Calorie Recovery: Post-Run Nutrition
Did you know that it’s Cadbury mini-egg season?! You probably aren’t aware of the significance of this fact, so I’ll tell you. Simply put, they are some of the best chocolate on the planet (without spending way too much money!), and the fact that they are only available for a limited time makes them all the more desirable. There are certainly other varieties of chocolate that I enjoy a great deal, but there is just something about Cadbury that makes my heart start to race. Needless to say, when I saw them on display, next to the cheap Valentine’s chocolate that was still on display, my heart skipped a beat, and immediately grabbed a bag. It’s because of these little eggs from heaven that I will never give up chocolate!
So, when I was out for a run following this little adventure, it occurred to me that I look forward to chocolate and to those little mini-eggs of goodness even more after a long run. This got me to thinking about the various post-run food and drink items I have tried, so I thought I would share. Perhaps you have some special snacks of your own that you prefer to indulge in post-run.
Overall, I think of eating and drinking after a run as serving two purposes- regaining the calories I burn, which can be as many as 3000 on a long run, and aiding in recovery (i.e. keeping the pain to a minimum). To varying degrees, these items have accomplished those two goals.
Chocolate Milk: Ever since hearing about the research demonstrating the benefits of chocolate milk as a recovery drink, I’ve been hooked. As you can guess, I love it to begin with and the fact that it’s a great recovery aid just sweetens the pot.
Sports Drinks: If I’ve mainly consumed water out on my run, a sports drink such as Gatorade or Powerade can give me a nice burst. However, after eating gels or GU Chomps during a run, the sugary sweetness of most sports drinks is a bit much. I typically cut them 50/50 with water to lessen the blow to my stomach.
Chocolate: I know this one probably comes as a shock to many of you! I’ve found that a small amount of chocolate after a run can give me enough of a boost to keep going until a more thorough meals takes place. I also focus quite a bit on chocolate during the last few miles of a run, which certainly helps get me through it!
Oatmeal: In terms of an overall breakfast, nothing beats a warm bowl of fresh oatmeal. I’ll typically pack in as much goodness as possible by adding some ground flaxseed and chia seeds, as well as nuts and fresh or dried fruit. A bit of fresh cream or brown sugar on top rounds out a filling, nutritious post-run breakfast.
Going The Distance Muffins: These compact, energy-filled muffins are great pre- or post-run. The beautiful, talented blogger over at Midwestern Exposure has a great recipe for these nutritious and delicious treats.
I’ve found that the key to nutrition after a run is to keep it simple. When you body is working so hard to recover as it is, putting the extra strain of trying to digest complex foods can be too much. Of course, more than anything else, the best recovery item is still good ol’ H2O. I am guilty, as are many runners, of not drinking enough water during the run, no matter how hard I try, so rehydrating at the end of a run is still vital!
These are a few of my go-to items- how about you? Feel free to comment and share your favorite post-run nutrition items.