Iron deficiency anaemia can hinder recovery and reduce the body’s ability to utilize oxygen. Efficient oxygen supple to muscle is crucial to reduce fatigue onset. Females at at most risk due to losses through monthly menstruation. Sprinters in general are also at higher risk due to ‘foot srike hemolysis‘. Approximately 31% of young males and 57% of young female athletes have low iron stores (below 35ug ferritin) which is associated with a negative effect on performance. Any kind of meat, tofu and spinach are dietary sources of iron. See Daily Nutrition Requirements for recommended daily intake and more examples of sources.
Increased athletic performance is associated with sufficient vitamin D levels therefore having sufficient levels of vitamin D is vital for runners of any category. Vitamin D also plays an important role in assisting with calcium absorption and muscle health. Deficiency is a real possibility for athletes of many disciplines as much of training goes indoors. A majority of our vitamin D comes from the sun and if lacking needs to be supplemented or behaviours changed to accommodate. Vitamin D is obtained mainly from sunlight but can be found in some foods such as milk, eggs and mushrooms. See Daily Nutrition Requirements for recommended daily intake and more examples of food sources.
Calcium plays a major role in preventing bone injuries in runners. Training and competition put a major strain on bones due to the jarring action of running and extra loading from weight training. Insufficient calcium levels weakens bones by adversely effecting bone density. This occurs due to the body’s reliance on calcium for a range of bodily functions, including the contraction of muscle. If there is not enough calcium intake through the diet the body will use calcium stored in the skeleton instead. Foods like Greek yoghurt, almond milk and cheese are great sources of calcium. See Daily Nutrition Requirements for recommended daily intake and more examples of sources.