Welcome to the International Association of Women Runners, a global community for women who share a passion for running.

The International Association of Women Runners provides women runners the opportunity to participate in a unique worldwide organization linking women runners to an international women’s running community.

The International Association of Women Runners provides a valuable resource of information on training, nutrition, injury prevention and issues particular to women runners. Our articles and practical tips will help you achieve your objectives for running, racing and a healthy lifestyle – regardless of your age, experience and ability.

Did you know that in 2013, the majority of runners are women? There are women’s running magazines, women’s races and women’s running groups. Don’t you think that an International Association of Woman Runners is long overdue?

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Put an End to Starting Races Too Fast

Group of spectators cheering runners just before the finish line. Female runner finishing the race with her team applauding her efforts.

We’ve all been there; most of us more than once.  You’re at the start line.  Excited, waiting for the race to start.

The (simulated) gunshot. The race starts.  Buoyed by the cheering crowds, adrenaline pumping through your veins, you take off like a sprinter out of the starting blocks.

Then, you look for daylight. “If I can just zip around these two football players and dart past that slow guy who should have started in the last corral, I’ll be in the clear and can run my race.

Repeat three or four more times during the first mile.

The result? Despite knowing better, you start way too fast. You spend too much precious energy running sideways searching for a clear path; looking more like a quarterback trying to avoid being sacked by the enemy linemen than like a marathoner.

You pay a steep price at the end of your race.  Tired muscles.  Legs that seem like they’re made of lead. Your form is shot. Your lungs burn. Your chest feels like it will explode.

Your morale takes a beating too. An endless stream of runners pass you as you stumble towards the finish line.  To add insult to injury, a few of them have no business finishing before you.

Why does starting too fast kill your race?

Wishing for the Perfect Body?

The Athlete’s Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD Aug 2016

Too many runners spend too much time complaining about their bodies:

I feel too fat. I’m too thin. I want a six-pack ab. I hate my spare tire.

Obviously, you will perform better if your body is the perfect size and bone structure for your sport—not too fat, not too skinny. If you have excess flab to lose, yes, you will run faster if you are lighter. If you are scrawny, yes, you will be more powerful if you can build some muscle. Agreed.

The target audience for this article is the many runners who already have an excellent body yet spend too much time wishing for what they believe is the perfect body. The perfect body is illusive and nearly impossible to attain. However, being satisfied with an excellent body is an attainable goal. An excellent body might be less muscular than desired, or have more body fat than you want, but it is more than good enough.

Fat is not a feeling

How To Prevent Hamstring Injury

Lack of running-specific strength in the lower limbs is the main reason why most runners get injured. Your hamstrings are no exception. We’ll examine what causes hamstring injuries in runners and the best way to avoid injuring your hamstrings.

In most non-running activities, a muscle is being shortened as it exerts force (e.g. performing a bicep curl). This is called a concentric contraction. However, in running, muscles are frequently being lengthened as they exert force. This action is known as an eccentric (pronounced ee-CEN-tric) contraction. Eccentric contractions are more damaging to muscles than concentric actions.

Your hamstrings undergo an eccentric contraction every time you swing your leg forward (during the swing phase of the gait cycle). They contract and pull back on the leg as it moves forward. Regardless, the leg moves ahead, resulting in eccentric strain on your hamstrings. Imagine your hamstrings being stretched to the max as they try to shorten – approximately 90 times per minutes!

Increase Your Stride Rate to Run Faster and Reduce Injury

Woman Sprinter

Your running speed is dependent upon two factors: stride length and stride rate (also called turnover or cadence). Increase either factor and you’ll run faster.

Recent research shows that increasing your stride rate may also decrease your injury risk.

Findings reported by Dr. Reed Ferber in the July/August issue of Running Room Magazine supports this conclusion. Ferber reports on studies involving recreational runners

5 Essential Tips to Ensure Your Nutrition Supports Your Training

Middle aged woman with grey hair eating salad sandwich and holding plate (selective focus)

The Athlete’s Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD July 2016

For runners who want to optimize their nutrition with a sustainable plan, I offer these suggestions:

  1. Evenly distribute your calories throughout the day. Most female runners need about 2.400 to 2,800 calories a day; male runners may need 2,800 to 3,600 calories a day. This number varies according to how much you weigh, how fidgety you are, and how much you exercise. That’s why meeting with a professional sports dietitian can help you determine a reliable estimate. To find a local sports dietitian, use the referral network at www.scandpg.org 

Flying Is Hazardous to Your Training

Tlphone Mobile Senior

Many of us know that runners are more susceptible to catching colds after racing and running longer distances. Research has shown running longer than 90 minutes increases the risk of developing an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI). How to Prevent Colds and Illnesses after Racing and Running Long.

What other common activity increases your risk of illness? It’s not going outside without a hat during winter (sorry, Mom).

It’s flying.

Dehydration Myths

WaterBottlesmConventional wisdom among runners is that dehydration is to be avoided at all costs.   After all, doesn’t dehydration cause overheating? Doesn’t dehydration often result in heat distress? Doesn’t dehydration severely impair performance? Aren’t runners who collapse near or at the end of a race severely dehydrated and should be treated with rapid hydration?

Most of the running community will answer these questions with a resounding “yes”.  This all seems very logical and commonsense……….but it is not true!

Fighting Fatigue: Why Am I So Tired….???

HealthyFood

The Athlete’s Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD May 2016

“I feel tired a lot. What vitamins will give me more energy?”

“When I get home from work, I’m just too tired to cook dinner…”

 “I feel like taking a nap most afternoons. I get up at 5 a.m. to run—but really, should I feel this tired at 3:00 p.m.?” 

Runners commonly complain about fatigue and feeling too tired, too often. Granted, many of them wake up at early o-thirty to run, and some do killer workouts that would leave anyone feeling exhausted. Many routinely get too little sleep. And the question remains: How can I have more energy?

How to Prevent Colds and Illnesses After Racing and Running Long

Sneezing2013smWhy does racing or running long distances increase susceptibility to colds?

There is a large body of research that shows that moderate exercise reduces the incidence and severity of a cold or flu. However, intense or prolonged exercise increases the risk and severity of infection (ouch)!

The research we found most relevant to runners and endurance athletes was conducted by noted exercise immunologist, Dr. David Nieman, Director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University.  (Lance Armstrong has worked with Dr. Neiman and has been tested in Dr. Neiman’s lab, not in Lance’s “personal” lab).  Dr. Neiman found that running or cross-training 30 to 90 minutes a day several times a week strengthened the immune system.  However, exercise longer than 90 minutes increased risk of infection.

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