Done With Your Run? Grab a Fork to Speed Your Recovery
Recovery is not for people who need it, it's for people who want it.
Did we get your attention? We hope so. It’s our job to inform you that the foods you eat after a run are equally as important as the ones in which you indulge before you lace up your running shoes.
Has post-run food advice been ignored? It’s not intentional. The ritual of preparing your body for a run has just taken center stage for a long time, and we aim to fix that situation.
The following foods and beverages will help restore your body to its temple-like state. Dare we mention that everything on our list tastes yummy, too?
If the only banana you’ve met is the baton you passed at a Singapore fun relay, it’s time you made the acquaintance of this yellow powerhouse after you’ve run your race.
Not only are bananas packed with potassium (So helpful in combating leg cramps), but the fast-acting carbs in the fruit help restore muscles to their pre-race strength. Start peeling. You’ll love the benefits. Want to make friends? Bake a healthy banana bread!
They’re cute. They’re tiny. And Mother Nature gives them a deep blue color that’s everyone’s favourite, so grab blueberries by the handful for a huge boost of antioxidants that will immediately go to work to re-charge your body.
Here’s a fact you can drop if you want to impress: Scientific studies prove that eating blueberries after running can triple recovery time, so it's not fair making fun of these little blue dudes given the amount of power they wield!
Add them to a smoothie and you’ll understand how food tastes in heaven.
Why do eggs make a great post-run nibble? First, because you’re starved and it takes zero time to pop eggs into a pan and cook them in any style you prefer.
If you believe all of those “I added raw eggs to my smoothie and can feel the extra benefit” stories, that’s fantasy. Cook them to enjoy 6.3 grams of protein each egg delivers at only 70 calories.
Would you be surprised to learn that eggs also contain vitamin D? There’s a reason chickens love sun.
Fruits (dried) and nuts
If you’re too hungry to wait to get home and cook eggs, a handful of mixed nuts and fruit can deliver a powerful punch instead. Soy nuts alone have 34 grams of protein and you get an infusion of natural carbs that help your post-run recovery enormously.
Muscle building is one of the primary jobs nuts undertake, and the addition of dried fruit boosts both nutrients and taste, so don’t be surprised if you feel as energized as you would have if you’d prepared eggs - particularly if you don’t like to cook.
Hummus and whole-grain pita
We urge runners to make friends with the humble chickpea in any form. This little treasure is packed with carbs and protein, and once you mash them up and add olive oil, spices and garlic, you’ll wind up with hummus spread that’s been prepared and eaten for thousands of years.
Scoop up hummus with segments of fresh, whole-grain pita bread to pair slow-release carbs with faster ones that race to your blood system to speed up recovery. A confession is required here: we love hummus so much, we don’t always share.
Runners seeking new ways to keep a body fit and healthy celebrated the introduction of kefir to grocery market shelves a few years ago, but in fact, people who live extra-long lives in places like Russia already knew about this elixir hundreds of years ago.
How does Kefir help your recovery? Just a cup of this fermented milk drink delivers between 11 and 14 complete protein grams, and if you didn’t already know that dairy proteins help maintain muscle mass and contribute to weight loss, consider yourself hereby educated.
What is it with small fruits that so many of them appear on our list of post-race recovery foods? If your mum told you that good things come in small packages, you understand the concept, but she might not have known that when it comes to vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants, a kiwi can be better for a recovering body than the diamond to which Mum might have eluded.
Like all fruits and veggies, nutrients lurk just beneath the skin, so if we catch you peeling those kiwis, we’re not going to be happy. Translation? Eat the skin.
While sports drinks do a yeoman job of helping runners stay powered and strong during runs, once you stop at the finish line, bottles of Gatorade and similar products should be replaced by orange juice because you no longer need the benefits those sports drinks provide.
Instead, OJ will re-infuse your system with electrolytes that help restore the body's pre-run fluid balance. Orange juice also acts as a great flavor enhancer if you insist on making green shakes that require you to close your eyes so you don’t see what you’re drinking.
Not many people know that fresh pineapple heals sore throats fast, but that’s not the only miracles this sunny, tart, tropical fruit performs: Pineapples contain a high-powered nutrient called bromelain that’s an amazing anti-inflammatory (ergo, that soothed throat).
Eating pineapple after a race will speed the recovery of a bruise or strain thanks to magical healing properties, but if you need an excuse to whip up a healthy Pina Colada to launch your post-race recovery, get that blender out before you run so it’s waiting for your return.
It’s no secret that the world’s staple, brown rice, has taken a backseat to quinoa, the vitamin- and nutrient-rich grain that has been winning over hearts and minds since it first appeared on grocer’s shelves.
Not only does quinoa deliver healthy carb benefits to the post-run body, but it contains more protein and fiber than brown rice, and who doesn’t love a grain that cooks faster than rice?
They say a watched pot never boils. Sometimes, preparing rice can take forever, so by joining the quinoa fan club, your recovery meal will land on your plate at warp speed.
Does it matter whether the salmon on your post-run dinner plate was caught in the wild or is farm raised? It depends upon who you talk to.
In our eyes, any salmon is better than no salmon because it’s all about the delivery of Omega 3s and proteins that help rebuild muscle and fight post-run inflammations fast.
Besides, if you’ve another run scheduled soon, salmon may even help boost that performance. Sound fishy? Not to us!
How can sweet potatoes hype your post-run recovery? They’re loaded with vitamins B6, C, D and minerals like potassium and magnesium.
And since you’ve been a faithful and diligent runner who has worked hard to make your post-run meals as healthy and healing as they can be, we would like to give you permission to indulge in one of the world’s guiltiest pleasures: French fried sweet potatoes.
Just thinking about them makes us feel fully recovered from our most recent run!
What’s your post-run recovery secret? We know you have one — so give it up and share. It can be naughty or nice. Just as long as it’s edible!