Friday, March 23, 2012

Refueling Post Run

Workout: 8.77 miles in 1:19, great weather (yesterday)
7.87 miles in 1:13, hills, great weather (today)

This morning, I had a fantastic run.  At the beginning of the week, a massive rain/thunderstorm came through central TX, which brought us very welcome rain and cleared out the humidity.  Since Tuesday afternoon it has been sunny, dry and gorgeous.  I'm savoring every moment, as I know what could be coming very soon...

I wanted to talk about food, specifically refueling post run.  Obviously, eating nutritious food shortly after an intense workout will speed recovery, reduce injure and make you feel fantastic!  What one eats post-run can vary a lot person to person based on preferences, calorie needs, and dietary needs.  I did, however, want to put out there what I typically choose to eat after I run.

Most of my runs are in the morning and I typically do not eat before I run, because it bothers my stomach.  When I get back, I am in serious need of breakfast.  I have found that approximately 500 calories is a good size breakfast for me and carries me through until lunch.  I also find that my body (in general) craves carbs, especially at the beginning of the day, so my breakfasts are always carb-heavy.  During the week, I have two, go-to breakfasts; oatmeal and a smoothie with toast.  Both of these are fast, highly nutritious, made from whole foods and delicious.

Although I have tried rolled oats and steel cut oats, believe it or not, I prefer the instant oats.  I buy plain, instant oats in the bulk section of the grocery store and boil water on the stove in the morning which I mix in to my desired consistency.  I typically eat 1 cup of oats with tsp of white sugar, and 1 tablespoon of flax seeds.  I then add 1-2 servings of fruit including banana, berries, apple and raisins, depending on my mood and what I have in the house.  I will also add nuts, especially walnuts and pecans and occasionally chocolate chips if I want something extra sweet.

I have previously written about my love for smoothies, but this post is old and lately I make my smoothies a little differently.  I use about 2 cups of liquid (usually 1 cup water and 1 cup almond or other plant milk), a ripe banana and 1 to 1.5 cups of frozen fruit.  I keep a variety of frozen fruits on hand including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, cherries, mango and pineapple. Sometimes I'll add 1 tsp of sugar, fresh ginger, nutmeg or cinnamon if I want to add some extra flavor.   I'll also add 1 tablespoon of flax and a bunch of leafy greens.  For greens, I typically use swiss chard or beet greens, but I have also used spinach and collard greens.  I find that I can add quite a bit of leafy greens while maintaining a palatable and fruity taste to the smoothie.  The reason I like to add leafy greens is because they are the most densely packed source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and they have quite a bit of protein.  The even better part (for me) is that I have a lot of leafy greens growing in my garden, so I just go outside and clip some fresh leaves whenever I want them.  It's super cheap and as fresh as you can get.  To make my smoothie breakfast a little more filling, I usually have a slice of whole grain toast with natural peanut butter.  Yum.

How do you refuel your runs?


  1. I don't eat before running either but afterward my main fuel is fruit. I eat honeydew melon, for hydration then warmed blueberries, banana and raspberries with some soy milk and vegan cereal along with my americano of course. I try to have a protein smoothie after particularly hard runs but usually want something lighter.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Monica! That sounds very similar to the kinds of foods I enjoy eating post run. I really crave fruit as well. Lately, I have been carrying dried cherries during my runs in lieu of gels and it tastes so much better :)