Eating the right food after a run can have a big impact on the effectiveness and speed of your recovery, and can stave off muscle soreness and improve your overall performance.
After a run you should try to consume carbohydrates, protein and fluids. Your body eats into its energy stores and so replenishing these with carbohydrates in the recovery period after a run is really important. Helping muscle recovery is essential and that’s where having protein comes into play. Finally, drinking lots and getting some fluids and electrolytes back into your body is key. The following are a few ideas of post-run foods to help aid your recovery.
1. Chocolate Milk
Chocolate milk has the perfect mix of carbs and protein as well as fluids and electrolytes and will not only help with recovery but also tastes delicious! Chocolate milk rehydrates, helps revitalise glycogen levels and stored carbs and the protein helps rebuild and recover muscles after exercise. On top of all that chocolate is a known mood improver!
2. Oily fish
Oily fish can work as a larger main meal or as a post-run recovery snack. Fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines can minimise muscle soreness, improve joint health and are extremely important for muscle recovery. They all contain omega-3 and anti-inflammatory compounds which can really aid in all exercise recovery. Try adding some fish to your next post-run recovery meal to reap the benefits.
Having a diet packed with fruit can really aid all forms of recovery. Bananas are easy to digest and help replenish lost electrolytes, oranges will improve your vitamin C content which can help with muscle damage while berries are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are key for clearing the muscles and helping you feel fresher on your next run. Try adding these fruits to juices or smoothies to break down the fruit faster.
Yoghurt can make a good addition to your post-run routine. Low-fat natural yoghurt provides a good source of calcium, Vitamin D and also offers a good amount of protein. Try adding granola for additional fibre and carbs, honey for natural sweetener that gives you an instant energy hit or berries for the additional benefits of antioxidants.
Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods you can eat so adding this to your post-run food options is highly recommended. Not only does it contain protein but also iron and other nutrients that can really aid a runners recovery.
6. Mixed nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds should be a staple part of any runner’s diet. They have a ton of benefits from vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fats and fibre. Almonds, for example, are a great source of Vitamin E and can help lower cholesterol while most nuts contain magnesium which can help with muscle cramps.