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Most runners know the importance of refueling after a tough workout. They may have even heard a ratio of 4:1 carbohydrates to protein is optimal to repair muscle damage. However, runners may not know which foods are the best choice to fuel their recovery.

After a tough run, there isn’t much time to waste before eating. I had an 18 mile long run this weekend with 43.5 miles total for the week. That said, I have to be mindful of fueling and re-fueling. For some runners, this isn’t especially high mileage, but it’s sufficiently more than I typically run throughout the year.

While I’m ravenous most days, I usually have very little appetite after a long run. Remember to rehydrate. Any time you cross the finish line dehydrated, it’s important to restore hydration status as soon as possible. Once your run is over, it may be tempting to scarf down anything and everything in sight.

While replacing calories burned during your run is important for recovery, it doesn’t give you a license to binge. Here are some important things to implement in your post-run refueling plan that will optimize muscle repair and recovery: 1. Don’t wait to eat. It ends after you refuel. Proper nutrition allows you to train harder, longer and better. The right mixture of macro and micro nutrients can help promote glycogen resynthesis, repair muscles and rehydrate your body.

Whether you sprinted short intervals on the track or busted out 18 miles. Most runners know the importance of eating well before and after runs. Fueling during endurance exercise, however, is the sport’s newest unchartered territory.

Promises of improved performance and advanced recovery have coaches and athletes alike paying attention to what we put into our bodies on the go. Real food options like boiled potatoes with salt, fig newton cookies, PBJ, and pretzels are all great choices. In general, you don’t want to take in too much fat and fiber per hour (<5G/hour) due to their slower digestion in the body. Protein wise, you can start taking in about 8-10 grams per hour after.

I was wondering how your pre-run fueling went. I will make sure not to eat subway prior to my 20 mile run!! Ellen!!! Oprah annoyes me.

I love cake so I can’t pick just one flavor. I refuel with a big protein shake. I can not wait for about 1-2 hours post long run or hard work out. In addition to what you do during the run, most runners focused on a whole food way of fueling will tell you that what you eat before and after the run are equally important.

These meals are either going to top off your glycogen stores or help to prevent muscle wasting, all going towards quicker recovery. Ideas for fueling around your run. In short, if your run is 90 minutes or shorter, you will be able to replenish your nutritional needs after the run.

However, if you are running longer than that at a meaningful effort, plan to intake some calories while running.

List of related literature:

But there must be constant refueling if the engine is to perform over the long haul.

“The Marriage You've Always Wanted Bible Study” by Gary Chapman
from The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted Bible Study
by Gary Chapman
Moody Publishers, 2009

Trachsel also committed to refueling within the first 30 minutes after long or hard runs.

“Advanced Marathoning” by Pete Pfitzinger, Scott Douglas
from Advanced Marathoning
by Pete Pfitzinger, Scott Douglas
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2019

We have always heard about F1 cars running out of fuel and their constant need for refueling.

“Innovative Design, Analysis and Development Practices in Aerospace and Automotive Engineering (I-DAD 2018): Volume 1” by U. Chandrasekhar, Lung-Jieh Yang, S. Gowthaman
from Innovative Design, Analysis and Development Practices in Aerospace and Automotive Engineering (I-DAD 2018): Volume 1
by U. Chandrasekhar, Lung-Jieh Yang, S. Gowthaman
Springer Singapore, 2018

When time is short between fuel-demanding events, it makes sense to start refueling as soon as possible.

“Recovery for Performance in Sport” by Christophe Hausswirth, Iñigo Mujika, Institut national du sport et de l'éducation physique (France)
from Recovery for Performance in Sport
by Christophe Hausswirth, Iñigo Mujika, Institut national du sport et de l’éducation physique (France)
Human Kinetics, 2013

But fuel-efficent maneuvers are rarely time-efficient ones.

“A Logic Named Joe” by Murray Leinster, Eric Flint, Guy Gordon
from A Logic Named Joe
by Murray Leinster, Eric Flint, Guy Gordon
Baen, 2005

Refueling is done at 30-min intervals without shutting down.

“Forestry Handbook” by Karl F. Wenger
from Forestry Handbook
by Karl F. Wenger
Wiley, 1984

Endurance is inversely proportional to fuel flow.

“Flight Theory and Aerodynamics: A Practical Guide for Operational Safety” by Charles E. Dole, James E. Lewis
from Flight Theory and Aerodynamics: A Practical Guide for Operational Safety
by Charles E. Dole, James E. Lewis
Wiley, 2000

If successful, traveling delays associated with refueling could be substantially reduced.

