After a strenuous run or a big race, it is of utmost priority to replenish your muscles with the necessary nutrients and fluids lost during your run. This will help speed up your recovery time and ensure you would be back in shape in no time.
Reach for simple carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen stores. This should be done within the 15 minute window of completing your race. Something simple would do – like an apple or bananas. Studies have shown that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen stores within the first 30 minutes of exercise. This will help minimise muscle stiffness and soreness. So make sure to pack an apple to munch on immediately after you’ve crossed the finish line.
Within 2 hours of completing your race, grab a protein rich snack. This is to kickstart muscle repair. Protein is important for repair, maintenance and growth off muscles. Consuming adequate protein will help speed up your recovery. An easy example to carry around with you is chocolate milk.
You lose alot of fluid through sweating. Remember to replace your fluids! This really is your first priority post-run. Grab a sports drink with plenty of electrolytes such as Gatorade or 100 Plus. You don’t want to suffer from dehydration.
After having your post run snacks, you can shower, freshen up and collect your prize. However your meals after must still contain a good ratio of carbohydrates and protein. Ideally, you would want to consume carbohydrates and protein in the 4:1 ratio. Protein is important because it enhances the body’s ability to replace glycogen and also helps with the reparation of muscles.
Examples of a good meal are as follows:
- Whole Wheat Bread with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon
- Whole Wheat Toast with avocado and turkey breast
- Whole Wheat Pasta with chicken breast
Don’t Indulge Right Away
It’s tempting to have that burger and fries and a mug of beer and pat yourself on your back for that great run you had. I mean it is well deserved. Plus c’mon you’ve already burned so many calories! It is okay to indulge but not right away! Wait a couple of hours before digging in to that ice-cream tub! This is because high-fat food slows down the digestion of post-race carbs, hence impeding recovery. If you consume high fat foods, it would render your effort in consuming good carbs and protein negligible.
Remember recovery is very important. Eat right to a great recovery!