If you’re a runner or triathlete, you’re well into race season now. Whether you’re participating in a 5km or ultra distance event, it’s important to ensure that you’re looking after your body well by paying attention to your recovery routine post-race. This isn’t just in terms of re-fuelling, but also with respect to hydration and activity. Everyone approaches this slightly differently and it’s important to appreciate that what works for one person might not work for someone else. With that in mind, here’s a guide to post-race nutrition, hydration and activity, which may be useful if you’re starting out or moving to a different distance.
Your body is perfectly capable of fuelling itself over a 5k and won’t need much help to recover afterwards. If you sweat a lot or it’s been particularly hot then by all means, have a sports drink but just some water or squash will work just as well and is lighter on the calorie count. In terms of food, a banana or a small flapjack is a good option but it’s very easy to over estimate how much energy you expend on a run when you start out so take it easy. A 5k will burn around 300 calories. That’s a small piece of cake.
Food: TPW Protein Grazers or a banana if you feel the need
Drink: 500ml water, sipped
Activity: Gentle stretch out. Up and running again the next day.
You burn about 600 calories over 10k but don’t be tempted to eat 600 calories there and then, your stomach will grumble. Better to have something small afterwards and just eat a little more at the next meal. Sometimes bananas or fun size chocolates are handed out after events and they’re perfect, but something of around 100-150 calories to tide you over until your normal meal time will suffice. Coconut water will help to replace electrolytes that you will have lost.
Food: Banana, fun size chocolate bar or TPW Protein Grazer Bar
Drink: 500ml water with Coconut Water Powder
Activity: Moderate stretching. Up and running again the next day.
Half Marathon Distance
It’s easy to get cold and hungry quickly after a half marathon, so layers and food for afterwards are essential. You burn serious calories in a half marathon so it’s essential you refuel properly.
Food: Banana, sandwich, Beef Jerky OR Protein Flapjack Luxe. Eat a proper meal within 2-3 hours
Drink: Whey Protein 80 i-Shake as soon as possible, water as needed
Activity: Change into dry warm clothes or add warm layers. Lots of stretching over the next 6 hours. Hot bath to warm up and soothe muscles. Foot scrub and moisturise. Short run after 1-2 days if you’re new to the distance, otherwise normal training if you feel capable.
I only have one marathon in the bag (so far) but I use this strategy on almost all of my longer runs. I’ll take on water and 4-5 gels during the race, about one every hour.
Food: TPW Protein Snackers, a banana or Protein Grazers OR a sandwich or Protein Cookie if you aren’t able to eat a proper meal within 2 hours. Proper meal within 2 hours.
Drink: Whey Protein 80 i-Shake as soon as possible, water as needed.
Activity: Change into dry warm clothes or add warm layers. Lots of stretching over the next 12 hours. Hot bath to warm up and soothe muscles.