Refuelling after a Run

Hello! Today I have a guest post from Drew Griffiths regarding the importance of refuelling after a run…

If you are training on a regular basis, then recovery is highly important.   Poor dietary habits can impact not only training, but health in general.  If the correct nutrition is not in place, and a runner cannot fully recovery in between runs, then overtraining, a stressed and weakened immune system and inflammation of the body can all occur.

With this in mind, here are some tips for enhancing and optimising recovery after a run:

Before, During & After Exercise
To optimise recovery, plan ahead –  consume fluid with electrolytes and glucose (or maltodextrin) before, during and after a run.  Bear in mind that the body can only make use of around 150ml of fluid every 15 minutes, so sipping on a drink is the best strategy to keep hydrated and supply the muscles with important electrolytes like sodium and glucose to fuel the hard working muscles.

After a long, or an intense run, insulin levels will be increased for up to 2 hours. This means that the carbohydrate will be pulled into the muscles to refuel them (a process called gluconeogenesis) at a much greater rate than normal.  For this reason, try and eat at least 50g of carbohydrate within an hour of a run. The exact amount of carbohydrate to eat will depend on the duration and intensity of the run.

Protein is also vital for recovery, as protein is required to rebuild and repair muscles.  Depending on your bodyweight, 20g to 35g should be consumed within the hour after a run.

Chocolate milk is great for recovery, as it contains sodium, sugar and protein.  Ideally however, a perfect drink for straight after a run would contain a number of electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium and magnesium; and the protein source would be whey protein, as this has been shown in research to enhance recovery from endurance exercise.

Daily Diet Tips for Recovery
Nutrition before, during and after a run is only half the story when it comes to optimising recovery.  One important thing to be mindful of is that some foods are inflammatory (or pro-inflammatory), whilst other are anti-inflammatory.   Oily fish, turmeric and ginger are all fantastic anti inflammatory foods and spices; whilst vegetable oils, sugar and deep fried foods are generally regarded as pro-inflammatory, and should be excluded from the diet or at least cut down on.

Runners should also look to consume foods that are as unprocessed and raw as possible.  For example, Himalayan salt is a fantastic source of a range of electrolytes; whereas refined table salt is of little nutritional value and contains only sodium chloride which is linked to high blood pressure when consumed in high quantities without other electrolytes such as magnesium.

Anna here again! These are great tips – I especially love the chocolate milk one as I can fully get on board with that 😉

How do you recover from a run/workout?

What do you prioritise most? Nutrition? Stretching? Sleep?

Do you eat before working out?

11 Replies to “Refuelling after a Run”

  1. I should remember that tip about the Himalayan salt- I have some but I never remember to include it in anything- I keep thinking I will try and make my own electrolyte drink but I just ordered a load more nuun from their site!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…KauaiMy Profile

  2. Post workout recovery is SO vital for any kind of training. Not just the nutritional aspect, which is probably my favorite part 😉 , but also the physical in terms of stretching, icing, foam rolling, etc. Its something i was AWFUL at in high school and competetive playing soccer days, so Im really focusing on it more now!
    Kat recently posted…Mocha Latte Overnight OatsMy Profile

  3. I like the chocolate milk tip! I usually run in the mornings and for shorter runs I just have some water before and eat breakfast when I get back. Stretching is something I need to prioritise more as I never have enough time to do it properly. x
    LilyLipstick recently posted…Seoul FoodMy Profile

  4. Chocolate milk for the win! 🙂
    After long runs I always stretch out, and try to eat something proteiny as soon as possible. If I can’t eat anything just yet, then I get some chocolate milk in! Sleep is the thing I have become most rubbish at lately though. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to get a solid 7-8 hours a night right now. 🙁
    Mary recently posted…Busy teaching timesMy Profile

  5. Great diet tips for runners Anna and Drew! Had to share (shortly!) as it’s very simple and to the point. The chocolate milk thing is always good in a pinch and with nothing but a convenience store!

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