Why Sports Nutrition

February 4, 2021

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.

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 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.

LISTEN HERE Episode 42: The Why of Sports Nutrition


The WHY of Sports Nutrition


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 of day 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 is 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: Auto Immune Conditions, Injury Risk, Hormone Balance and Bone Density, Menopause, Body Composition Management.


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


The WHY of Sports Nutrition

  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.


The WHY of Sports Nutrition

  1. There are so many benefits to Sports Nutrition 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. Include the food sources of these nutrients in your diet on a regular basis.
  6. The ultimate goal of Sports Nutrition is to enhance Performance…..so whatever your running goals are remember that what you eat may be the factor that decides whether you achieve that goal or not.

Related Episodes:

The Performance Effects of Overtraining Syndrome

Nutrition Basics for ALL Runners

Endurance Running and Immune System


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.

Remember we are available to support you if required contact us at hello@ runnershealthhub.com

If you’ve enjoyed our Why Sports Nutrition article, click here to find more blog posts.

You can also find out more on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.