. . . To Tame the Rungries
It’s so frustrating when you have the most awesome long run . . . and then you want to eat everything in sight for the rest of the day (unless, of course, you’re naturally thin — I most definitely am not).
I’m not into starving myself or exercising more if I’ve eaten more than I should, but it’s also hard to see my hard work at maintaining my weight go down the drain because of the rungries.
I am not a coach, any sort of medical official, or a nutritionist. But I have gone from gaining weight training for my first half to getting back down to my goal weight and more or less maintaining it, all while continuing to run and train for half marathons.
Don’t wait to eat
I always have a snack with me for post long run. Even if I’m planning to go out for a bite with friends. Getting some calories in you quickly can make a world of difference in your hunger levels.
The rule of thumb is that you should eat something within 20-30 minutes after your run.
Consider liquid calories
Smoothies or chocolate milk. A lot of runners simply can’t eat immediately after a run, but if you wait too long, chances are you’ll be hungry all day and overdo it on the refueling.
Even if you can’t eat, you probably will enjoy a smoothie or some chocolate milk. Everyone always raves about chocolate milk. They had some after Firecracker 4 (read about that here), so I figured let’s see what everyone’s talking about. Can’t say as it did it for me. I didn’t even finish it.
However, after my run-in with the rungries last weekend when my post run snack was a smoothie, I’m not sure I’ll do that again.
Or maybe I will, if I follow the next point.
Get in a mix of carbs and protein
They say the golden ratio is about 3 or 4 (carbs) to protein. So if your snack has 10 gm protein, for instance, you’re shooting for about 30 or 40 gm of carbs. And don’t go overboard on the protein, either. They say you can only absorb about 25 gm at a time.
Which brings me to my next point!
Refueling isn’t done once you’ve had your post run snack.
One snack does not a refueling strategy make. That snack just begins the refueling process.
You should try to follow up that snack with an actual meal within a couple of hours. Don’t toss all that hard work down the drain by overindulging. Of course it’s fine to treat yourself — but it’s so easy to go way overboard on the treats.
Craving a beer? A burger and fries? Some ice cream? Go ahead, make your day (sorry, couldn’t resist) — just don’t go for all of that. Unless you just ran 20 miles . . . then I’m pretty sure you can eat whatever you damn well please.
Even if you did run 20 miles, choose your next meal wisely. Get in some protein to soothe those hard worked muscles (eggs and salmon are great choices, but whatever sounds tempting to you should work). A side of carbs — brown rice, quinoa (which also has lots of protein), sweet potatoes — will all help you to restock your glycogen stores so that you can rock out the next run. A little healthy fat — avocado, nut butter, olive oil, coconut oil — they’ll all help you feel fuller and have many other benefits as well.
And don’t forget to keep hydrating, too!
Don’t forget to fuel on the run
If you’re doing a short easy run, you probably don’t need a snack afterwards at all. If you’re running for an hour or longer, you probably do need a snack.
At the beginning of a training cycle I will usually run up to about 8 miles with nothing more than Saltstick Fastchews and water. As I get closer to my race, however, I prefer not to deplete my glycogen stores so much so I will usually eat something on the run.
Rather than take a gel every 30-45 minutes, I like to get a little in every mile. I once attended a seminar and the speaker likened fueling that way to an IV drip. No matter how you decide to fuel, if you’re running more than an hour and you find that you’re starving the rest of the day — and you’ve followed all the previous points — try eating on the run.
So let me know in the comments:
What’s your go-to immediately post run snack?
What treat do you crave as the miles get longer?
What’s your go-to post long run meal?