Eat Iron-Rich Foods
Women tend to be deficient in iron. Usually eating dark leafy green foods can help with iron deficiency but sometimes it helps to take an iron supplement to boost your levels. Still, eating iron-rich foods is a good way to get your daily fill. In addition to dark leafy greens, red meat, oatmeal and fortified cereals can supply a good source of iron.
More: Table 2. Food Sources of Iron
Make a Plan
Be sure to plan out what you eat for the day. Doing so will make it easier to avoid pitfalls associated with eating on the run. It's even better if you plan and, if possible prepare your meals for the week beginning on Sunday. That way, you'll have your meals ready and you can spend time during the week on more important things. At the very least plan snacks and other on-the-go food to keep you from reaching for the bad stuff when you get hungry.
More: Your 7-Day Meal Plan
Don't Restrict Yourself
If you think the ticket to getting slim is to slash calories, think again. A common mistake that some make is to limit calorie intake in a way that is counterproductive. It's true that to lose weight you want to have less calories coming in than going out, but severely limiting your calories can backfire. Your body will struggle to hold onto every calorie because you're eating schedule is so spare. That starvation mode will mean more energy in, less out and all your hard work exercising will be in vain. Be sure to eat on a regular schedule.
More: Eat More to Lose Weight
Don't Count Out Carbs
If you're participating in long-distance race, then carbs are the fuel you need for peak performance. Replenish your carb intake the night before, instead of immediately before a big run. The best way to get the proper amount of carbs without overdoing it is to replace a small protein or vegetable at dinner with some sort of carb-rich food.
More: 5 Best Carbs for Athletes
Give It Your All
Don't begin working out on an empty stomach or dehydrated. If you do, then you will hinder your body's ability to perform at a top notch level. Many athletes overdo their calorie intake and forget to load up on water and other fluids. Both will help you maintain a performance level that will increase, not decrease, as you near the end of your training session.
More: Food Is Fuel: How to Look at Eating
Eat to Recovery
What you eat after a workout is just as important as what you eat before. A great source of both protein and carbs is Chocolate milk. Drinking chocolate milk after a workout will help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, and speed recovery as well. If you can't consume chocolate milk right away, be sure to do so within 20 minutes after workout. If you can't stomach milk at that time, then a piece of low-fat cheese, a protein shake or small sandwich with an egg and lean meat will do the trick as well.
More: What to Eat for a Faster Recovery
There's not much to eating like an athlete. They have a balanced diet loaded with fruits, vegetables, nuts, protein and more. For breakfast, eat toast with a dab of peanut butter, a hard-boiled egg and a fruit of your choice. Keep your lunch green with a spinach salad, sliced almonds, strawberries and a drizzle of balsamic dressing. Be sure to consume one glass of water per hour and keep your carb intake up as well.
More: Eat to Build Lean Muscles
Test your nutrition intake at your next race.