“Intermediate Accounting IFRS” by Donald E. Kieso, Jerry J. Weygandt, Terry D. Warfield
from Intermediate Accounting IFRS
by Donald E. Kieso, Jerry J. Weygandt, Terry D. Warfield
Wiley, 2020

Thus, when takeoff delays are anticipated, captains will instruct their crews to delay starting all engines as a fuel conservation measure.

“Crew Resource Management” by Earl L. Wiener, Barbara G. Kanki, Robert L. Helmreich
from Crew Resource Management
by Earl L. Wiener, Barbara G. Kanki, Robert L. Helmreich
Elsevier Science, 2010

The goal was to identify if the pacing of fuel suitability for aviation use and the ability to produce that fuel could be better matched in schedule.

“Bioenergy: Biomass to Biofuels” by Anju Dahiya
from Bioenergy: Biomass to Biofuels
by Anju Dahiya
Elsevier Science, 2014

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

[email protected]

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29 comments

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  • Thanks Coach Elizabeth, have started having scrambled eggs after running at weekends after your cookery video suggestions, also adding spinach too

  • The low T level stated here is lower than I’ve heard anywhere else. Usually it’s 270 but varies by the persons symptoms. If you have a question, go to your doctor and get blood work. Easy as that. It can happen to young and healthy males too. Just like any other ailment.

  • I’m convinced YouTube is spying on me. This showed up in my recommended videos right after I finished a 13mi long run. GET OUT MY HEAD

  • Hi Anna, I keep getting blisters on my toes (2nd and 3rd). What would you recommend for that? And it’s not because of my shoes because I’ve changed several and still get them. ��

  • I did my longest run today, 11.5km. I did a solid hour of stretching after, and then a further 6 hours of solid eating. I feel that is a problem haha

  • Ok, I see… the same thing is always told.
    If there is a deficiency, stiff muscles are added, and the ligaments also feel stiffer. In some places it feels like a strain.
    First of all it is the age, above all else…..
    If the body thinks it is dropping its testosterone, then the other things help little.
    Anyone who is in this situation knows the topic.

  • Something that might contribute to low testosterone over time is an excess intake of calcium carbonate in the drinking water. Tap water has a considerable amount of calcium carbonate in it, it will result in limescale deposits in water kettles. A simple way of optimizing testosterone levels is to filter your drinking water. Bottled spring water may have a significant quantity of calcium carbonate and will not solve the problem. Drinking water or water used in making coffee or tea is a very big contributor of excess calcium carbonate intake. The rule of thumb would be that your drinking water should not test as an electrolyte.

  • Keep doing press ups like that and you’ll be lucky to be able to dress yourself when you reach your 50s. As regards testosterone: the way the increase it is to have regular ice cold (and i mean ice cold) showers and hold the shower jet on your testicles until the pain becomes unbearable and then hold it some more until you involuntarily let go of the the shower head and fall to your knees. I promise you’re testosterone will sky rocket ��……… you’re very welcome

  • Wow, thank you again Elizabeth, that could be a huge reason for my poor year of running in races, three of those that you listed made sense to me, so I have been working on the work/life balance, diet and sleep. So hopefully the second half of this year’s races will go a lot better. Maybe even tomorrow’s run (I’m currently visiting family in Stone Mountain, Georgia) trying to get an early run in before the sun comes out and punishes me.
    Thanks again for the video Elizabeth

  • Did you really need to chuckle and shrug your shoulders at 9.15? Depression is real I’m glad you find it so funny. I run to combat depression and I thought i’d found a great source of information in your channel. Your indifference and lack of empathy is really sad….and unprofessional frankly.

  • the 3 most important things to do when your Testosterone is low and its affecting your performance and overall health is Rest Rest and more Rest! Your body will tell you when its recovered and time to exercise again. The resting period should be at least several months and you should use this period to eat well and take some additional supplements Boron is a mineral that lowers SHBG and helps to raise your Free testosterone. Boron is taken morning on an empty stomach ( Solgar is a high quality brand ). dont forget Magnesium Citrate ( this form works well with the Krebs cycle ) and D3 as these help Boron to be maximally effective.

  • I got my testosterone tested and was found low. The urologist prescribed injections, but i did no take it for two reasons, one it is too expensive for me, 2nd, i don’t think it is a permanent solution. I rather go for supplements. On the internet i found Boron as a possibility and surely going to try it

  • I daily running near 5km but after 15days my one leg paining on hip what is the reason behind it? How can i recovery from this problem?

