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. 
how do you refuel from runs or workouts?  do you have any tips or tricks? 

also see my past posts on how i fuel before and during runs.

and i needed it!  that 22 miler made me tired.
5 – 8 distance
i moved some things around (what else is new) this week to listen to my body.  i find after a really long run on sunday, i sometimes need an easy run to start off the week, not speedwork.  plus i slept horribly monday night and drug my butt out of bed tuesday morning to just get any run done.  we have been having another heat wave (90+), so morning runs are a must.
my legs felt heavy at first and i was definitely sleep running, but eventually i found my legs.  i kept the pace easy and just got the miles done.
7.0 miles/1:04:02/9:09 avg pace
8 – 11 miles with 4 at lactate threshold (half marathon – 15k pace)
what is that?  that doesn’t look like the BAA plan i have been “following” for 8 weeks now.  nope it’s not and yes i made it up and went back to my pfitz roots a bit today.  honestly intervals are wearing me down right now and i have really missed my faster tempo runs, so guess what, i changed it up and did one.  i think i am going to start incorporating them for the rest of training, especially the next couple weeks since i do have a half marathon coming up.  it’s my plan and i can do what i want to. 
i can’t believe i actually missed them.  i used to hate these runs! 
i had a plan and route ready in my head before i went to sleep and got up and got it done this morning.  i wore my tempo tights not because it’s cold but because i like them and they make me feel fast.  i ran 3 miles to the trail just as the sun was coming up, then i hopped on, turned on my music and pounded out my tempo miles.
goal: 7:45 – 7:34
actual: 7:49, 7:43, 7:42, 7:38 (avg 7:43)
it took a little while to find this pace and remember what it felt like to run at LT, but once i was there it felt great.  there is something about these runs that just make you feel very accomplished.  i cooled down with 3 miles home (including the stupid big hill).
10.0 miles/1:23:07/8:18 avg pace 
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26 Responses to refueling

  1. Marlene October 13, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    first! ;) happy bday to me. lol

  2. Marlene October 13, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    "it's my plan and i can do what i want to." <- love this! way to mix things up! way to go on the awesome LT workout! you nailed it!!

    refueling… argh! this is something I need to work on BIG TIME next year. don't get me wrong, I love to eat… but I don't always love to eat the right things at the right time. and I get so bored with my usual healthy foods! chocolate milk is a definite go-to for me too, though.

    and funny that hubs is always reminding you… mine does the same! he is anal about the 30 minute rule but I have a hard time with it. definitely need to start making it a habit and planning better. thanks for the post!

    long comment award. :D

  3. Runeatrepeat October 13, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    I still haven't tried chocolate milk after a long run – but love smoothies if I don't feel like eating :)

  4. Indi October 13, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    I found pretty good luck with Hammer Recoverite. Colder the water the better for sure on it. I found that it has significantly reduced muscle soreness when i take it after a long run vs. when i do not. Shorter ones get chocolate milk for sure.

  5. Jamie October 13, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    I go straight to the noodles or soup when I get home from a run. I need something that tastes hearty, just because. But I really need to work on drinking water during the day, and sometimes during my runs.

  6. Running and living October 13, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    I can't relate to the loss of appetite post runs that many runners experience. I need to eat after I run!!! Maybe not immediately, but within 10 minutes (unless I run really really hard and in hot weather), I am starving. So eating is not a problem for me. Also, when I train and burn a ton of calories I allow myself to eat some not so healthy things – mochas, chocolate every night, etc – but in small portions, which makes it easier to keep up with the calories and also makes training even more rewarding. Great job on the runs!

  7. seejessrun October 13, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    Refueling is pretty easy for me. I run in the morning and then eat breakfast when I get home.

  8. Emily October 13, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    nice tempo run! I am a firm believer in listening to your body over training plans.

    In college while on the swim team I kept a carton of chocolate milk in my fridge at all times. I almost never drink it now but it's SUCH a good recovery food!

