The Impact of Energetic Factors on the Performance of Female Distance Runners

Open Access
Author:
Rodden, Kathleen
Area of Honors:
Kinesiology
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Mary Jane De Souza, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jinger Gottschall, Honors Advisor
  • Jinger Gottschall, Faculty Reader
Keywords:
  • Female Athlete Triad
  • energy deficit
  • female distance runners
Abstract:
ABSTRACT Introduction: Female distance runners often do not consume adequate calories to match their energy expended during exercise and for physiological processes. The low energy availability can lead to an energy deficiency which has been shown to negatively impact performance. The purpose of this study was to investigate how energetic factors in competitive female long distance runners’ change across a season and determine the impact the change has on running performance. Methods: Competitive female distance runners’ performance was measured based on a 5km time trial pre- and post-season. Other testing included VO2 max, RMR, TT3, and DXA. The runners were grouped based on their pre-season resting metabolic rate as severe energy deficiency, moderate energy deficiency, or energy replete. Results: The pre-season race times for the severe energy deficiency group, moderate energy deficiency group, and energy replete group were 22.8± 0.8, 19.62± 0.59, and 21.25± 0.71, respectively. The post-season average race time for the severe energy deficiency group, the moderate energy deficiency group, and the energy replete group were 22.68± 0.77, 19.49± 0.58, and 21.02± 0.41. The pre-season mean REE/ LBM measured in kcal/day * kg LBM for the severe energy deficiency group, moderate energy deficiency group, and energy replete group were 28.2± 0.63, 30.76± 0.69, and 33.34± 0.97. The post-season mean REE/ LBM for the severe energy deficiency group, moderate energy deficiency group, and energy replete group were 28.35±1.04, 29.72± 0.9, and 33.05± 0.04. The mean pre-season TT3 concentration measured in ng/dl for the severe energy deficiency group, the moderate energy deficiency group, and the energy replete groups were 1.91± 0.02, 1.99± 0.02, and 1.97± 0.02. The mean post-season TT3 for the severe energy deficiency group, the moderate energy deficiency group, and the energy replete groups were 1.94 ± 0.02, 1.97± 0.02, and 1.98± 0.02. Conclusions: This study illustrates that a severe energy deficit is associated with a poor sports performance specifically test race time and race velocity. Female distance runners should aim to consume adequate calories to account for their energy expenditure to avoid an energy deficit and conditions associated with the Female Athlete Triad.