Many studies have shown that there are two windows for optimal recovery meals. The first takes place 30 minutes after a prolonged run (45 minutes or more). You should consume roughly 100-300 calories consisting of both carbs and proteins. Carbs are for your energy source and protein to help repair muscle tissue. Too much protein can inhibit the absorption of carbs. The best ratio to follow would be 3:1 or 4:1 (carbs:proteins). Want to figure out your correct ratio? Divide your weight by 2 to get your correct carb amount in grams then divide your weight by 4 to calculate your amount of protein.
Weight: 120 lbs
Carbs: 120/2= 60g
Proteins: 120/4= 30g
30 minute post run snack:
1 banana + 2 tbsp peanut/almond butter
1/2 cup plain yogurt + 1 cup mixed fruit
1 egg + 1 cup spinach + 1 cup mixed fruit
Slice of Ezekiel bread with avocado and egg whites
**Can’t stomach the idea of eating after a long run? Try replenishing with a sports drink! Try Light Muscle Milk, Naked Juice Protein Zone, 1 glass of chocolate milk with 2% milk, A smoothie with yogurt, milk, berries and spinach
1-3 hr post optimal recovery meal:
This meal will consist of more protein but also have healthy carbs and fats. Again, this meal does not need to be ridiculously high in calories (it can be 150 and up) the goal of this meal is to provide your body with what it needs to help repair and recovery properly. As runners we can be a bit more hungrier than normal when we put in some long miles. It is extremely easy to dive into all the goodness you see and binge. Obviously you feed your body when it is hungry but it is all about what you put in your body that matters.
A protein shake + mixed green salad w/ veggies + olive oil for dressing
3 oz serving of lean meat (chicken, turkey, fish) + sweet potato +1 cup veggies
Veggie omelet + 1 cup fruit
Many people run in the am or after work in the evening. It is pretty easy to snack and have a few small nutritious meals after your morning run but in the evening figuring out when to eat your recovery snacks/meals AND dinner can get complicated.
You could try eating a light dinner before your run then have your 30 min snack and another an hour or two later. Yes it is okay to consume carbs after 6pm!!!! If you want to run before dinner try doing so an hour before you would eat. This way you can pop a few pieces of fruit into your mouth if you need to while you prep for dinner! Try to eat between 30 min-1hr after your run!
The take away message is this: Running on muscles that are fatigued, torn up, and depleted of energy will only cause injuries to occur. It is so important to fuel your body correctly to help set yourself up for success when training!