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Informative Female Triad/Nutrition Workshop

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Successful Female Triad/Nutrition Workshop

A very exciting Female Triad/Nutrition for endurance workshop was held on Sunday at Donore Harriers following the Autumn Open XC event. This event was aimed at all female Junior & U23 endurance athletes along with their parents/coaches and was extremely well attended. The workshop was led by Athletics Ireland Nutritionist Orla Walsh and former international athlete & physical therapist Niamh O'Sullivan. 

Orla spoke about the importance of proper nutrition in an athlete’s lifestyle along with keeping an eye on protein and calcium intake especially. She also spoke of iron supplementation for female athletes and getting regular blood tests also checking vitamin D levels. Orla went on to explain many ways to improve Vitamin D levels outside of sun exposure. A DEXA scan was mentioned to measure bone density levels she further details here http://www.irishhealth.com/article.html?id=7099. Niamh gave a great insight into her own experience as a female athlete and how she overcame various issues related to the female triad. She emphasized that the volume of running was the single most important thing coaches should be aware of when a young athlete has lost a large amount of weight, has an irregular menstrual cycle or has low bone density or a combination of each. It was recommended that volume of running should be carefully managed or lowered and possibly get more aerobic work done through swimming, cycling, aqua jogging etc. Niamh also explained about stress responses and stress fractures and using a skeleton showed the common sites where these injuries occur. 

Following the two presentations there was time for some questions from the audience and some answers to the many queries people had. To round off the workshop National Junior Endurance Coach Steve Macklin emphasized to the group about the athlete-coach relationship and the importance of all athletes being extremely honest with their coaches at all times and if concerned about any issues related to the female triad, to speak with their parents and coaches straight away. All in all a fantastic workshop and one which hugely benefited all those in attendance. 

This is an area which many do not understand fully, it flies under the radar a little and a huge education piece is needed for all athletes, parents and coaches going forward. Athletics Ireland hope to run more workshops in this area over the coming months. For further information see website links below:

https://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/the-female-athlete-triad.pdf

http://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition/factsheets/basics/female_athlete_triad

http://www.olympic.org/documents/reports/en/en_report_917.pdf

http://www.ncaa.org/health-and-safety/nutrition-and-performance/2014-female-athlete-triad-consensus-statement-guidelines

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