Last week we talked about Pre-Run Snacks and Meals and finding what works best for you. This week it only makes sense that we talk about Post-Run Recovery Meals.
Making sure you refuel your body after a long run, hard workout, or race is very important. Not only will it restore your energy and help fight off fatigue, but it also plays a vital role in the recovery of your muscles. When you run or do any kind of workout you are creating tiny tears in your muscles and beating them up with every foot strike. Don’t worry it’s totally normal. However, after we create these tears and put all this stress on our muscles, it’s important that we repair them. Food, especially protein is one of the best ways to do this. Having a meal with a good balance of carbs and protein after your workout will not only help prevent you from being sore the next day, but will also aid in the recovery and repair of your muscles and help prevent injuries.
Ideally it is best to eat within 30 minutes of finishing your run and to make sure you are getting between 10-20 grams of protein during this time. The 30 minute rule is the optimum time because it’s when your muscles are most responsive to absorbing all the nutrients needed to recover. Below are some meal ideas that are a good balance of carbs and protein. If you feel like you can’t stomach eating after a run, try a protein shake or one of the smoothies I have included.
Chocolate Espresso Banana Smoothie– This smoothie is great because it includes bananas which are full of carbs and potassium, plus Greek yogurt and almond milk for a good dose of protein.
Green Blueberry Banana Smoothie– Another great post-run smoothie. Not only does this one have bananas, Greek yogurt, and milk, but it also contains blueberries and spinach for extra vitamins.
Salmon Asparagus Frittata– Eggs are full of protein and a great option if you are a morning runner. This frittata also includes canned salmon which is packed full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids which are important for good health. Serve the frittata with some whole grain toast for the perfect balance of carbs and protein.
Pistachio and Dried Cherry Yogurt Parfaits– I love having one of these parfaits after a long run. The Greek yogurt is packed with protein and the pistachios add even more protein plus some sodium which is needed after all the sweating. The carbs in this parfait come from the honey that the yogurt is sweetened with and the dried cherries.
Banana Graham Cracker Muffins– Muffins (homemade not store bought) are a great post run recovery meal. Enjoy a muffin with a side of scrambled eggs and your body will thank you! Muffins are great because you can make a batch at the beginning of the week and store them in the freezer. Pull one out to defrost while you make your eggs and your recovery meal will be ready within the ideal 30 minute post-run window.
These are just a few ideas of things that are easy to make and a good balance of carbs and protein. There are endless options when it comes to what to eat after your run. The important thing to remember is to have healthy choices available because you will get hungry fast and may find yourself wanting to shove whatever is available in your mouth. A box of doughnuts or cookies while loaded with carbs is not the way to go! Try to balance the carbs to protein ratio and shoot to eat your post-run meal within 30 minutes of finishing your workout for optimum recovery.
I am bad about this – I have finally gotten in the workout habit but still have a ways to go on the recovery process… thanks for this!
The recovery process is definitely something that takes a little work, but it’s totally worth it!
Thanks for this. I work out before I go to work, and don’t eat my “after-workout” snack until a couple hours later. These are quick and commutable!
I’m a morning workout girl too Megan. Making sure to set a aside a few minutes to refuel after a workout can really make a huge difference on how fast your body recovers.