when chris was training for his half ironman this summer, there was a period of time where he was having a really hard time recovering from workouts and having enough energy for the next one. after we were talking with some friends about it, we realized that he was not taking in enough calories or protein to refuel himself for the next workout. he ended up paying for this by missing workouts and having low energy, but once he figured out the cause and worked to change it, he saw noticeable improvements.
since he went through this himself, he has been on my case lately about making sure i am refueling right after my runs. i definitely appreciate it because sometimes refueling is just hard. i don’t have time, i am too tired to cook, i am not hungry, nothing sounds good… all those things come across my mind, so having someone reminding me frequently really helps. it’s not easy to eat a million calories a day when you are refueling with healthy foods either.
here are some things i do:
- drink it. after long runs (like my 22 miler last weekend), i really didn’t want to eat anything for a while but i knew i needed to get some protein and carbohydrates in my system fast (within 30 minutes is recommended). my go to post run drink? chocolate milk. for some reason it takes SO GOOD after running and it has exactly everything i need and it’s really easy.
- plan ahead. if i am going to be running somewhere where i won’t be at my house soon after i make sure to bring something with me. whether it’s a bar of some kind, a piece of fruit, a drink, anything just to get some calories in quick. if i forget i will typically run into the store or gas station to find something to have on the way home in the car.
- make it a habit. don’t think twice, just get in the habit, then it’s not so hard.
- track it. although some people really don’t like counting their calories or tracking their food, i find it really helps me to make sure i am getting enough. when i run double digit miles during the week and work all day, it can be really hard to eat close to 3000 calories. i just get sick of eating! luckily i am hungry pretty much all the time, but when trying to eat healthy things, it can be difficult to always eat enough. tracking keeps me accountable to myself (and to chris since he is always asking).
- think about tomorrow. i am constantly reminding myself that the better i refuel today, the better my run will be tomorrow.