Rock Your Recovery


So fueling during the run has been covered until I think we can finally consider it the dead horse — just so I can say: there’s no use beating a dead horse ;) Can I also say that I finally had something substantial (a banana English muffin with almond butter) before my half marathon this past Saturday, and I felt incredible!  I do realize I broke my own rule of never trying anything new before race day, but I sure don’t regret it!  So with breakfast, a gel 15 minutes before the start, and a gel at mile 6 or so I FINALLY raced a half marathon without bonking!  I even hit a 7.5 minute PR!  So, if I say it once, I’ll say it twice:  FUEL YOUR RUN!! (Dead horse.  I know.)

Now, onto recovery.  I personally prefer this to fueling before and during the run because it means I HAVE to eat something — and who doesn’t love mandatory eating?!  Show of hands?  I shall proceed.

Recovery includes, but is not limited to: stretching, rehydrating, general recovery nutrition, and off days. More often than not we skip a lot of the recovery.  Who has time for stretching and “team no days off” is trending.  Dumb.  So dumb. You need rest AND recovery.  In fact, off days should be in their own category!  But that’s another topic for another day.


The Decree of Recovery Nutrition

  • Replenish what you sweat.  Replenish electrolytes and fluid that are lost via sweat.  Remember:  Your body cannot efficiently absorb water post-workout without electrolytes.  If hard workouts temporarily reduce your appetite, rehydrate with Nuun tablets or Hammer Endurolytes.  Not into awesome products that are designed with hydration in mind?  If you like dirt, coconut water works great, too!
  • Just because it only makes sense to cover it in this order, fill up the tank! That’s right.  Carbohydrates.  Don’t fear them.
  • Repair with protein. Endurance activities and weight lifting break down existing muscle by creating little microtears.  Repair these tears with protein to properly BUILD UP existing muscle.
  • The Window: 15 minutes – 1 hour.  This window is a hot and debatable topic among nutrition experts, but you will find that an hour is a pretty consistent answer.

These are decrees.  Rules.  Not recommendations.  Your body will thank you.  And you will thank me :)

Recommendations.  Not Rules.

  • Water:  Weigh yourself before and after your run — you know the drill.  Naked.  For every pound you lose, add 16 oz. of water (or fluid/electrolyte replinishment) to your water intake.  How much are your daily needs?  Roughly half your body weight in ounces.
  • Carbohydrates: 0.5 g/lb (according to Nancy Clark, RD) of body weight.  No cheating!
  • Protein: Ready for the shocker?  According to Nancy, only 10-20 g (0.1-0.2 g/lb) of protein is needed.  Again, the math is all you ;)

If you’re like me, immediately eating after pounding the pavement is the last thing you want to do.  But it’s the first thing I make myself do (after stretching, of course).

Recovery Snacks If you’re refueling between meals, a good rule of thumb is to eat back half of the calories you burned.  If you burned 500 calories, eat 250 calories.

Protein + Carbohydrate Snacks:
Banana + 1 T Natural Peanut Butter ~200 calories
8 oz. Lowfat Chocolate Milk ~140 calories
Apple + Low Fat Mozz. String Cheese ~130 calories
Progresso Heart Healthy Chicken Noodle Soup ~180 calories (1 can)
Chobani 2% Greek Yogurt ~150 calories
Egg on Whole Wheat Toast + Orange ~250 calories

Recovery Meals

Chipotle Burrito Bowl.  Need I say more?  But choose wisely!
2 Scrabled Eggs + Oatmeal
Green Smoothie (Yogurt + berries + spinach/kale)
Peanut Butter + Banana + Strawberries Sandwich + 8 oz Skim Milk (post long run)
16 oz. Lowfat Chocolate Milk + Banana 3 oz.
Salmon + 1/2 c. Quinoa+ Green Veggie
Spinach + 3 oz. Grilled Chicken + 1/2 cup Berries + 1 kiwi + 1/2 apple + 7 prunes + 1 oz. Goat Cheese + 1/8 cup pecans + 2 T Light Vinagerette (aka… a fully loaded salad)

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