Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Need to Refuel

Yesterday was a hot one, reaching almost 100 degrees. In the morning I did a 3 x 1600m workout at 10k pace (as well as a warm-up and cool-down), and by the time I got home it was 91 degrees. Even Wilson wanted an escape from the heat!

Days like these bring on the leg sweat. It doesn't happen during the run. It always happens when as soon as I get inside. It's quite annoying, because even if my body is begging for me to sit down and relax, I can't. A seat on the floor would result in a puddle being left or me sticking to the floor, and a seat on the couch would only make me hotter, therefore prolonging the situation.

I couldn't help but get a little jealous of my 19 year old self yesterday. Six years ago I was training for cross country season. Each time I finished a run I would head to the freezer and pull out chocolate ice cream. I am quite confident that I had a chocolate milkshake after at least 60% of the workouts that summer. Talk about delicious refueling!

Unfortunately, I can't do that anymore. After yesterday's workout, I so badly wanted one. But there were two problems: 1) I can't really eat ice cream and 2) I think the ice cream would have melted before I could get it safely from the store into our apartment.

Instead, I made a piece of toast with peanut butter and chose a healthy option of fruit salad.

My 19 year old self would have been so disappointed.

Anyway, let's talk about refueling a little more.

I didn't know much about refueling after runs while I was in high school. It wasn't until UVM that I began to learn more. The biggest thing I took away was that you need to get something in you within 30 minutes of ending your workout. And that's pushing it. The sooner, the better.

Monday night I failed to refuel properly, and I paid for it yesterday with a slow warm up and very heavy legs.

Monday night: I ran in the evening for once and did a strength training workout. Instead of getting food in me, I took a shower, knowing that 1) it was almost dinner time and that I would be cooking up something soon and 2) Tom would be home very shortly and I didn't want to greet him with disgustingness.

We ended up going dinner and choose Noodles & Company (I was super excited!). Food was pushed back a little further, meaning I did not make the 30 minute time frame. I ordered the Japanese Pan Noodles, which I LOVED. However! This is where my post-workout refueling was also weak. I opted for no meat.


Your body needs protein after a run. In fact, you usually need a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein (hence the reason why chocolate milk is always encouraged for athletes). It is so important for athletes to get in carbs. Our body breaks the carbs down into sugar to use during exercise. Muscles deplete their energy stores during a workout and can't wait to replenish them. In order to be ready for your next workout, it's crucial that you get food in you right away. Especially if you're doubling up on workouts each day.

And don't think that sports drinks like Gatorade will always do the trick.

I trained for my first marathon while studying abroad in Spain. I went to the store one day after a 20 miler to get Gatorade (yes they had it!) and was so disappointed when I turned over the bottle and saw that there were only 60 calories per serving and NO protein! Better yet, now they're coming out with low-sugar options? You can bet that the next time I had a long run I had a stash of chocolate milk waiting for me in my room. And I'll add another random fact in here - milk in Spain is NOT refrigerated, meaning I could pack chocolate milk in my suitcase and bring it with me to my marathon!

What it comes down to is you need to fuel before AND after you workout in order to feel your best and to make sure your body is prepared to work again. You do not need to eat an entire meal after a workout, but you need to give your body something to work off of.

Therefore, I am adding yet another goal to this week's trainingmake sure I properly refuel after runs! Thankfully, chocolate soy milk exists, so I will still be able to enjoy that chocolate deliciousness on these hot summer days.

What are your favorite post-run/workout fuel choices? Do you make it in the 30 minute time-frame? 

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