Nutrition Tips for Recovering Like a Pro

By Tristan Ferris. MD. – Runner’s Tribe

It isn’t always what you eat, but when and how much you eat that is key for recovering smoothly from hard runs – whether they be races or training sessions.

Photo by Randy Miyazaki 2017 Cardinal Invitational © 2017 tafphoto

Timing it Right

For optimal recovery, make sure you eat (or snack – see below) within 15-30 minutes of a run. Paula Radcliffe (read about her training here) would always try to eat a nutritious snack within 30 minutes from completing her workout. 30 minutes is the maximum. Aim for 15-30 minutes.  This snack is usually followed by a larger meal a bit later. Ideally, this post run snack should be of a higher glycaemic index food, resulting in faster absorption and subsequent muscle glycogen recovery. Remember to save the vegan protein cookies for after the race.

Force Yourself to Snack

Many of us after hard runs just don’t feel like eating. It is important to force yourself (within 15-30 minutes) to eat a small, healthy snack. The snack could be anything from a banana to a muesli bar.  

Replenishing electrolytes is also key. SOS rehydrate, which is scientifically proven and loved by doctors, is my most preferred product.

Post Run Meal

Recovery via nutrition doesn’t end at the post-run snack, but continues into your next meal. Ideally the next main meal following a hard run should include:

  • Carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, potato, cereal, bread or tortilla.
  • Protein such as fish, poultry, lean meat, soy foods, eggs, beans, low-fat dairy (yoghurt is amazing).
  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Don’t be afraid of healthy forms of fat such as avocado, nuts or nut butter.

Keep it Simple

I find it too hard measuring grams of certain food groups, or figuring out ratios. By following the above principals, I know that I can’t go too far off course.

Some of my favourite snack items include dried fruit, yoghurt, sports bars, low-fat flavoured milk and nuts.