After a run session, it’s important that your body replenishes the fluids, carbohydrates, and protein it lost while working out. Instead of heading to the nearest fastfood restaurant, here are 10 healthy things you could eat after a run. It’s a great post-run snack because it has a winning combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. If you love chicken, go for chicken breasts; they’re rich in protein, lean, and easy to prepare. These fish contain omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that will help your body recover faster. When you feel hot and tired, chilled grapes, watermelon, apple, and orange slices are refreshing, pleasantly sweet, help hydrate the body, and won’t upset your stomach after a run. Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and cashews are low in calories and even help lower bad cholesterol.
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During this period your muscles have been shown to be more receptive to rebuilding glycogen stores. SIS Rego Rapid Recovery gives an ideal ratio of protein as well as a good range of vitamins and minerals. If you have a sensitive stomach or find it hard to eat solid food immediately after a run, try having a smoothie or protein shake. Homemade smoothies are a good option too: try mixing a cup of coconut water with a banana, a small scoop of protein powder or nut butter and a couple of sticks of celery. In this time you should try to eat a meal or larger snack with a higher level of protein, and also some healthy fat and carbohydrates.
Eating the right combination of nutrients here will continue to repair muscle damage, decrease inflammation and rebuild glycogen stores.
The key thing to remember is to include a portion of good quality protein, some healthy fats and carbohydrates (focus on vegetables, fruit and whole grains). With a bit of planning, what you eat in the few hours after running can help you recover better, minimise muscle stiffness and leave you better prepared for your next run.
Running a marathon is a huge physiological challenge and despite the hours of training and preparation, it is highly likely that most runners will wake up the following morning, and the morning after, and the morning after with some degree of soreness, aches and pains. On crossing the finish line, the temptation to go straight to bed or head to the pub for a few beers and a slap up meal will be strong.
Runners should try to consume some carbohydrate, ideally 50-100g within an hour of finishing the marathon in either food or drink form.
This is because the restoration of muscle and liver glycogen – the carbohydrate stored in the muscle and liver that are depleted during prolonged exercise – begins as soon as exercise ceases so carbohydrates are essential to maximise this process.
The first 30-60 minutes after exercise is often referred to as the “window of opportunity” as this is when the muscle is primed to take up the carbohydrate you consume and store it. Choose sources of carbohydrate that are quickly digested and that you know you can tolerate. If you are a salty sweater – you’ll know because you’ll be able to taste it on your skin – it is essential to replace the salts that you have lost in your sweat.


Milk and dairy products have also been shown to have a lot of functional benefits during exercise recovery, so having a milkshake straight after you stop running is a great way of finishing the race.
Milk is a source of carbohydrate, proteins, several vitamins and minerals, including sodium and also is a fluid so can aid rehydration.
The carbohydrates and proteins in milk can facilitate the recovery of glycogen and milk proteins (in particular whey proteins) are readily used by the muscle to repair and regenerate after strenuous exercise. We have also shown that consuming 500ml of milk (which is about two large glasses) within 30 minutes following a very hard bout of exercise can help alleviate those feelings of soreness and can actually help you to physically function better in the 24-72 hours after the exercise bout. But if milk and dairy are not for you then there are several other foods than can help alleviate soreness during the recovery process. We recently foundthat beetroot juice, which is high in both nitrates and phytonutrients – natural chemicals found in plant foods – help to reduce soreness after exercise and speed up the recovery of muscle function over 72 hours. How this happens is still unknown, but at this point we do know that similar studies have shown that other phytonutrient rich foods such as tart cherries, blueberries and pomegranate can all have a similar effect.
Plus, these phytonutrient rich fruit and vegetables may also help protect the body from coughs and colds and other infections in the days after a marathon, when your immune system is lower after being suppressed. The take home from this is that rehydrating and ensuring you consume a good source of carbohydrate and protein in the first 30-60 minutes after the marathon will go some way to help your body recover from the physiological strain of those 26.2 miles. But, if all else fails and you found you made a beeline for the pub, in the days after the marathon, you cannot go wrong with a few hot baths and some good nights rest. Re-fuelling after exercise is important for maintaining adequate energy stores for beneficial changes in your muscles (training adaption). They may be well-marketed, but how effective are ‘sports’ drinks like Gatorade in aiding performance and helping recovery? Typical sports nutrition guidelines advocate eating carbohydrate-rich food before, during and after exercise to maximise performance.
We do this for a number of reasons including how I am going in to the Chicago Marathon undertrained, which also has affected my ability to properly test foods.A new segment on the show was launched too about Serena busting food myths. One of the first things you should do after a run is to drink water or a sports drink packed with electrolytes.
Be sure to check the nutritional label as there are some candy bars high in sugar that are pretending to be sports bars. They are rich in Vitamin B6, Potassium, and Magnesium – nutrients that a runner needs after a run. You get back from a run knowing you need input and grab the first thing that comes to hand. Carbohydrate is stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen, and is a primary energy source for runners. Protein bars such as Clif Builders bar or Chimpanzee organic protein bar are great tasting options too.
You can also leave it until nearer the end of the 30-minute window, giving the body 20 minutes or so to recover before taking something in. You also need to be aware not to over-eat at this meal, as too much food will slow the absorption of nutrients.
There are almost endless possibilities for this meal depending if it's breakfast, lunch or dinner and on your food preferences.


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Every runner from the elite athlete to the charity fancy dress participant endured endless hours of preparation for this day in order to get round the 26.2 miles to the best of their ability. But while it is important to enjoy your achievement and indulge in a treat or two, a few nutrition tips will go a long way in helping you to feel less sore and move more freely in the days after the marathon. This could include carbohydrate sports drinks, cereal bars, bananas or bread-based products. Continue to consume a good source of carbohydrate such as pasta, rice or bread for three to four hours after exercise to maximise glycogen resynthesis - the replenishment of carbohydrate stores in the muscle. Most runners will have no idea of their fluid losses over the course of the run and so the best indication of hydration status is urine colour – pale straw colour is ideal.
Adding some salt to your post exercise drink can not only help to balance those sodium levels, but it can also help with fluid retention. This is obviously only the case if you can stomach dairy products after prolonged exercise and have no associated intolerances. Research has shown that milk is a more effective rehydration solution than a carbohydrate only solution as the proteins in milk help the body to retain the fluid. Or you finish your run and pop into the nearest shop to be faced with rows of tempting but maybe not so sensible re-fuelling options. The body can only store a limited amount of glycogen, making it vital to replenish, especially after a long run or hard workout. However, too much protein can slow carbohydrate absorption so it’s important to try and keep that balance. Both these bars have higher protein ratios than you would want so you could have either a carbohydrate drink or some fruit to up the carbs. Remember to check the protein to carb ratio on energy bars and protein shakes as they are not all created equal! You can also add a couple of dates or some more fruit like berries if you crave something a bit sweeter. The body can only absorb 20g of protein in one go, so be careful not to overload your plate with protein. If you are tired and blood sugar is low you are likely to choose something high in sugar or without protein. If you prepare your post-run smoothie or snack before your run and have it ready in the fridge, you will be less likely to munch on biscuits. Crisps, chocolate, bagels, coffee, sugary fizzy drinks are all classic cravings after a hard run. You might also be tempted to head straight for a shower and a lie down without eating anything at all.



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