International Journal of Exercise Science 11(3): 941-956, 2018.The complexity behind nutritional decisions and the impact of these decisions on overall health (both physical and emotional) in the Division I female runner is not yet well understood. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore the perspectives of female collegiate cross-country runners from a Division I school on eating behaviors and attitudes toward health. In this qualitative study, six NCAA Division I female collegiate cross-country runners participated in individual interviews. Through qualitative analysis, three themes (Nutritional Views, Identity as a Runner, and Psychological Factors) and 11 subthemes emerged. The interactions that occurred between the subthemes and themes demonstrated that there were multiple interacting factors influencing the athletes’ nutritional behaviors. Intrinsic factors consisted of maintaining self-control, perception of trust and available time. Extrinsic factors included availability of a nutritionist, family and team support, and availability of nutritious food. These findings give some insight into the nutritional decisions in female runners, but it is a complex issue. It is evident that individualized education regarding eating behavior is needed for the female athlete.

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Appendix A- Guide to Questions