What you eat after you have been for a run can help you to get the most from exercise but it can also prepare you for your next running session.
Running is an intense form of exercise and as a result, it uses up a lot of energy while breaking down muscle fibres and cells. Don’t be alarmed though, this is natural but you can make it all good again by eating the right things. It is simple enough but being armed with the correct information can help you to make the right decisions.
First of all, when should you eat?
So, you have been for a run, you’re sweating heavily and you’re short of breath which means that food might be the last thing on your mind. However, studies suggest you should aim to rebuild glycogen stores within 30 minutes of finishing your run. This can help to reduce muscle soreness. We are not talking a large meal here, just something that includes the right amount of protein and carbohydrates.
What should you eat?
What you consume after you run is just as important as when you choose to eat. You need to put something good back into your body so you don’t pay the price for neglecting it tomorrow. Your body won’t thank you for not refuelling it, so you need to make sure you give it that perfect blend of protein to rebuild muscle and carbs to replace the glycogen.
There are multiple studies that suggest that you should eat around 0.14 to 0.23 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim to eat between 21-34.5 grams of protein. Therefore, you should turn to 3 ounces of salmon or 3 ounces of turkey breast. Fuelling your body with the right amount of protein will ensure that those muscle fibres and cells can be rebuilt.
Now you need to think about carbs. So, you should look at a ratio of 3-4 grams for every gram of protein you consume. If you eat 20 grams of protein then you should look to consume around 60-80 grams of carbs. While you can eat carbs in the form of glucose, which is easier to break down, they are not particularly good for you as they are often found in sugary snacks. The aim is to consume nutrient-dense carbs such as sweet potatoes, whole grain pasta and brown rice.
Reach for a Recovery Snack
Sometimes, you just don’t have time to prepare the right food and that is ok. This is where you can choose protein bars that provide you with all that you need. You need a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein to get what your body really needs. You can also grab quick foods such as whole-grain bread filled with peanut butter.
The aim is to enhance your understanding of what the body needs and how to get it. Once you get it right, your body will be adequately fueled and you will be ready to go again!