What Should I Eat After A Run?

Ever since I began running a few years ago, I’ve become more health conscious than ever and aware of what my body needs. Though I’ve been trying to change it,  I’m a picky eater. I’ll admit it. This is especially true after coming in from a run. I want to nourish my body. I’ve done plenty of research on which foods I should consume after running, and it’s really not difficult. All you have to do is listen to your body. You want to replenish your energy as quickly as possible. What I crave most after a run are carbohydrates and protein.

After my first 5K in May 2011.
After my first 5K in May 2011.

I’ve learned that after a long run, the focus of your next meal should be glycogen replacement. Glycogen, a type of carbohydrate, is stored in your muscles. You reach the exhausting point when you know you can’t continue when your body is low on glycogen. Many runners consume carbohydrates to build up glycogen.

Through research, I’ve found that glycogen should be restored a half hour after running because, according to numerous studies, that is when the body is most efficient at using carbohydrates to produce glycogen for the muscles.

So, after a run, you want carbohydrates in your next meal. Foods containing carbohydrates are pasta, potatoes, rice, bread, and vegetables. Eating protein with carbohydrates stimulates glycogen replacement. Foods high in protein include beef, beans, cheeses, pumpkin seeds, lean meats like chicken and pork, fish, eggs, lentils, and peanuts. Also make sure to drink plenty of water to rehydrate your body.

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