By: Tristan Woodfine
Refuelling after all runs is important but it is even more important to refuel after hard workouts in order 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 week-to-week basis. The following is a refuelling strategy to use after hard workouts.
Immediately after you finish your workout you should have on hand a snack that can give you some carbohydrates and proteins. Ideally the carbohydrate source should be one that can be absorbed and used quickly by your body, like simple sugars. The amount of protein should also be around 20 grams. Some examples could be an energy bar with both carbs and protein, a protein shake with some fruit, peanut butter and banana sandwich.
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 Eload. 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 and prepare a meal with a good source of carbohydrates (oatmeal, rice, quinoa, potatoes, pasta, bread etc.). There should also be a good protein source (peanut butter, meat, eggs, milk, etc.). If your meal is lunch or dinner, make sure to include a good portion of vegetables. Keep sipping water during this time, as well, to stay on top of hydration.
Having a refuelling strategy planned out before hard workouts will allow you to recover better, which will allow you to perform better on a day to day basis and ultimately in your races.