As promised in a recent weekly update post, here is a nugget of knowledge I shall share with you about a recovery drink I have been trying over the last few weeks.
Ask me 3 years ago what I would have drunk following or during a race or long training session and I probably would have answered water, or Lucozade, or the free sugary Mars Bar they tend to give you at the end of a race (why is it always a Mars Bar?) Anyway, I’d have the water, go home, have a shower, dress and only then re-fuel with a meal and a huge cup of coffee – this was probably about an hour or so after finishing the run. I didn’t really pay much attention to post-workout nutrition, probably because I didn’t realise how important it was to refuel your body in the best possible way, when it is literally crying out for fuel replenishment. Well, I’m gradually learning about all of this, and the fact that over the last few months I have made some changes to my diet and post-workout nutrition and am subsequently recovering much faster which means more effective work-outs and better running times surely is no coincidence?
Post a long run its essential to replace carbohydrate and protein stores in a 4:1 ratio. This should be done in the 0-45 minute post work-out window. Most people can’t tolerate food straight away (runny tummy ewww) so a drink is good. Thanks to Keris from Fitter London for the below recipe, which isn’t too far from being strict Paleo (other than the protein powder which is essential bend to the rules). I’ve been trying this for the last few weeks, and so far so good. I’m certainly feeling less exhausted and in agony following my long runs of late. AND it doesn’t give me tummy cramps like Lucozade – which in my mind is loaded with too much artificial crap – it comes in bright orange, pink and green colours – what does that tell you???
Long-run Recovery Drink
– Pure Coconut Water (Vita Coco is the brand I’ve been trying, full of potassium, electrolytes, and a carbohydrate source. I use a 330ml carton)
– 1/2 juice lime (has an alkalining effect on the acid-loading run)
– 1/2 juice orange (more carbs and Vitamin C)
– Pinch salt (Keris tells me Himalayan Salt is best – I found this in Whole Foods. Helps to replace salt lost through sweating).
– Protein powder (I use 1/2 scoop banana flavour from My Protein as it goes well with the coconut. 1/2 scoop is about right to get the carbo/protein ratio right. I also like the chocolate shake for after my strength workouts – just mixed with water on those occasions)
– I also put in some L-Glutamine. This is some sort of Amino Acid thingy (sorry my scientific knowledge ends there – please forgive me I work in the Arts and GCSE Biology/Chemistry was far too long ago….I don’t know quite what it does other than help the gut and with muscle repair after a hard session!)
Anyway, there you have it. As I said I’m no scientist and credit for the above has to go to Keris, but it’s working so I’m not knocking it! Around an hour or 2 after your long run you should then have a proper balanced meal. Plus for all you coffee fiends out there – don’t have any until at least 2 hours after your run – it will only make you feel worse. Hydration, hydration, hydration.
Ceri’s Top Tip: Squeeze the lime and orange before you head out for your run. When you’ve just come in from a 3 hour run in sub-zero temperatures your hands will have forgotten how to work, and trying to squeeze the fruit will be more difficult than the run itself!