Fuel from the Road
As the summer training miles pile up, recovery from these miles becomes even more essential. Proper recovery isn’t rocket science, it’s as simple as following the top five tips below. And it’s essential because when you recover with the right blend of protein, carbohydrates, and fluid soon after exercise, you’ll be refueling your muscles and halting muscle breakdown in its tracks. Here are some simple tips to remember when it comes to optimal recovery.
- Timing is crucial: after finishing a long run, short run, speed workout, cross training session, you name it, refueling within 30 to 60 minutes is crucial. That’s because there is a short window of time where your body is primed for building and repairing muscles and replenishing what you lost during activity.
- What you eat matters: Aim for a mix of high quality protein (at least 15-25grams) and 2-4x as much carb. Remember that what you consume after runs and really anytime impacts your weight goals and your performance so opt for nutrient-dense choices that benefit your health and your running rather than grabbing junk food because you “earned” it.
- Carbohydrate and protein is paramount: the best post-run foods have a blend of carbs and protein and these nutrients can be found in any of the following choices; a PB&J sandwich + a serving of fruit, a bowl of oatmeal made with skim milk and a spoonful of almond butter, or (my personal go-to) a smoothie made with EAS 100% Whey protein powder + EAS Muscle Armor (it’s blend of HMB and nutrients reduce muscle breakdown, the same breakdown that leads to soreness) + almond milk + a handful of berries.
- Run the numbers: If you’re like many runners and prefer to personalize your perfect post-run recovery meal, are well versed in reading nutrition fact panels, or maybe you’re familiar with logging your food and nutrients using an app that calculates nutrients for you, you might be wondering exactly how much carb and protein to aim for. The ideal mix, per pound of body weight, is approximately 0.4g-0.5/lb of carb and 0.13g/lb of protein. In other words, if you weight 160lb, aim for a post-run meal or snack of 64g of carb + 21g of protein.
- Rehydrate right: If you worked out for over an hour or were pushing it in hot, humid environment, it’s likely that you lost quite a bit of electrolytes in addition to fluids. Rehydrate with a drinks like Myoplex BCAA + Electrolytes (which has a precise blend of electrolytes for fast rehydration), coconut water (which has potassium you need to refresh but be sure to find a source of sodium as well), or even water with a splash of lime, lemon. Water does a fine job of rehydrating- just be certain to compliment this choice with electrolyte-containing foods throughout the day.
I hope you’ll find that at the end of the day, at the end of each training session and season, recovery isn’t a chore; it’s simple and when you make it a habit, it makes a difference. When you recover right by following the tops above, you’re likely to find that by just by eating better and within the critical 30-60minutes following a workout, you’ll avoid post-run soreness, be able to exercise harder next time, build muscle (not fat), and improve your overall health and performance.