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When and What to Eat After Running

When and What to Eat After Running by bmoore

It can be really hard to eat right after you run, especially after going long. Nonetheless, it’s incredibly important that you do so. Why?

Numerous studies have shown that the critical 30 minutes immediately after running is the time when muscle tissue is most receptive to rebuilding glycogen stores. So this timing is a crucial factor for assisting recovery and repairing muscle tissue, minimizing stiffness and soreness post-workout, and decreasing recovery time.

Don’t make the mistake of working out and thinking you will eat when you are hungry. By then it may be too late. But the good news is, that you don’t have to consume a full meal immediately after running to reap the timing benefits.

Most sports dieticians advise athletes consume both protein and carbs immediately following hard activity. In terms of protein, amino acids like glutamine and arginine have been shown to improve the body’s ability to re-synthesize glycogen after exercise. Specifically, the protein and carbohydrate combination may also assist in the repair and synthesis of muscle proteins after exercise. [1]  So what does this mean from a practical standpoint?

Post run, you should consume about 50 grams of carbohydrates and just 15 grams of protein. Some good choices for carb replenishment are orange juice and a cup and a half of pretzels, or a banana and a granola bar. Good Carb/protein combinations are a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread, low-fat chocolate milk, or a high carb sports bar.

One good rule of thumb if you want to get more specific about post-workout carb/protein consumption is by using this formula: weight / 2  = carbohydrates in grams. This is the amount of carbs you should consume within 30 minutes of your workout. Consume your protein in a 4:1 ratio.

In terms of calories, try to eat enough calories post-run to equal about half of what you burned. So, on average you burn about 100 calories/mi. Run 6 miles and you’ve burned 600 calories, so you would want to consumer about 300 in your post run recovery meal.

Here are some post-run recovery recipes from Runner’s World that look really yummy:




And remember: hydrate immediately post-run until your urine runs clear.

[1] Human Kinetics, Post exercise eating. Leslie Bond.

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Posted by: bmoore on Jul 17, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Visits: 1593 | Posted in: News, Train


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