  • Perfect! It is a complex and individual answer. For me…someone who does intermittent fasting (16/8), working out on an empty stomach or running long miles before I break my fast makes it crucial that I don’t miss my window.

  • I have a 10 k race in Stockholm coming up next week and I have been tapering this week and I will taper next week. I usually run 30 40 k per week and now I feel fatter and heavier due to less mileage. At the same time I don’t wanna semi-starve myself before the race and lose energy.

    Elizabeth, do real runners also gain weight before a race?

    Glad you brought up meditation. Have you used Headspace since we first talked about it?

  • Hi Coach. TRE member here. I am never sick so I have had little need for doctors over the years and with the nature of medicine being so specialized today, it is very difficult and expensive to find and hold on to a regular personal doctor. So I’ve remained healthy through many years by remaining fit, eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep. I’m sure good genes haven’t hurt either.

    Lately, I’ve been looking to have my blood tested via testing labs but the cost differences between the various levels of service range from $25 for basic tests involving a mere 4 biomarkers to several hundred dollars for 70+ biomarkers. And making it even more confusing, the highly-rated labs (like Inside Tracker) are usually linked to comprehensive advisory and tracking services. Very confusing. How do I figure out what I need?

    I’m an old fart (65) and life-long distance runner who already tracks his blood pressure and ph level daily. My main concern these days is endurance and how my diet measures up relative to what my biomarkers (which ones?) reveal. It doesn’t sound like I have low T but who knows. As a professional nutritionist, you are already working with biomarkers for your clientele. Maybe you could do a video walking us through this. Not looking for medical advice, just a little help navigating through this.

    Thanks, I love your recipes at TRE.

  • I completely lose my appetite during and after a long run. I have to force myself to do so. My girlfriend, however, stays hungry during and after.

  • I just completed my first 18 mile run and it’s my low back and quads that are tight and sore. I cool down at least a half mile, hydrate with some water and Gatorade for the salt. Have done Pb sandwich or mini wheats for protein. Then a wonderful Epsom salt bath is amazing. I need to get better about stretching after running. Good luck everyone

  • I always get stiff shins after a run, Don’t know why, Cant run the next day because of the pain. Give it a few days and it’s totally fine. Gonna buy myself a roller to help, Thank you for the tips!

  • Nice video �� It’s not just about testosterone levels but about androgen / testosterone receptors. The density of receptors can reduce as we age as well. We might have to figure ways to improve androgen receptor density in our body.

  • Hahahaha, just finish my 3mile run and thinking what food I need for refuel. I think my soya milk with chia seeds should be enough for now? And then a healthy meal a little later.

  • I think she’s a very pretty girl and this video made my testosterone surge by 40 points! Just kidding, of course. Good and informative video. Thanks, sister:)

  • can you guys make a vid about runners that are under intermittent fasting? because we do 16+ hours of fasting, we really aren’t able to eat food or drink shake before and after runs.any vid about this will be of great help!

  • Lactic acid cannot pool. It is only produced when using muscles and running out of sugar. For example when sprinting, the burning sensation one feels is the lactic acid building up. Your lactate threshold is how long you can push at a given effort before lactic acid begins to build up. But once you stop exercising or reduce load to a recovery level the acid will be removed. It is a misunderstanding that stiff or sore legs (post exercise) is caused by lactic acid.

  • My physical therapist turned me on to ice baths following long runs. He said that there is a lot of inflammation following a long run that a warm or hot soak, while feeling good initially, will only exacerbate. What will reduce the inflammation and speed recovery is an ice bath. While difficult to do initially, I now look forward to them as I know it will remove all the soreness. Only stay in 15 to 20 minutes. I swear it works. I have done marathons with friends who won’t do ice baths and while they’re moaning, groaning, and going down stairs backwards because they are so stiff and sore, I’m going out shopping and walking around doing touristy things!

  • Great summary clip… Compression socks, was a sceptic, now never run without them. Prepare your recovery food or shake before you run and it’s ready for you when you get home.

  • This is definitely an area,I struggle with. Stretching & foam roller I just don’t understand. Thanks for the tips�� #TheRunningChannel

  • 2:56 “Causes a low sex drive which can lead to depression *snickers*” Real classy… glad male depression from low sex drive due to a chemical imbalance is something that you can find humorous.

  • Taking Magnesium before bed helps with you’re ��, reduces cortisol the stress hormone and helps you get a great nights sleep naturally.