HomeAnswersHow many calories should a female runner eat in a day?

How many calories should a female runner eat in a day?

This question is about Nutrition and Running
Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, Freelance Writer
A female runner’s energy needs are dependent on many factors (such as age, weight, height, training load, and goals), and can vary between 1,500-3000+ calories/day.
It’s important to ensure that calorie intake meets expenditure, as a female runner needs enough calories to fuel exercise, maintain and build muscle, and support hormonal and reproductive health. Energy needs may be above normal in certain conditions, like extreme cold or heat, fear, stress, high altitude exposure, some physical injuries, increases in muscle mass and possibly the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle [3]. In contrast, calorie intake may be lower with training reductions, decreases in muscle mass and possibly the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle [3].
In general, the recommended macronutrient breakdown for female runners is protein (1.4-1.6 g/kg/day), carbohydrates (8 g/kg/day), and fats (0.5–1.5 g/kg/day) [1, 2]. 
woman running with pink shoes
  1. Liz Applegate, P. D. (2020, September 17). Not Created Equal. Runner's World. https://www.runnersworld.com/women/a20818730/nutrition-for-male-and-female-runners/
  2. Deldicque, L., & Francaux, M. (2015). Recommendations for Healthy Nutrition in Female Endurance Runners: An Update. Frontiers in nutrition, 2, 17. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2015.00017 
  3. Thomas, D. T., Erdman, K. A., & Burke, L. M. (2016). Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(3), 501–528. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2015.12.006

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