With content from a Blog posted by Joe English
Runners should be eating and drinking within the first 30-45 minutes after their run to help ease and speed their recovery. That window of time is critical in that the body is primed to reload depleted muscle energy stores and to start the rebuilding process from the damage done during the workout. And by easing your recovery, by which I mean helping to alleviate a great deal of the soreness, stiffness and fatigue that comes in the 24-48 hours after a long run. In fact, one of the prime drivers of when you’ll be ready to train hard again, is whether you’ve reloaded yourself properly in those first critical minutes after your workout. If it is taking you two or even three days of feeling totally wrecked after your long runs, then look to your post-run recovery regime for help.
Basic recovery procedures
First, let’s start with the basics. Rehydrate the body by drinking 32 ounces of fluid immediately after running and then every two hours for the next 4-8 hours after the workout. Use a sports drink or electrolyte solution to replace lost electrolytes. Second, you want to “eat” 1 to 1.2 grams of carbohydrate for each kilogram of your body weight and about 15 grams of protein in those first 30-45 minutes after the end of the workout. Third, when I say “eat” I may mean drinking instead of actual eating these foods. Liquid foods (e.g. smoothies and shakes) will be easier to digest and will be absorbed more quickly than solid foods. But if your body is screaming for something solid, then this is a signal from your body that it needs more food. Liquid foods also can often go down when the stomach is still tender after a difficult workout, so most of the recommendations below are for liquids.
The best recovery foods for runners
There are plenty of post-exercise recovery drinks available on the market. The key is to get to get those carbs and that protein into your body. A good rule of thumb is a ratio of 4:1 carbohydrate to protein, so it will provide the nutrients you need immediately after a workout. Many people have come to rely on chocolate milk and a banana. Simple, elegant, easy. Available at any grocery store in an instant. This won’t work for those on dairy free diets just make sure to drink enough to get in at least 15 grams of protein.
See our Recipe section for recovery smoothie recipes. Try them and make sure to get in plenty of fluids in the hours after your run. You’ll be amazed at the difference in the speed of your recovery and your level of fatigue the day after your runs.