I’m in week 10 of 18 for my marathon training! On Nov. 6th, I will run the NYC marathon, along with 55,000 other runners! My body is holding up with all this training—just some minor aches and pains, but most of all I’ve come to appreciate a delicious, well-balanced recovery meal.
My Recovery Breakfast
I do all my runs first thing in the morning, so afterwards I’m hungry! One of the easiest, quickest, most well-balanced recovery breakfast meals is an open-faced fried egg sandwich. I melt cheese on top of the egg as it cooks. Next, add spinach, mustard and avocado atop a piece of whole grain or gluten free toast. I eat two of these to ensure adequate calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
What Is Glycogen?
Glycogen is the storage form of glucose in your muscles. When an athlete's glycogen supply is low, muscles lack the energy to perform their best. If you train daily or compete, you must maximize glycogen storage. Athletes can double the amount of glycogen their muscles can hold.
Carbohydrates (CHO) AFTER Exercise
Consume carbohydrate-rich foods and beverages within 30 minutes after your workout. Waiting more than 90 minutes to eat results in significantly less glycogen stored in the muscles. This may negatively impact performance during my next workout.
Target carbohydrate intake for cyclist and runners exercising for 60 minutes or longer is 1.0-1.5 grams (g)/kg lean body mass.
Protein Ingestion AFTER Exercise
Don't forget the protein! It aids in repairing damaged muscle tissue and stimulates development of new tissue. Protein also enhances glycogen replacement in the initial hours after hard exercise. Aim to consume 10-20 grams of protein in your recovery food/beverage to assist in glycogen uptake. The eggs and cheese certainly accomplish this.
Think of eating after exercise as "reloading your muscles" for a training or competition the next day. By refueling your muscles, you will be able to perform longer before feeling wiped out. Rapid replenishment of muscle glycogen after exercise is the fundamental nutrition goal for all athletes.
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods