Normally, after a race, I like to relax and embrace my gluttonous side for a week or so. Think chips. Think milkshakes. Think more chips. However, with another race right around the corner, this was not an option.
I’ve heard about guys like Nick Clark and Ian Sharman who will go out and run a day or two after a hundred miler. I can’t really comprehend it. With that being said, I’ve been reading up on recovery and there was a great article in the August issue of UltraRunning written by registered sports dietician/nutritionist Sarah Koszyk.
Here’s a highlight from the article:
“Glucose and sucrose are twice as effective as fructose in restoring muscle glycogen after exercise, because fructose is first converted to liver glycogen, whereas glucose skips going to the liver and goes directly to the muscles. Whether the carbs are simple or complex doesn’t really matter. You can increase your muscle glycogen with both types of carbs. The main goal is to have the carbs contain glucose and/or sucrose so they bypass the liver and go straight to your muscles for optimal recovery. Also, the faster you start to increase your muscle glycogen by making some more, the better recovery you will have. You’ll feel less muscle soreness. Your legs won’t quiver every time you sit down…
You want to focus on high glycemic carb sources because higher glycemic carbs will be easily digested in the body and rapidly assimilated. Lower glycemic carbs tend to take longer to get absorbed and are not ideal for efficient restoration of muscle glycogen. According to the Journal of Sports Science, after the race, you want to consumer 1.0 to 1.2 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight within the first 15 to 30 minutes.”
I’m going to be honest – I’ve always been skeptical of stuff like this. I mean, not science in general – just quick fix recovery plans.
Regardless, I figured I would give it a try after the 50K. Right near the finish line, I set aside a Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator (90 calories, 20g of carbs, 4g of protein, vegan) and a ProBar Base (290 calories, 32g of carbs, 21g of protein, vegan). I realize this is 53g of carbs while the Journal of Sports Science suggests I should be closer to 70g – baby steps. Baby steps.
My stomach was not in a good place, but I somehow managed to get it all down within twenty minutes of finishing the race.
And then I woke up the next day…
Whoa. I could stand. I could walk. I probably could have gone for a run!! I erred on the side of caution and took off Sunday and Monday. However, on Tuesday, I threw on my shoes and went out for a five-mile jog. No problemo!
This could be life-changing. Sure, I won’t always want to get right back out there and go for a run! But there is something to be said for walking down stairs and not tearing up when you want to stand up.
The next time you do a longer race (or workout), give it a try! Stash some nutritious drinks/snacks near the finish and see what happens!
In the meantime, happy running!!
How do you usually recover from a hard workout or race?
Do you believe in science?