Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Long Run: Post Run Eats

Distance running can seem very daunting, but believe it or not, you can do it too! Ready to train for your first half marathon? Or maybe you're about to tackle your 10th half or even a full! Join in on The Long Run for different tips and tricks for before, during and after to make it through your long run while feeling your best.




Rachelle at Inner Loop Adventures made a request for today's topic, so I decided I might as well kick off the series with her suggestion!

Quick and Easy Post Run Eats

Why refuel?
Refueling after a long run is incredibly important. During your run, you begin burning carbs stored as glycogen in the body. This is your body's primary source of fuel, so it's important to replace what you have burned.

As runners, we don't just run one day a week during our long runs. We train throughout the week with various shorter runs, hill training and speed training. Repeated days of strenuous exercise takes a toll on an individuals glycogen stores. Carbohydrate intake is what replenishes these stores. Hence the pre-long run/race day carboloading {which we'll talk about next week!} Not only do you need to think about eating after a long run, but think about when. Consuming 1.5 grams of carbs/1 kilogram of bodyweight within 30 minutes of completing your run is ideal for maximizing recovery!

For instance, a 130lb runner should have 88g of carbs post run. {Here's the math: 130/2.2 = 59kg*1.5 = 88.5 g of carbs!}

Components of Refueling
Now the key to eating these carbs and staying full is eating carbohydrates with a low glycemic index {GI}. Some examples of low GI foods are peanuts, peanut butter, plain yogurt, grapefruit, black beans, skim milk and whole wheat pasta. Moderate GI foods include peaches, carrots, brown rice, whole grain bread, power bars, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and honey. It's the higher GI foods you want to be aware of and eat in moderation {white bread, french fries, graham crackers, gatorade, bakedpotatoes} because they will raise your blood sugar. The more simple the carb is to bread down, the quicker your stomach will get that hungry feeling. That's why foods high in fiber and complex carbs are low on the glycemic index. Remember, just because something is higher on the GI doesn't mean your shouldn't have it. After a long run, it may be just what your body needs to recover!

Before I get to the actual foods to eat, don't ignore protein when refueling! A good rule of thumb is to have 1g protein per every 3g/4g carbs {different sources have different opinions on this}. Let's take a look at some of the easier and more complex meals you can eat after your run!




Additional foods to consider eating:

  • Greek yogurt with fruit and/or granola {if your tummy can handle it!} Greek yogurt has great protein content and less sugar than regular yogurt!
  • Hummus with veggies and pita chips. Great for post run recovery, but not great before a run. Beware, it could cause intestinal distress.
  • Almonds. Grab a handful of almond for a smaller recovery snack. They provide an excellent source of protein and healthy fat. Don't over do it though! These little suckers have more calories than you think and can add up quickly.
  • Chicken or salmon with brown rice. If you're running later in the day or you prefer a more savory recovery meal, this is great for you. The meat provides you with excellent protein and brown rice is a moderate carb on the glycemic index to fill you up!


A few things to remember:

  • Think natural, fresh and less processed when it comes to a recovery meal. Natural antioxidants, proteins, carbs, vitamins and minerals are going to aid your body in recovery
  • Short weekday runs (1-5 miles) do not require much to recover. Once your run extends beyond an hour, you need to consider specific recovery foods to help prepare your body for your next run.
  • Try to eat something within 30 minutes of finishing your run. If your tummy doesn't allow you to eat much, try a recovery drink {Chocolate milk, Gatorade, Muscle Milk, smoothies} followed by food when your stomach agrees with you.
  • Don't overdo it! Runners often have trouble losing weight because running gives us a case of the hungries! Try to eat smaller meals throughout the day in order to keep from overeating.

Now is your chance to ask questions and share your ideas on post long run foods! Next week we'll talk about pre-run fuel! I know, it's a little backwards, but how can I resist starting with a topic that someone actually suggests?! I'm hoping to continue with these once a week and use it as a place for people to ask questions, suggest topics and talk about running. Are y'all interested?


What are your go to post run meals?
What other topics would you like to see?

Sources:
About.com Running & Jogging
NASM CPT Textbook
Howstuffwork.com Health
Runners Connect

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