What do people need to eat to refuel after a long run?
Balance is key and it’s not just focusing on one nutrient. If you follow the 3 R’s rule you will ensure you are nailing your recovery every time.
Rehydrate with water or / and electrolyte drink. You need to take on fluid at a rate that you are not peeing it straight out! As soon as you have finished your run drink 500mls fluid. After that, drink little and often until urine is clear or you have reached your pre-run weight.
Refuel with carbohydrate but no need to over compensate! If you have 24 hours between sessions, your strategy can be a little more relaxed. Follow your daily carb needs appropriate for your level of activity and ensure a well-balanced meal within an hour of finishing exercise. A well-balanced meal is hitting all the main food groups, a portion of protein, carbohydrate and a half a plate with veggies or salad. Simple but effective!
If you have less than 8 hours between sessions, or you have done a gruelling fasted sessions this is where you need to be more exact. Take approximately 1g carbs / kg of body weight each hour for 3-4 hours to maximise glycogen synthesis. This way you will ensure your glycogen stores are as restored as much as possible for the next session.
Rebuild with protein. Protein is not essential for the immediate post session recovery but plays a large part in long term recovery and adaptation to training. Therefore, getting into the habit of having approx. 20g protein 60 – 90 mins post run, then same again for subsequent meals to get your recovery right.