Home > Nutrition for Running > Eat Well After a Run to Lock in Benefits

Eat Well After a Run to Lock in Benefits

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 8 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Eat Runner Food Groups Recovery Food

To get the full benefit of a training run, it is important to think about what you eat afterwards. Every runner should be aware of the five different food groups and how each has a role to play in the body’s wellbeing. That way, a runner can find the right recovery food for his training session and lock in the benefits of the run.

Carbohydrates are the starch element of a meal – such as rice, pasta or potatoes. They will help a runner feel full of energy and keep hunger at bay. It is best to eat at least some carbohydrates with every meal or snack, but don’t overdo it or you may start to feel sluggish. Try to eat the wholegrain version of carbohydrates whenever possible, as these are unprocessed and will keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Fats and sugars contain a lot of calories but have very little nutritional value. Of course, some fats are good for you, but processed white sugar is bad for metabolism, so choose natural sugars such as honey. Protein is essential for the health and development of your body and can help you feel full without too many calories. Meat is a great source of protein, but non-meat eaters can look at lentils, soya products or legumes instead.

Balancing Act

Milk and dairy help build healthy bones and teeth and provide vitamins A, B12 and D, so try to eat three portions a day. Add in at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day and it is clear that a healthy diet is a balancing act.

A runner should work his diet around his training routine and listen to what his body is telling him. For instance, when a runner craves more calories than he has burnt, it could be because the levels of glycogen in his liver and muscles are too low. Glycogen is the body’s main source of stored energy, so try eating low GI (glycemic index) carbohydrate foods – the ones that produce only small fluctuations in our blood glucose and insulin levels – a few hours before a run. That way, low-fat yoghurt and fruit should be enough after the run.

After a tough training run, it is important to top up glycogen levels within 20 minutes and eat a full meal within an hour. That means plenty of carbohydrates, so aim for 80 per cent carbohydrates and 20 per cent protein.

Mix Carbohydrates

Those keen to train hard without losing weight should mix simple and complex carbohydrates. Get a juicer to make it easier to consume more calories from fruit and vegetables or drizzle honey on toast or porridge to get a sugar boost.

If a long, hard run leaves a runner feeling queasy, it could be because the gut is ischemic, meaning it does not have a great blood supply because everything has gone to his legs. Avoid big meals before the run and stick to plain carbohydrates like bananas or bread afterwards.

Even late night runners have to eat afterwards; otherwise glycogen stores will be too low to sustain them the next day. Eat a main meal before the run and afterwards opt for a small amount of easily-digested carbohydrates without too much protein, such as pasta and tomatoes.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Jackie
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    I would really like to get fit and am interested in joining the running club. I live in Swansea area and am a beginner . Please…
    18 November 2017
  • Kitkat
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi I'm looking to join a club in the bassaleg or newport or cardiff east side area...ive previously (make that 3 years ago!!) Done…
    1 November 2017
  • Scooby
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Looking for a beginner running club for adults in jarrow
    15 October 2017
  • Karen
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi I'm looking for meet up with anyone in the Alfreton area of Derbyshire. I want to be able to run with other women in the…
    8 September 2017
  • EmmsB
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi, I'm looking for a ladies only running club for fun with the possibility of working towards a race or 2 in the Daventry,…
    20 August 2017
  • Tracey
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Looking for beginner running club in exeter
    30 July 2017
  • Bev
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi . Looking for a beginners group in Swansea on a Wednesday. This is for two ..
    5 July 2017
  • Sandra
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    I live in Thornhill in Cardiff and wonder if any of your groups meet in Cardiff or Caerphilly which is next town to me. Thankyou
    5 July 2017
  • I don't have one
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    I would like to find out more about joining a women's running clun/net9work for company and to motivate me to run more.
    11 June 2017
  • tina arthur
    Re: Joining a Running Club
    Hi Sue, I live in neath and I know it is a way from Swansea but I have set up my own running groups, one is couch to 5k which I undertake…
    17 April 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the RunningForFun website. Please read our Disclaimer.