Recovery Nutrition for Runners: What Should You Eat After a Race?

Recovery Nutrition for Runners: What Should You Eat After a Race?

What should I eat after a marathon?

How many carbs should I eat after a run?

How much protein should I eat after a run?

These are common questions I get asked all the time and with spring racing season upon us, I thought I would revisit this topic of recovery nutrition by answering these 3 questions.

First, what is recovery nutrition? This is food and beverages that assist the body in healing, lowering inflammation and building up muscle fibers that ultimately improve our endurance. We are familiar with recovery tools like compression boots and Theraguns, but recovery nutrition is recovery from the inside out.

The basic recovery tips is to consume a carbohydrate and protein rich meal or snack within 45 minutes of finishing a workout to gain the benefits of building muscle and replenishing glycogen stores. You want snacks or meals that are giving you more carbohydrates than proteins, ideally a 3-to-1 ratio of carb to protein. Here are some food combos to achieve that ratio:

Chocolate Milk

Protein Smoothie [Build your own Smoothie]

Oatmeal with berries or favorite fruit

Yogurt Parfait with granola and favorite fruit

Grain Bowl

Cottage Cheese

This type of recovery is ideal post moderate to high intensity training workouts.

Maximizing what you eat after a workout or a race can make all the difference on how fast you recover and how well you can perform in that next workout or how quickly you recover after a race. You put the work into training or a race, don’t you want to get the most out of that effort and time you put in? Here is how to maximize your training:

What should I eat after a marathon?

Pasta, Breakfast foods like pancakes, eggs, Protein Smoothies, Greek Yogurt, Bananas, or find your favorite foods! Avoid greasy foods and limit the alcohol intake post race to ensure proper recovery.

Drink lots of fluids! Combine water and electrolytes to replenish hydration properly.

How many carbs should I eat after a run?

You want to aim for about 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight within the first hour post workout or race. And then continue to replenish with 1.5 grams/kg every 2 hours post long run or race.

EX: 125 lbs Female Runner finishes a 3 hour long run. Within the first hour she should consume 85 grams of carbohydrates, and then continue to consume 85 grams every 2 hours. That looks like a Chocolate Cauliflower Smoothie (50 grams) with an English muffin with peanut butter (35 grams) in the first hour.

How much protein should I eat after a run?

You want to aim for 10-20 grams of protein post workout or after a race within the first hour. Not only getting protein, but also focusing on Branched Chain Amino Acids [Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine] in your foods can improve muscle growth and repair. Foods like eggs, beans, milk and brown rice all contain BCAAs that help build muscle, which improves endurance and speed.

What is your favorite post-workout or post-race meal or snack? Does it refuel you properly for recovery? Share and let’s chat how to maximize your training through food!

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