We’ve all been there. Its hot (Or cold but you’re hot), you have just spent hours on the trail or on the pavement, soles pounding, electrolytes released, heart coming up and down as you switch in between race pace and easy pace, muscles aching from those little micro tares that come with the satisfaction of a run you’ve been looking forward too all week.
Now you need…want…nay DESERVE to eat. Been there about a million times. You’ve burnt out your glycogen stores and you are probably craving a carb rich, hydrating food that is going to be oh so good in your belly and your mouth. But you also need to eat something that is going to help with all of those little tears in your muscles which means proteins.
So many people get caught up in making the perfect nutrient dense meal in these moments. They don’t want to “Ruin” the last few hours. That is a thought that needs to stop right there. Nothing is going to ruin the hours that you just spent in the comfortable embrace or nature or in the company of good running buddies. Instead of focusing on the perfect meal, take a few moments to really listen to your body. This can be a task if you are like me and just want to play pac-man and eat everything in sight. But once you listen you can really hone in.
Normally this means a combination of high quality carbs, proteins and fluids. A go to for me is smoothies. Experts agree for the most part that 45 minutes after a work out in the best time to refuel so that you are aiding in recovery, but some of us just don’t like to eat right away.
They key here is to focus on the quality aspect, which is why you should be stocking your fridge with things that are always high quality so you wont just go for the closest thing.
My Favorite Carbs:
- Sweet Potatos: Nothing like a baked sweet potato after a long run in the cold
- Bananas: Can you say Bananas and almond butter? Nothing is more perfect.
- Beets (Yes they are a carb): Smoothies or even just on a salad or bowl
- Brown rice: The perfect base for a bowl with veggies and some of your fav proteins
My Favorite Proteins:
- Eggs: Always an easy go to for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
- Chickpeas: I am all about chickpeas. They are high in fiber and nurtuients and are so easy on your stomach.
- Fish: Low in fats and high in just about everything else.
- Nuts and nut butters: See bananas for the perfect ideas. But also adding these to your smoothies is a best idea.
My Favorite Anti inflammatory foods:
- Ginger: Miso ginger has to be one of my favorite soups but also just trying boiling some ginger in water with lemon and using it to make a lemonade so its ready to drink after your run.
- Avocados: Another favorite of everyones, most of all in bowls but also add a great smoothness to smoothies
- High Quality Olive Oils: I want to add this one because everyone seems to be against olive oil but a high quality olive oil is very anti inflammatory and good for you.
The Keys to eating after a long run are simple yes. But is can be hard to remember when you have just knocked off a long run. Make sure you try and stick to these guide lines:
- Eat within 45 minutes after a work out.
- Hydrate hydrate hydrate!
- Chew slowly, savor and pay attention to when you are actually full (It can be hard after that long of a work out just to plow through).
- Don’t limit yourself if you aren’t full (A 100 calorie bar isn’t going to cut it after a long run).
- Move around. Don’t just go into a food coma after a long run or you are going to stiffen up.
What are some of your favorite foods or ways to fuel after a long run?