Recovery Nutrition

Recovery Nutrition

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    Recovery after a run is important to help enhance adaptations to training and help to prepare for the next training session. Optimal recovery may encompass a number of nutrition-related processes, including refueling of muscle glycogen stores, repair and adaptation of muscle tissue and finally rehydration to replace lost fluid and electrolytes.

    Carbohydrates for refueling glycogen stores

    Carbohydrate refueling is especially important if you run again within 24 hours i.e. taking part in a 3-day multi-stage trail run event. It is important to start refueling within 30 minutes post-exercise with 1-1.5g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight. Within 2 hours follow up with the same amount of carbohydrates or have a high carbohydrate meal. That is 60-90g of carbohydrate for a 60kg runner.

    Protein to build and repair muscle

    Protein, consumed after a workout, provides all the amino acids needed to repair damaged muscle and to promote the development of new muscle. We know that trail running is not only endurance training but also involves a lot of muscle power to climb those hills. A general requirement is 10-20g of high quality protein within an hour after a run.

    Fluids and sodium to rehydrate

    Most runners will be slightly dehydrated after a run, therefore restoring fluid balance is a priority. It is important to regain hydration before the next run is started.

    • Carbohydrate-containing drinks are useful as they simultaneously assist with refueling and encourage greater intake due to palatability.
    • Keep the drinks cool (15ºC)
    • Rehydration will be more effective when sodium is included either in the fluids or by the foods consumed within the recovery stage.
    • For every 1 kilogram lost, gradually consume 1.5L of fluid.
    • Continue to hydrate until urine is pale yellow.

    Post-exercise snack ideas

    Sports drinks Addressing fluid needs as well
    Fruit juice or soft drink
    Banana sandwich
    Sports bar Read the label, some may contain protein too
    Salted pretzels Will increase sodium intake
    Carbohydrate & Protein snacks
    Fruit smoothie Addressing fluid needs as well
    Liquid meal supplement
    Low fat Chocolate milk
    Breakfast cereal with milk and fruit
    Sandwich with meat/cheese filling Add salt to aid in sodium intake
    Baked potato with grilled chicken and cheese
    Jeanne-Marié Louw
    Jeanne-Marié is a registered dietician who recently completed her International Olympic Committee diploma in Sports Nutrition. She has extensive and international experience in nutrition for diabetes and has a passionate interest in sports nutrition. She is an avid trail runner herself and enjoys other sports including squash and swimming. She lives the active, healthy life she preaches about and a JUST DO IT motto when challenged. One day I am running the DODO Trail Trail Running is relaxing and an escape from the city buzz into nature. It adds “challenge” to my running. Its all about the hard work and then the reward of a beautiful view at the end. Trail runners share a zest for life. I JUST LOVE IT!