Home Advice A question regarding my diet (5-15 Mile Runner)

A question regarding my diet (5-15 Mile Runner)


Hi Harriette,

I have a question regarding my diet. I complete a number of 5mile – 15-mile races throughout the year but quite often after a race I will develop a head cold or even a cold that will keep me out of action for a number of days. I thought my diet was pretty good, have 3 meals a day with lots of carbs, fruit and some veg. Have you any suggestions on any improvements and diet I should focus more on?


Hi CJ,

Your query is one that I often get in the healthpro dietetic clinic. Although I do not know much about your training plan and nutrition intake I will summarise areas below that may cause this feeling of illness after your performance and areas for you to consider improving on…

It sounds initially to me that you could be overtraining – however without knowing your training plan and work/life commitments that is something you would have to look into. Start at looking at your training – is your racing season periodised? Do you have a number of priority races or is every race a priority? Do you have an off / on Season or do you train continuously throughout the year? It is essential to honestly answer these questions to establish how much is going into your training.
Other areas that could be affecting your ability to recover are the following:

  • depletion of your glycogen stores in your active muscle
  • hypoglycaemia
  • dehydration
  • deficiency of your essential vitamins and minerals
  • inadequate intake of antioxidants and phytochemicals.
  • insufficient protein intake

Planning your nutrition to key to your training. You stated in your comment that you eat three meals per day. I would recommend that you focus on achieving light meals throughout the day and ensure that you do not leave a gap of more than four hours between your main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). If the gap is longer than four hours then choose a light snack (< 200 calories – of course, this varies depending on your nutritional requirements) and make sure you eat the right training snack prior to your training and refuelling within the first 30 minutes after your training.

I hope you find the above useful. At any stage, if you would like to book a dietetic assessment please do not hesitate to contact the healthpro office on 086 4119222 or email [email protected]

Many thanks,