MarathonMaiden's Blog

January 11, 2010

Fueling Part 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — marathonmaiden @ 15:53

Yeah, so it’s definitely been beyond over five months since I put together my last post in the series.  You can catch Part 1 and Part 2 if you want. And just a disclaimer: I am not a doctor (yet) nor a nutritionist nor anyone with credentials.  So take my words however you will but know that I am by no means an expert.

So in part 3 I wanted to discuss a bit about post-run fueling. I think it’s very important to try and eat within 30 minutes of finishing the workout being done; apparently studies have shown that’s when you’re muscles are more receptive to repairing and receiving nutrients etc.  I really do try to stick with this 30 minutes and, in all honesty, I try to have something made within 15 so that I’m actually in the process of eating once the 30 minutes rolls by. I truly believe that how you run tomorrow depends on how you fuel after today so I make it a point to have *something* after a run.

Another principle I try to live by is incorporating all three “macro-nutrients” (is that even the word I want to use??) into my post-run food.  I think I’ve read somewhere that the “ideal” thing to eat is 4 parts carb to 1 part protein.  I guess that’s similar to what I do too but I definitely do not obsess over it nor do I try to calculate it.  And I include fats in there as well.

And thirdly: drinking water post-run is important but I have no brilliant guidelines to give you because I’ve been trying to think of how to describe how I drink water and, truth be told, I am a terrible hydrate-er.  I do try to have about half a water bottle (what’s that ~8 oz?) immediately after a hard session where  I’ve been sweating a lot. I guess a good rule of thumb is to drink when you’re thirsty. Maybe I’ll come up with a part 4 and deal with hydration (hopefully it’s not another huge delay though ha)

Generally speaking I try and time my runs so that they coincide with a meal or a snack, ie) 0600 runs are right before breakfast, noon runs are before lunch and on the rare occasion I do a pm run my 1500 snack is usually right after.  Granted sometimes life does get in the way (and I’ll discuss what I do then in a bit) but that’s what I strive for.

Since I’m really awkward at writing about food — I am by no means a foodie! — maybe I’ll just show an example of two of what I eat after my runs? Sounds good to me.

Post-breakfast run:

  • Cheerios with 1% milk (what I was raised on) and banana with a peanut butter & banana sandwich on an english muffin.  Hands down favorite meal.  Very carb heavy but with protein in the form of milk and pb.
  • Oatmeal (I go for instant apples & cinnamon) with the pb and banana sandwich washed down with a glass of milk.  This is more common in winter when I want the oatmeal to warm me up.
  • Typically though, most morning I’m rushed and don’t have much time to clean up after myself (re: rinse out one bowl haha) so I’ll have a big bagel and make the sandwich on this.  Easy clean up because I use a paper towel as a plate.

As these three sample breakfasts indicate I put an emphasis on carbs with a side of protein in some form.  The same holds true if I’m running pre-lunch, which is the case on the weekends or during breaks when I don’t have anywhere to be.  I’m a pretty boring lunch person, truth be told, as I ❤ sandwiches.

Post-lunch runs:

  • Turkey sandwich with cucumbers, tomatoes (in it) and some cauliflower, yogurt, and fruit.
  • Peanut butter & honey / peanut butter & jelly with a banana, sometimes in the sandwich and sometimes not.  Can’t forget the big ole glass of milk to wash it down either.

Yet again an emphasis on carbs and protein.  I bet you can guess what I eat if I’m running in the pm (which I rarely do) right? Yup lots of carbs with some protein. And I think that is the take home message for this is carbs + protein = great recovery fuel.

And I don’t do a lot of pre-dinner runs but I’d imagine that I’d make up some lean meat (I absolutely love chicken and fresh caught fish from my brother) and pair it with some vegetables and bread.  I hate pasta (gasp) and rice (double gasp) so I rely on hearty breads to fufil the carb portion of my meal.  I particularly love “multi grain” breads that have nuts and seeds in them for a little added crunch.

But what about when you need to dash off and an actual meal isn’t possible? I know that many of you guys have incredibly busy lives and, while I’m really busy too, I have the luxury of being a college student and my schedule can be flexible if it needs to be so I can rely on the “eat a meal right after” thing.  Sometimes I cannot though as I have labs or meetings etc that I need to dash off to.  My big thing is to think ahead so that I can still eat something within that 30 minute time frame and not have to rely on grabbing the first thing I see which is usually a vending machine of sorts.

In a hurry post-run fuel: that can fit easily into a gym bag, backpack etc.

  • Granola bars.  I’m not talking about protein bars, fitness bars etc that are really popular.  Nothing wrong with them at all.  I just don’t like to do ’em.  I happen to love Nature Valley granola bars (there really isn’t a flavor I don’t like in fact) and they are easy to pack in my bag and it doesn’t matter a whole lot if they get smushed.
  • Fruits that come in their own wrappers (I am a HUGE germ freak haha) like bananas and clementines (so easy to peel).  It’s also easy to stick a zip-lock bag around other easy to tote fruits, such as apples or pears that are also pretty resistant to being in a bag
  • Nuts (cashews are great and my personal fav) and if you can plan ahead you can make your own trail mix with some dried fruit, pretzels etc.  Perfect combo of — ready for this? — carbs and proteins.

