Have you ever had this happen to you? You head out the door for your 5 mile run. From the first step, you're feeling draggy - it's a chore to get one foot in front of the other. Your energy level is at rock bottom. Finally, you turn around early and call it quits after 2 miles.
Your problem could be iron deficiency. This is fairly common among all runners - especially women runners. Studies have found that most athletes are iron deficient. And iron is something that all runners need. Runners have increased blood volume and deplete the iron they have stored fasted than non-runners.
Iron binds with hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen to the muscles. Hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to the muscles. If your hemoglobin level is low, less oxygen reaches your muscles.
Insufficient iron means fewer red blood cells, which translates into less energy. Iron is also important to fighting infection and in producing energy from your food. If your iron levels are low, you may be prone to illness and unable to use all the energy available in your body.
Another way that runners lose iron is through their foot strike. Foot strike damage to red blood cells in the feet is caused by running on hard surfaces. It's not a big deal for most runners, but for heavier runners or runners that run high mileage on asphalt - it can be.Iron is also lost through sweat. Heavy sweating - and I certainly do when I run, can lead to iron deficiency.
But, the good news is that you can avoid problems with low iron. You can prevent iron deficiency by eating at least 3 ounces of lean, red meat a few times during the week. Red meat is a great source of iron. Also, iron-fortified cereal and nuts are high in iron.
Eat or drink something that is rich in Vitamin C with your meals, such as melon, strawberries, broccoli, cabbage, apricots, tomatoes. Foods that are rich in Vitamin C help with iron absorption.
Another thing that you can do is to cook in cast-iron cookware. This especially helps if you are cooking something acidic - such as spaghetti sauce.
A lack of iron will have an immediate negative effect on your running performance. Fortunately, iron depletion and iron deficiency can be corrected, and, by following a few simple dietary principles can be prevented altogether.
Run Happy! Judy
There are currently no comments on this post. Be the first one!