IMT Des Moines Marathon

IMT Des Moines Marathon
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Refueling With Chocolate Milk After a Long Run

What would you say if I told you that research suggests chocolate milk may restore and maintain hydration better than water or certain sports drinks?

Recently I attended the Road Runners Club of America national convention in Memphis, Tennessee. I sat in on a breakout session that featured information on nutrition and how it affects your body as you age and a session on the benefits of low fat chocolate milk and post run recovery. Both sessions touched on the importance of proper diet and nutrition but also highlighted running training programs as lifestyle choices and what kind of decisions we can during a training program to support the choices we make in our lives to live a healthy lifestyle.

Whether you are signed up for your next race or are maintaining a weekly base, these tips can be helpful in post run recovery and muscle building for your next work out.

Carbohydrates and proteins set the foundation for the athlete diet. Try to get them in natural food sources.  Avoid processed foods, foods with multiple ingredients and those you can't pronounce.  Avoid real food substitutes and quick fix promotions that seem 'to good to be true'.  Stick to the basics. Green vegetables, such as broccoli and peppers. Whole grain rice. Black beans. Chicken. Salmon/fish. Don't be afraid to use salt and pepper to season your food and replace lost sodium during your longer workouts or training runs on hot days.

How quickly you get carbs and protein back into your system after your workout is key too. Try to refuel within 45 minutes to 2 hours following your workout. The body will recover and will always take these nutrients, but studies show that more strenuous the workout, the more benefit you receive from immediate refueling. Especially if you plan another workout within the next day or two as opposed to just completing a marathon with immediate plans to back off running.

Unfortunately, after the age of 40 our muscle mass can begin to deteriorate.  Proper refueling after a run and during the week can aid with the essential rebuilding process of restoring glycogen reserves.  Try to get 90 grams of protein a day. Eat 3 meals a day or mini-meals throughout the day. 30 grams of protein 3x a day is better for the body than 90 grams at one time. Follow a 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. Carbohydrates are important for energy and will keep your body fueled during workouts. 

Now the fun stuff...did you know that scientific research has shown that low fat chocolate milk is your best bet when looking for a recovery drink?  Use products like Gatorade on the course and drink low fat chocolate milk after your workout. Chocolate milk offers high quality protein and key electrolytes like calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium (which are added to sports drinks). You will also find vitamin D to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of stress fractures and B vitamins for energy. Powdered chocolate milk works just as well.  Take it with you on your next work out and mix with water. Read the science at

Don't let your training stop when your workout ends. After a run, refuel and reload.

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