrition Part 1: Are You Eating Enough? recently read an article about lower leg pain being caused by too few calories in diets of collegiate distance runners. In a study with 76 collegiate female athletes there was a higher incidence of lower leg pain, missed practices, and stress fractures in athletes that had abnormal eating patterns. Abnormal eating patterns were defined as missing meals, eating lower calories than consumed by more than 3,500 kcal per week, binge eating and purging.

As a male collegiate, post collegiate, and now coach I have tried to see what the best race weights for my athletes and myself are for several years. The conclusion that I have come to is that athletes need to be at the weight that they stay the healthiest for the longest period of time.

You may be able to run faster in the short term by lowering you body weight through an abnormal eating pattern but it will not be without it’s risks of injury. The problem is that your body structure will not maintain strength when you limit your food intake beyond a certain point.  You will begin to lose some weight that is muscle mass due to your body consuming some of the protein in the muscles for energy.

Your body was made to survive and it will survive by consuming whatever is present. If you don’t have enough carbohydrate and fats in your diet, your body will begin to eat away at your muscle mass to fuel your running and daily activities. The bottom line here is try to eat good food and a lot of it.

So what should you eat? Check out the next practical, simple nutrition tip for runners. Learn what your approach to eating should be.


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