This is the 5th of our Listeners Nutrition Clinic episodes. These are episodes dedicated to answering questions we have received from YOU, our listeners.

They are questions linked to YOUR nutrition for your running, performance and personal goals. We host these episodes every few weeks so, if you have any questions you would like us to answer/discuss in this space then please get in touch with us at 

We have TWO interesting questions to discuss today and they are: 

Q1. How do I overcome anxiety under race conditions, which leads to poor performance?

Q2. How do I manage low ferritin levels post-menopause?

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Q1. How do I overcome anxiety under race conditions, which leads to poor performance?

Giving some background and context to the question received from one of our listeners and outlining some potential psychological and physical reasons for her race-anxiety. 


Outlining some TIPS to help alleviate race-anxiety including:

  • Focus on completing a negative split in-race and during training
  • Use a positive mantra
  • Focussing on running the whole distance


Q2. How do I manage low ferritin levels post-menopause?

Giving some background and context to the question received from another of our listeners and outlining WHY it is important to test for both Hemoglobin and Ferritin when completing a blood panel test. 


Highlighting some of typical symptoms associated with iron insufficiency/deficiency including:

  • Tiredness/fatigue/lethargy
  • Pale skin of inner mouth/nails, Pale on inner lining of eyes
  • Thin, brittle, pale, spoon shaped nails
  • Brittle hair 


Outlining potential causes and risk factors for low iron/ferritin status including:

  • Reduced iron intake 
  • Reduced iron absorption
  • Increased iron requirements
  • Increased iron loss 


Highlighting iron rich foods to consider to help support iron storage as ferritin. Iron rich foods are divided into TWO categories: 

  • Haem iron food sources 
  • Non-Haem food sources

Haem iron is predominantly found in red meat in fact, red meat contains the highest amount of iron of any food

Non-haem iron is found as an iron salt in plant foods, however it is also found, in small amounts, in meat, fish, and poultry


Outlining ways of enhancing iron absorption from the digestive tract including:

  • Eating foods containing Vitamin C
  • Meat, fish, and poultry have an absorption enhancing effect 
  • Low pH in stomach



  1. It is well recognised that race conditions can lead to anxiety in runners…even professional and elite runners suffer from it….but there are things a runner can do to try to overcome their anxiety
  2. When anxious it can lead to negative thinking. A way to try to alleviate this is to find a positive mantra that you can tap into during a race
  3. Another tool to help minimize anxiety is to concentrate on different aspects of your running to help crowd out any anxious thoughts. For example, for Vanessa, I got her to focus on her running speed and achieving a negative split over a 5K distance
  4. Stored iron is known as Ferritin and when testing for iron status it is important to check ferritin levels too because results could show normal haemoglobin levels but with low ferritin status suggesting that iron insufficiency/deficiency may be imminent
  5. If you think you may have a low iron status then test…don’t guess! And don‘t take iron supplements without professional guidance because iron at high levels is toxic to the body
  6. Remember, iron in food comes in two forms: Haem iron (from meats) and Non-haem iron (from plant foods) with the haem form being the most bioavailable and easily absorbed. So, if you are not following a specific diet for ethical reasons then eating meat-based foods would be recommended, especially beef and liver


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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.

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Best Wishes and Happy Running!

Karen and Aileen