Guest Blog: Fuelling Strategy Post Hard Workouts
Refuelling after all runs is important but it is even more important to refuel properly after hard sessions in order to maximize the benefits from them. There are three important components to fuelling after a hard workout; carbohydrates, protein and hydration. It’s important to optimize these three components in order to recover properly for your next session, as well as recovering on a more long term basis. The following is the refuelling strategy I use after hard sessions.
Immediately after you finish your workout you should have on hand a snack that can give you in the neighbourhood of 80 grams of carbohydrates and 20 grams of protein. Ideally the carbohydrate source should be one that can be absorbed and used quickly by your body, like simple sugars. Some examples of this could be a protein shake with some sort of sugar, a peanut butter and jam sandwich or a big chunk of homemade energy bar.
With this immediate post run snack, you also want to rehydrate. If the weather is cooler this might just be 250-500ml of water. If the workout is in hot conditions however, then you should start looking at an electrolyte replacement drink such as Gatorade or Cytomax. This will help replace lost electrolytes and will also add simple sugars to recovery. Depending on sweat rate and length of workout, you should look at getting in 500 – 1000ml within 10 – 20 minutes after finishing the workout.
The last step in refuelling after a hard workout is when you get home. You should try to prepare and eat a full meal within 2-3 hours. This meal should have a good source of carbohydrates (oatmeal, rice, quinoa, potatoes, pasta, bread etc.) and a good protein source (peanut butter, meat, eggs, milk, etc.). If your meal is lunch or dinner, make sure to include some vegetables for essential vitamins and minerals. Keep sipping water during this time, as well, to stay on top of hydration.
If you’re finishing your hard session right at your doorstep then you can always skip the snack and go straight to the meal. Just try to be eating it within 20-30 minutes of finishing your run. If you’ve driven or travelled to your run workout then its best to make sure you have that snack on hand to get the recovery process started as soon as possible. Ultimately this will help get the most out of your hard sessions.
Article by Tristan Woodfine. Tristan is one of Canada's top Marathoners having run a 2:10:51 marathon at the 2020 London Marathon. Be sure to check out his Health and Performance website.