Much misinformation and nonsense exists about training women in training (e.g. Nonsense like, “Don’t train with weights you’ll get too bulky”, etc.) As women push their bodies further and further they are presented with a host of concerns that were largely unheard of 20 years ago.
At the end of the day female athletes can’t train in the same manner as males. They have different requirements – physiologically, bio-mechanically, nutritionally and even psychologically. With a little planning of their training routines and diets, female athletes can train and compete to their full potential.
Its all in the training
For the endurance athlete (male or female) to improve in a specific sport you have to do voluminous amounts of training in that specific sport. For multi-sport athletes (e.g. triathletes) and females in particular, logging huge training miles on the run can have long term health implications – particularly if the athlete looses her menses (i.e. Stops menstruating). So whilst the onus to build running prowess for the female distance runner or triathlete should be on running, a well blended cross training program can be beneficial (particularly in the early, preparatory phases of the training cycle) to help lessen the load on the skeletal muscular system and “save” the athletes limbs from acute injury and long term damage due to ailments such as osteoporosis.
If training is rotated (hard sessions followed by recovery sessions) workouts such as pool running can be incorporated into the program. These sessions move the limbs in a similar manner to the normal running pattern but without the stress associated with landing on solid surfaces.
There is simply no training regimen that will work for everyone. College athlete influencers
Some women suffer crippling injuries from what is generally considered by elite athletes to be a modest workload. So, if you have a history of repeated over-use injuries, err on the side of conservatism and look for alternative training modalities to compliment your running.
Female athletes are at a higher risk than their male counterparts of developing iron deficiency, and as such should be very wary of misguided dietary practices where energy intake is cut to extraordinarily low levels in an attempt to drop body fat quickly. In fact, highly restrictive dietary practices are more likely to chew through valuable muscle mass lowering metabolic rates and making it harder to tap into fat stores.
The human body needs iron to transport oxygen around the body to service the demands of working muscles, particularly in endurance based sports in which the energy demands are almost exclusively reliant on aerobic (with oxygen) metabolism.