As women increasingly compete in marathons and triathlons, experts warn that inexperienced female endurance athletes can damage their health.
Health problems can arise, for example, if the amount of kilojoules consumed by an athlete is less than the amount burned during exercise. Women tend not to alter their diet to factor in the rigorous demands placed on the body by endurance sports, researchers noted.
Eat carbohydrates two hours before exercising and immediately after a training session or competition.
Premenopausal women should take 1 000 to 1 200 milligrams (mg) of calcium daily and postmenopausal women should take 1,500 mg a day in 500 mg doses with magnesium and vitamin D to promote calcium absorption.
Eat small, balanced meals every three to four hours to ensure energy levels can meet training needs. Eat 126kj per kilogram of weight daily and adjust this based on exertion levels.