So many of my clients are doing multiple races in one weekend (or Ragnar Relays where you run multiple legs in 24 hours), so I thought it would be a good idea to talk about how fueling changes when you're running many races in a short period of time. Or how fueling changes when you are doing two-a-day workouts.
Because it does change. The media makes it seem like we all fall into a one size fits all approach for dieting, but our needs as athletes are actually super duper different. I can't stress that enough, because I know as a young woman I internalized a lot of frustration and resentment towards my body because eating low carb made me feel like crap. I kept trying to low carb lower instead of realizing that hours of lifting heavy things and running made my body need more carb.
So lemme save ya the headache, stop low carbing lower. Learn how nutrient timing works. You'll feel awesome and build muscle and save yourself a ton of frustration.
So ya know how the "all knowing they" claim that we need to eat within 30 minutes post workout to optimize recovery?? Well, that's kinda not true!!
Actually, we have approximately two hours to refuel in order to optimize recovery. During that two hour post-workout window, our body is especially good at taking sugar out of the bloodstream to build new muscle and feed hungry muscles. We still can do that after the two hour window, just not as efficiently.
But the exception is for two-a-day workouts or for those race weekends where you are running numerous events in a short time period. For those events, refueling immediately with easy-to-digest carbs is a great way to reduce soreness and ready your body for the upcoming activity. A great choice is to use tart cherry juice post-workout since it is rich in nitrates (which increase oxygen delivery to your muscles) and antioxidants to reduce soreness.
While the 30 minute post-workout rule of thumb isn't necessary for two-a-days or weekends with multiple races, it is a good idea. Other ideas for easy to digest post-workout carbs are bananas, dried fruit, bagels, or crackers.
You prob think its kinda weird I didn't mention eating protein, huh??? Well, that's because it depends. If you're running another athletic event 2 hours after your last race, then you may not want to eat a bunch of protein since it takes a while to digest. It simply depends on what your race day schedule is like! However, if you have at least 3-4 hours to digest before your next event, a bland source of protein is not a bad idea to further boost recovery.
Isn't it annoying that nutrition always "depends?" I get sick of saying it because I know I'd want clean, clear recommendations, but unfortunately that's the issue with being a human being. Our bodies are all different. The type of event you're doing changes what's best for you. Your goals (PRs versus weight loss) changes the recommendations. It's annoying, but I'm always happy to help guide you in my FREE Facebook Community or in 1:1 coaching.
No matter who you are- fuel that body correctly. You only get one bod! And one life to run it right! ;)