Post Run Nutrition and Leftovers

After a run, lots of things can happen. We can collapse on the couch in fatigue. Or perhaps we are faced with the day’s ”to-do” list. We might be lucky just to consume a snack and a few sips of water. Reaching for food can be an afterthought. I recommend you plan your post workout nutrition. Know what you are going to eat when your run is finished.

There are two key periods post run. The first is the initial 30 minutes after exercise. Your body is primed (insulin sensitivity is at its highest) and ready to replace depleted glycogen stores. Before you shower and before you get distracted, consume about 100-200 calories. According to Runner’s World editor Amby Burfoot, “Immediately after you exercise, your insulin, which controls your blood sugar levels, is particularly sensitive. Give sensitive insulin some carbs, and it will pack them into your muscles as glycogen. Give sensitive insulin some protein, and it will quickly repair any muscle damage. Give it both carbs and protein, and you get the best of both worlds.” A small snack might be enough if the duration of the workout was short (less than 30 minutes) and moderately intense. If your run was longer (over an hour) and more strenuous than it will be important to add in a larger meal, within two hours of completing your run.

Since timing is so important turn to recovery foods that are quick and easy to prepare. Leftovers are a great way to save time and allow you to eat real food instead of a manufactured sports bar. Save the engineered sports products for during your workouts and turn to the shelves of your local grocery to supply you with post workout options.

Some quick and easy leftover foods to have on hand:
  • Roasted root veggies (including carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, fennel, onion)
  • Roasted chicken (I have so many good versions to share) 
  • Quinoa
  • Rice - Fried Rice
  • Pasta - Try out this Spring Pasta recipe using leftover noodles and spring veggies
Your family and co-workers might not appreciate your new focus on post workout recovery, especially if it means you forgo the shower for the food at least temporarily. With a little planning and some food already prepared, you should be able to take care of your training and recovery needs.