Monday, June 01, 2009

Post Run Refueling, Rehydrating, and Recovery.

All of you are about to enter a more challenging phase of training and it's actually during 'recovery' from your runs that your body becomes stronger and better adapted to the act of running. So, here are a few post run refueling/hydrating tips for speeding recovery from your runs and one of my favorite tricks for recovering quickly!

Consuming something with a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is a great way to speed healing of microtears in muscle fiber AND replenish your primary fuel source.

Chocolate milk (or chocolate soymilk) is a GREAT beverage you can drink after your run that has this magical ratio.

Post Exercise Refueling:

To optimize muscle glycogen (aka-carbohydrates-your primary fuel source)replenishment, you should consume carbohydrate rich foods and beverages
within 15-30 minutes after your workout.

During that time the enzymes responsible for making glycogen are most active and will most rapidly replace the depleted glycogen stores. The current recommendation post-workout lasting greater than or equal to 90 minutes is 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight.

To get your kg, take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2. For example, someone who weighs 130# or 59 kg needs totake in ~90 grams of carbohydrate post exercise. One
gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories, so 90 grams of carbohydrates converts to 360 calories.

For example, a bagel and 16 ounces of Accelerade provides 90 grams of carbohydrate. A little protein (6-15 grams) eaten along with carbohydrate is thought to help with muscle repair (remember the magical 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio!).

So, you can add a few slices of turkey to your bagel. Once 2 hours has passed, you
want to repeat the recommendations of 1.5 grams of carbohydrate/kg of body weight along with 6-15 grams of protein.

Again, the most important thing to do during your training is to try different foods and fluids out because everyone's tolerance level is different.

Sports nutrition is all individualized- so practice now and develop your race day nutrition strategy to optimize your performance.

Hydration Tips:

Tips for encouraging drinking before, during, and following exercise:

1) Take fluid with you. Wear a bottle belt or fluid pack.
2) Know the warning signs of dehydration (unusual fatigue, lightheadedness, headache, dark urine, dry mouth).
3) Know where to find fluid (water fountains, stores,etc)
4) Drink early and often, but don't overdrink.
5) Better hydration means better performance.
6) Practice drinking during training.
7) Pouring water on your head does nothing to lower body temperature.
8) Drink by schedule.
9) Prehydrate to produce a light-colored urine.
10) Plan for fluid intake during competition.
11) After activity, drink 16-24 ounces for every pound
lost during activity.

Useful Equations:

1) To get from weight in pounds to kilograms, divide weight in pounds by 2.2. For example: 140#/2.2 = 64 kg
2) Take in 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour of exercise lasting greater than or equal to 90 minutes of exercise.
3) 1 gram of carbohydrate equals 4 calories.
4) Within 15-30 minutes post-exercise, take 1.5 grams of carbohydrate/kg of body weight along with 6-15 grams of protein. 1 ounce of protein = 7 grams. Once 2 hours has passed, repeat the recommendations.

Ice Baths

Ok, ice baths have virtually NOTHING to do with fueling or hydrating properly. BUT, they are a CRITICAL part of my recovery routine. In short, after every tough race/run workout, I fill my bathtub full of cold water (and ice if the water isn’t cold enough), and submerge my lower torso for 10-15 minutes. It’s NOT fun, but I PROMISE it will speed recovery.

What do you do when you have a bruise and/or contusion? You apply ice. Taking an ice bath is really no different. You have microtears in muscle fiber and inflammation. Apply ice will help REDUCE this and increase circulation which acts to expedite the healing process.

I know it sounds uncomfortable, but it does work. Think of it as a ‘mental toughness’ exercise. Wear a wool sweater on your upper torso, get a hot cup of coffee (or tea), and a magazine to read and the 10-15 minutes will go by quickly. Truly, it’s the first few minutes of an ice bath that are really brutal and then your body starts to adjust to the cooler temperature.

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