All athletes plan their routine, in terms of their exercise, nutrition; practice sessions all of this is done to get the best results from his/her body. While you might get the expected results with your performance but, that certainly does not mean that your body is also getting the expected nutrition. In fact, some of the best athletes and more recently we have come across cases of regular marathon runners fainting or blacking out during the run or after the run. This situation occurs due to nutrition imbalance in body.
To be healthy we have to take care of our meals throughout the day. Similarly, we have to take care of our post run meals as well to recover our body. By eating the right foods at right times your body will recover and be able to perform the way you want it to. So if you are a runner or planning to run you need to be aware of what exactly you should be eating before, during and after your running events. This is important so that you are able to keep your body in optimal condition.
So let’s understand more about this.
- Some basics before your run: If you are planning to jog no longer than 40 or 50 minutes at a relaxed pace, a glass of water might be all that’s needed ahead of time—provided you have had a decent dinner the night before. But, if the previous night’s meal wasn’t filling or if you ate it early, downing some orange juice or a banana will replace glycogen stores in your muscles to wave off sluggishness. If you’re heading out in the afternoon, have a snack with about 50 grams of carbs in it—like yogurt and a granola bar—an hour or two before hand
- Post run, our body requires lot of different nutrition, so let’s divide into different category – PROTEIN, CARBS, ELECTROLYTES AND ANTIOXIDANTS.
- Protein: Protein is the best resource to repair your body. It repairs muscle damage, diminishes the effects of cortisol—the so-called “stress” hormone that breaks down muscle—and, when taken with carbohydrates it speeds your body’s ability to replenish its glycogen stores, your all-important energy source for those long runs during marathon season. So post run your Protein ratio should be 1:4 which means 1 gram of protein for every 4 gram of CARBS
- Carbs: Carbohydrates or carbs as is known commonly are body’s main fuel source, and are stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver, so eating carbs shortly after your workout helps optimize your body’s recovery. And it is during this time that your muscles are most receptive to rebuilding your glycogen reserves.
- Electrolytes and Antioxidants: Electrolytes are minerals in our blood and other body fluids like Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sodium, etc that carry an electric charge. It also affects the percentage of water in our body, the acidity of our blood (pH), our muscle functionality, and other important processes. While running, we sweat a lot and we lose electrolytes when we sweat. So we really have to replace our sweat by drinking fluids that contain electrolytes.
The techniques we can use
The fastest recovery techniques post training is rehydration, glycogen resynthesis and protein and antioxidant supplementation. These techniques replenish our muscle fuel supplies, hasten the repair of muscle damage and combat free radical formation in our cells.
Having said all of the above now it’s time for me to provide you with some resources for the post recovery foods that can help to replenish your body with the vital nutrients discussed above.
At first you start restoring the fluids in the body after your long run – the quick fixes for this are sports drink, lemon water or some plain water. However, the recovery process does not stop here so we have some specific foods that can help you to restore your body in recovery.
- Greek yogurt
- Skim Milk
- Green Tea
- Lean beef
- Turkey breast
- Sports/Energy bar
- Whole-Wheat Pasta
- Fruit Juice
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Almonds or other nuts
Its recommended to have your post run meal within an hour or so, but incase if it is not possible then you can go for the following options, which will help you to sustain for some time:
- Have an apple which will give you some energy and raise your glucose level to sustain.
- Protein bars, Protein shake with the combination of milk or water, whatever is convenient for you.
- Banana is really good option to get quick energy.
- Have Bread with some peanut butter.
- My Favorite – Chocolate Milkshake.
- Hummus and carrots
- Some Greek yogurt.
As we love running and it’s a part of our lifestyle, routine and our health journey, so we really need to take care of the hard impact of it on our body. To continue our journey with running and healthy lifestyle we need to give appropriate rest and relaxation after every run and make sure that our body recovers completely after a every rigorous workout/running.