Welcome back to another edition of the Running Coaches’ Corner linkup! On Wednesdays we share advice, workouts, and stories from the road/trail. Feel free to link up with us — so long as it’s about running, we’d love to read it!
Through the month of April, we’re focusing on nutrition. Proper nutrition is paramount to a healthy, active lifestyle. I can’t drive home this point enough. Nutrition affects all walks of life. Study upon study shows how valuable proper nutrition is for school aged kids and their attention span in school, reflecting in their performance and test scores. There’s a plethora of information on how nutrition affects us through adulthood — from autoimmune diseases affecting skin, digestion, and even our brains. It’s impossible to ignore the mountains of evidence showing just how important what we eat is to our overall well-being.
If you take away nothing but one thing from our discussion of nutrition on the Running Coaches’ Corner throughout the month of April, it’s this: pay attention to what you put in your body. It’s the fuel for your entire existence. You only get one body in this life. Treat it as your temple.
(Stepping off soapbox.)
Replenishing After a Race
Now, today I want to talk to you about how to replenish your body after a tough workout or race.
After a tough workout or race, your body will be missing (or in need of more) macronutrients. Specifically, carbohydrates and proteins. It’s vital to replenish these lost stores after working out. Replenishing soon after activity will reduce soreness and fatigue, and will help you prepare for your next challenging activity.
During a high intensity or long duration activity, such as a half or full marathon, your body will be in a completely glycogen depleted state. This means you need to replace those lost glycogen stores as soon after exercise as possible. You’ll want to aim for carbohydrates with a high glycemic index. High GI foods have sugars that can be broken down and used quickly. Ordinarily it’s best to choose foods with a low glycemic index as it takes longer to digest, but in this case, quicker is better. A great post workout snack would be a bagel with peanut butter. You’ll get roughly 45 grams of carbs plus about 15 grams of proteins with this snack.
Speaking of protein, you’ll need to get protein as soon as possible as well. Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth, as well as the repair of tissues and cells. Protein also acts as a carrier for other nutrients. Protein synthesis (the building of muscles) increases after working out. As such, whey and casein protein powders are a great option to add to a post workout smoothie.
In addition to bagels and smoothies, if you’ve ever wondered why there’s usually a chocolate milk table at the end of a race, it’s because chocolate milk packs a mean nutritional punch when it comes to post run refueling. With a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein, it’s a quick, easy, and inexpensive (oh, also, DELICIOUS) way to get your carbs and proteins after a hard workout.
Timing is Everything
The ideal time to replace lost macronutrients is about 15-30 minutes after you’ve finished your workout. After the initial replenishment, you’ll want to continue replenishing lost glycogen stores every 2-3 hours throughout the day.
If you’re looking for a great post-run/race recipe, be sure to check out the Marathon Recovery Smoothie I just posted on Monday. It’s got everything your body needs for proper post-race recovery.
And if you find yourself craving something healthy and unexpected after a tough workout, give in to the craving. It usually means your body is missing something and needs to replace it.
For me? It’s salad. I almost always crave a hearty salad after a long run. It just sounds good!
TALK TO ME!
What’s the weirdest post-workout snack you’ve either eaten or craved?
Pick one: chocolate milk or protein smoothie?