What Should I Eat After Running?
Honey Buckwheat Pancakes (my favorite pancake recipe)
After running (or any workout), especially a long or hard workout, you want to replenish your glycogen stores as quickly as possible.
Studies have shown that muscles are most responsive to rebuilding glycogen (stored glucose) stores within the first 30 minutes after exercise. Eating within this time frame has been shown to decrease muscle soreness and help you recover faster for your next workout.
Protein and carbohydrates should be your primary source of fuel after running, but don’t completely avoid fat. Dietary fat is necessary because it supplies your body with fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, which are key nutrients for your body.
Some examples include:
- Nutrition bars; my favorite are Clif bars (they are an exact protein to carb ratio).
- Whole wheat bagel with peanut butter.
- Bowl of Greek yogurt with cereal, granola, and/or fruit.
- Smoothie made with fruit and yogurt/milk; I also like to add in brown rice protein powder.
- If you feel like you have trouble stomaching solid foods, try chocolate milk. It has a favorable carbohydrate/protein ratio.
After I’m done running, I normally just make breakfast. I don’t have a “special” recovery meal that I swear by, so I just eat what I want. It can be any of the following:
- Oatmeal with protein powder, fruit, and nut butter.
- Pancakes or waffles with fruit, Greek yogurt, and maple syrup (and nut butter).
- Eggs and toast with a side of Greek yogurt, granola, and fruit.
I really like fruit and nut butter.
I just make sure that I get a moderate amount protein, carbohydrates, and heart healthy fat.
Another requirement is that it has to be delicious.
If I want to stress one thing, it’s that you don’t need to get caught up in numbers and ratios. These are just guidelines to help you recover properly, but there is no law that says you must eat 4 grams of carbohydrates to 1 gram of protein.
From my experience, I’ve learned that just eating a balanced meal or snack is all you really need.
To sum everything up, eat a balanced (and delicious) meal or snack within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. That’s it.
Running: 16.2 miles (7:39 pace)
Swimming: 30 minutes (cool down)
I also cleaned my apartment for 2 hours.
Does that count as a workout?
More on the long run tomorrow