The Runner’s Diet for Women

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Although running is an effective aerobic exercise for burning calories, some women runners still struggle with weight control. In addition to balancing calories, choosing healthy sources of food can help provide the nutrients and energy necessary for training routines and marathon competitions. The types of food you consume, as well as the times you eat, can play an important role in high-endurance activities like running.


Energy Requirements

A calorie is a unit of measurement that describes the amount of energy in food sources. Running is a strenuous exercise that requires adequate amounts of calories. A runner who weighs 160 lbs. will burn around 986 calories during an hour of running at a speed of 8 mph.

Weight Considerations

The number of calories you require to lose or gain weight depends on a variety of factors, such as your size, the intensity of your running sessions and the number of calories you currently consume. Keeping track of your average calorie consumption for several days will provide you with an idea of how many calories you require to maintain or lose weight. Following a diet plan that cuts 500 calories each day can result in a weight loss around 1 lb. each week.

Carbohydrate Loading

Carbohydrate loading is an eating method many endurance athletes use when preparing for an event. Carbohydrate loading is most beneficial for runners who participate in events that last longer than 90 minutes. Select carbohydrates that contain plenty of fiber, such as apples, bananas, raw greens and cantaloupe.

Method

Carbohydrate loading may increase your energy stores prior to an event. The first step of carbohydrate loading begins about a week before your scheduled event. During this phase, runners consume about 50 to 55 percent of calories from carbohydrate sources. The second phase begins three to four days before the event, a time when runners increase their carbohydrate intakes to 70 percent of daily calories. Women may require additional calories to get the same carbohydrate-loading benefits as men.

Considerations

Stay hydrated, especially when challenging your body during strenuous workouts. Limit your drinks to water, coffee and tea, whenever possible. If you prefer to drink sports beverages, consider the number of calories they add to your daily intake when dieting for weight loss. Energy supplements and energy bars also contain plenty of calories that may derail your diet.

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