As I mentioned in my last post, I’m trying to up the calories and fuel myself better for running (and life). This is important obviously not only to my overall health but also because I’m still marathon training and want to continue to run healthily.
** Just to add: if putting on weight fails to do anything, then I’m heading to the doctor again and making my case fully heard, and to check there isn’t anything else wrong. I also know stopping running might be the easiest way to get things going again but I really hope it doesn’t come to that 🙁 **
The thoughts from my previous post haven’t just happened, I’ve been thinking about it for a while and have already been upping my nutrition. This was really important after my latest marathon as refuelling and recovering effectively would hopefully mean I could
jump ease back into marathon training for Bournemouth (October 4th) without major tiredness, issues or injuries. So far so good, finger’s crossed.
Straight after a marathon is a really tricky time because, like most people I’ve spoken to, I really don’t fancy anything to eat. You’ve just run for a ridiculously long time and your body is in a bit of shock and probably feeling a bit dodgy. But this is a critical time to refuel and maximise your recovery, and if you leave it too long you can end up doing your body no favours.
To combat not fancying food I bought a recovery shake from Tesco to drink straight afterwards. Drinking something is far easier than eating something. It’s also easier to put in your bag and carry with you.
I’d planned to take just regular chocolate milk but I liked the sound of this one with it’s added nutrients (vitamins, calcium, magnesium, etc.) and high protein (40g). Plus it was on offer in Tesco. It’s fairly low in carbs (10g) which was a bit annoying but I knew I’d get that sorted soon so I wasn’t concerned (looking at their website I probably should have chosen the Recovery version but this one wasn’t on offer…). And it tasted nice.
I’d drunk a bit more water immediately after finishing and actually wasn’t thirsty at all when my dad and me were back in the car. And I needed to pee about an hour later. Usually after a marathon it takes a fair few hours to need the loo (sorry, here I go again with my bathroom habits!). I think this is a great sign that I hydrated well, despite it being a very warm day.
We knew that we’d have trouble finding a place to eat driving back home because it would be late afternoon on a Sunday and most places would be closed. The day before when we were planning I suggested to my dad something I have never suggested before to him. How about a KFC? They’re always open!
I’m not a big fast food eater. I don’t like McDonalds or Burger Kings (why have a teeny plastic burger when you can have a delicious proper burger from a pub?) and fast food in general isn’t really my scene. However, you all know my love for a cheeky Nando’s and chicken in general and the thought of a dirty KFC after a hard run just sounded dreamy to me.
We did have to make a detour off our route home but we found one eventually. My dad was pleased to be allowed to legitimately have a KFC without me moaning at him. To be fair he hadn’t had lunch and had walked a fair distance, plus it seemed only fair considering how much of a help he was to me in supporting me.
I haven’t actually had a KFC since I was about 12 so I stood gawping at the menu for a bit having no idea what to choose. Eventually I went for a Mighty Bucket for One. Normally I might have been a bit dissuaded by the 1,200 calories listed next to this meal (which probably doesn’t include the fries) but hell I’d just run for 4.5 hours and needed it! I will just add, there are far better and more nutritionally sound ways to refuel after a marathon or workout – but for convenience, high calories and sheer god damn tastiness this was the ticket.
It took me a while though to actually eat the damn thing though. My stomach was cramping and I felt sick. After taking a breather I dove straight in though. I couldn’t eat it all (pretty much all the chicken disappeared but the chips were just too much for my delicate stomach – I prioritised with what I love of course!).
After arriving home and having the best shower of my life (I think I always say this after a race), I was a bit hungry again but the thought of cooking something was beyond me as I was so tired. Instead I went for the easy and tasty option of a lemon and blueberry slice of cake (thank you, Freezer Stock).
I also had some fruit and called it a night. Not a sound day of nutrition I grant you, but easy calories into the system nonetheless. The days after the marathon I made sure to keep my calories up (and of better quality). My favourite current meal is a monster salad of tinned salmon with avocado, butternut squash roasted in lots of coconut oil (heaven), and lots of veg. That might not sound that good but I made sure to have a lot of avocado in there and use a big blob of coconut oil.
And on the Tuesday after the marathon, a Nando’s before seeing Inside Out at the cinema after work worked wonders.I think I did pretty well last week on refuelling and I’ve continued this going forward. Some days I do feel stuffed though and that I’ve eaten loads, but at the same time I know it’s doing my body good. My mindset is that this is part of running well. It’s like my strength training. Most of the time I find it quite hard to feel the same enjoyment as I get from running when I go to the gym, but at the same time I know it’s important to do so I can run. The same goes with increasing my weight. I might not enjoy my clothes feeling tighter going forward, but I’d hate to not be able to run a whole lot more.
Going forward I’ll be posting about how things are going, what I’m eating and the changes I’m making alongside my usual mumbo jumbo!
How do you recover after a marathon/hard workout?
What do you eat immediately after you work out/race?
What’s your favourite fast food if you had to pick one?