Race Day Nutrition Pt. 4 - Post-race Recovery
Post race, it's really important to focus on your recovery and Nutrition is arguably one of the most important parts of recovering after a hard effort.
You'll need to replenish Carbohydrate (Glycogen) stores, rebuild and encourage the maintenance of lean muscle mass with Protein, and re-hydrate with Electrolytes.
Why do I need to recover properly?
What should I eat after my race?
At least 20g of quality Protein and fast acting Carbohydrates. So something which contains a good balance of both, ideally in a ratio of around 4:1 carbs-protein. An effective way to get a quality source of both Protein and Carbohydrate into your diet, is from our KMC PRO MIX (It's like eating a choc mint milkshake) with 21g of Whey Protein. It's also a good idea to replenish your electrolytes, if you've done this well throughout your race that's great but if you've been going for longer than an hour it's really important to restore your fluid balance, our KMC ISO MIX is a great solution. Read more about the importance of electrolytes here.
*Don't go nuts and indulge straight away* Eating high-fat foods like a burger will slow down the digestion of post-race carbs and impede your recovery process. You should allow yourself time to celebrate and indulge but give it a few hours beforehand! Don't forget your post-race snack either - cheers, hugs, hustle and bustle can all distract you but if you don't refuel asap you'll feel worse for the rest of the day.
How much Protein?
When should I eat after my race?
Try to make sure you start your refuelling and rebuilding process as soon as you can. Make sure you consume a good recovery meal within 2 hours of finishing. It all depends on the length and intensity of your race but the sooner you start refuelling, the sooner the recovery process begins. When it comes to protein intake, research has demonstrated that your body is particularly receptive to protein for a couple of hours after exercise. This is commonly known as the "anabolic window". Not only will taking protein after a workout maximise recovery, it also means that you've got the rest of the day to fit in the rest of your good food.
Why is Protein so important for Recovery?
Protein plays a key role in repair for endurance athletes. Yes,it helps you to build muscle in strength training but is also critical for producing mitochondria in your cells where energy is produced and protecting lean muscle tissue. Every time you exercise muscle tissue is damaged and the extent of damage depends on the intensity and duration. This is actually the first key part of your adaptation to training. The second part occurs when your muscles begin to repair and rebuild, into leaner, faster and even stronger muscles.