Sports scientists say you need to refuel within 15 minutes of finishing exercise to help your body repair muscle tears and make the most of your workout. In an article for Running Times, director of sports nutrition at University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre Leslie Bonci said “I really encourage athletes to do something within 15 minutes. The longer you wait, the longer it takes to recover. Plus, if you make it the first thing you do at the end of a workout, it guarantees it gets done.”
What does that mean for the amateur athlete, the casual runner?
It means you can’t do your usual post-run routine of ‘do some stretches, have a faff about, take a shower, be on twitter for a bit, start making some dinner, eat a couple of hours later’. Keep the stretches in there, but your eating needs to be the next priority. Not a meal, but a balanced snack with fats and protein in to give goodness back in to your muscles. The way a wilting plant perks up when you give it some water, that’s your muscles. I imagine. (I’m no kinesiologist)
Here are some of the things I go for for quick post-run refuelling:
– Apple slices and tahini (and sometimes a pinch of salt, if I fancy it.)
– Prunes, natural yogurt and agave nectar
– 2 Ryvita with nutella and peanut butter
– A glass of chocolate soy milk
– Half an avocado with a big squeeze of lime, a splash of garlic oil and a pinch each of chili flakes and fresh coriander. (‘Whole-y Guacamole’, which really deserves its own post)
Or you could go for one of these fantastic Veggie Runners smoothies
A pro tip for smoothies here: Put everything in the blender before you go out for your run. A) It’ll be a doddle to just buzz it when you get back and B) I bet you run faster on your way home knowing it’s waiting for you.
Please don’t forget next time you go for a run. You’ve got a fifteen minute window – doing retweets and having fun in the shower with your loofah can wait!