Also just to note: how much I eat post-run doesn’t really depend on how long the run is.  Since I try to time my runs to end at a meal I’m hungry anyway (unless it’s the summer where heat = appetite killer).  That said, however, a short recovery run doesn’t make me rush to refuel the way a long run or speed workout does because it’s not as taxing on the body.

Also to keep in mind: this isn’t a meal plan for me that I follow religiously.  I definitely do not eat everything I just wrote on a daily basis. It’s just guidelines I try and keep in mind once I hit “stop” on my watch as I end my run. 🙂

Whew…another long winded post.  Hopefully something was useful here.  I doubt what I wrote was ground-breaking or anything like that but I had received some comments asking me for how I eat/fuel, that kind of thing.  Plus Part 3 was loooong overdue. I included lots of examples of what I eat to refuel but that is by no means an exhaustive list and I hope I didn’t bore anyone by including it, it was just the best way for me to illustrate what I do.

Also checkout this Cookbook Giveaway. Perfect giveaway for a food post, no?



  1. Thank you for this post. Very helpful. I don’t eat poorly, but I don’t eat optimally for serious running. That needs to change. Your post may be the start of that!

    Comment by A Marathoner — January 11, 2010 @ 18:29

  2. I should read part 1 and 2 because this was great.
    I think macro-nutrients is correct there because macro means large-scale and so probably refers to the big 3.
    I always time running with meals, too. It just works out better I think. And by “traditional” standards, I’m like the worst refueler because I eat so slowly. Really, I’ve finished a bowl of oatmeal a good 2 1/2 hours after finishing a run haha.

    Comment by Evan Thomas — January 11, 2010 @ 19:10

  3. Haha. I just eat 😉

    Comment by Matt — January 11, 2010 @ 19:37

  4. Great post girl!! Great info…and I HEART bread with a passion – I also like my pasta though haha 😉

    Comment by eatmovelove — January 11, 2010 @ 21:01

  5. yummy! I made this tonight –

    It was delicious (although, I added waaaaay more garlic and onions because I like things like that). I also made it with whole wheat pasta and homemade whole wheat bread crumbs. It was great and I think it’ll be perfect fuel for tomorrow morning’s run 🙂

    Comment by runningfiance — January 11, 2010 @ 23:02

  6. Thanks for this post. I got a lot out of it.

    And it looks like I need to set aside some time to catch up on all of your words of wisdom. I’m sure there is a lot I can learn from you. 🙂

    Comment by Tricia — January 12, 2010 @ 09:12

  7. i love a lot of your go-to foods. i could eat cheerios every day for the rest of my life and i think i would be happy. i recommend adding walnuts 🙂 mmmmm. and PB= awesome. great fuel post!

    Comment by Lacey — January 12, 2010 @ 10:08

  8. I don’t always fuel myself properly through out the day…but know I do at night. This is backward! I should eat more during the day and less for an evening meal, but I can’t help but love to savour the best tasting meal. I need to get into the habit of eating not only when it tastes awesome, but just for fuel.

    Comment by specialkphd — January 12, 2010 @ 11:17

  9. I like this post! It is making me want a PB + nanner sandwich which I haven’t had in forever! I, like you don’t like pasta or rice which everyone thinks is crazy.

    Oh, and PS. Thanks for commenting on my blog. It always makes my day! 🙂

    Comment by tmart — January 12, 2010 @ 13:34

  10. Pb and banana sandwiches with honey are my favorite food on earth. I like Nature Valley granola bars too. Not bad for being so cheap.

    Comment by runjess — January 12, 2010 @ 13:56

  11. […] just going to jump right into my workout First I want to say that I’m glad you guys liked my Fueling: Post Run post yesterday. Hopefully I can write more stuff about that but it took me for-freaking-ever to […]

    Pingback by Interval Tuesday: Week 14 « MarathonMaiden's Blog — January 12, 2010 @ 17:00

  12. Catching up on your blog 🙂 Love this post! It’s really helpful. In fact I’m going to link to it tomorrow 🙂

    Comment by marathonmummy — January 14, 2010 @ 15:53

  13. […] type of thing.  I’ve done some stuff with that but more in regards to pre, during and post – run stuff.  I’d be happy to try and put together something though about day-to-day.  Might […]

    Pingback by Technically a Double Day « MarathonMaiden's Blog — March 8, 2010 @ 19:22

  14. […] it’s my blog.  If you’re interested in fueling you can check out my pre, during, and post-run posts I’ve done in the […]

    Pingback by How [Double] Running Can Rock: Refueling « MarathonMaiden's Blog — June 4, 2010 @ 09:03

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