  9. Joanne October 13, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    It's really hard for me to eat that entire day after a really long run (18 to 20). But I usually have a 1/2 cup dried oats cooked with water and 1 TBS raisins, 1 TBS PB, & half a banana stirred in. Then I drink my protein. I have a whey protein shake: protein powder, lots of ice and water. I add L-Glutamine to the shake and take a "plate" of supplements: Vit. E, Vit. D, Daily Multi, BCAA's, Glucosamine, and calcium.
    I'm not sure if any of that helps but it has become a ritual and I'm afraid to change. :)

  10. Denise October 13, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    wow, i can't even imagine fitting in 3000 calories. i'm around 1400 a day right now, which is way too low, i know. i'm really trying to up it. my energy level is ok, i'm sure it could be better, but i'm feeling good on my workouts. i'd be curious to see what happens if i ate around 2800, where i should be, but i'm not sure i could do it…

  11. Jo Lynn October 13, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    My favorite is a black bean burrito with cheese. Full of protein! ;)

  12. Bethany + Ryan October 13, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    Hehe, i pretty much know what i'm going to eat forthe rest of the month!! Food consumes my mind! I go to the grocery store 4-6 times a week and am always in the kitchen. Ryan doesnt get itbut i must prepare food!!! I'm obsessed! When i go on vaca mysuitcase id 50% clothing and 50% food. i love food!! Mind you i eat all boring food but i just love to eat!! Its so fun :-P

  13. northlandrunner October 13, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    Thanks for the great tips on refueling!
    I agree — it's really hard to find time to cook during the week to replenish the calories. but it's so important!

  14. Her Name is Rio October 13, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    You're right…refueling is so key- learned that the hard way! LOL!

  15. misszippy October 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    Chocolate milk is my go-to as well. So quick and easy and the perfect combo of nutrients. I also stash a banana in my car to eat on the way home if I'm up for it.

    Nice work on the training!

  16. Nicole October 13, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    Nice job on the tempo run! I am SO excited to see you this weekend!!!!eeeek!!!!!!

    I like to refuel with chocolate milk too! SO tasty!

  17. Christina October 13, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    I have been so tired lately and cooking is really the last thing I want to do. Actually – the cleaning up is the last thing I want to do.
    If it were up to me, I would eat peanut butter jelly sandwiches and greek yogurt with granola and fruits all day.
    Love chocolate milk after my run.
    I eat a PBJ sandwich before my long runs on the weekends.

  18. teacherwoman October 13, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    I too love chocoloate milk! mmm mmm mmm! Sometimes I crave cheese and crackers after a long run. I don't know if that has to do with the salt or just a weird craving.

  19. lindsay October 13, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    that marlene, so full of herself ;)

    nice job on the LT run! tempos are my favorite "workout" run. not quite as uncomfortable as speedwork i guess :)

    i love swigging choco milk or cold gatorade after a run, especially in the summer. i need to be better at post-run water intake, and i need to be better with my protein intake overall.

  20. Marathon Maritza October 13, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    Dare I say it….

    I miss LT runs too. :-O

    GREAT job this week!!! I can't wait TO SEE YOOOOOUUUUUUU!!!!!!

  21. Rachel October 13, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    good tips on refueling – i find that i really struggle with this, too! my biggest problems are that immediately after a hard or long run, i just can't stomach anything, plus i never leave myself with enough time after a run to refuel and recover properly. thanks for the reminder – i need to work on these things!

  22. Susan October 14, 2010 at 3:34 am #

    I'm admittedly really bad at refueling…I'm just not hungry right after I run! I should try the chocolate milk idea because who doesn't like chocolate milk?

    Nice work on the tempo run! I usually hate them when I'm doing them, but feel awesome about it when I'm done.

  23. October 14, 2010 at 5:44 am #

    i suck at refueling. i wait too long, but chocolate milk is always a good go-to. sometimes it turns into chocolate coffee, but again, i suck at fueling. haha.

  24. Tara October 14, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    I suck at fueling and refueling as you know, but it's my goal in the "off season" to perfect! I think I dug myself into a hole during tri training and I feel like I am just starting to feel more "normal" again.

    Nice job on the LT run speedster!

  25. J October 14, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    I have a hard time fueling after a run because I usually don't feel like eating and then when I eat, I feel sick to my stomach. I usually eat eggs after my weekly morning runs, which usually keeps me full till about 10am for my snack.

  26. The Jesse October 14, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    i have a hard time eating anything after a long run so choco milk is a go-to for me to tide me over until my stomach is okay with food again which gives me time to stretch, foam roll, ice and shower! haha. i try to plan out good refueling meals after weekend long runs but sometimes its harder during the week. thanks for sharing the tips :)

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