As most runner’s know, post-workout recovery is the key to consistent practice and not getting hurt. I can’t emphasize how important this is. So what do most runner’s do….? They don’t eat or drink properly. So here is a really simple guide to recovery:
As a rule of thumb, you want to finish a workout with no more than about 2% body weight loss, and certainly no weight gain. Weight loss in excess of 2% signals performance decline. Drink a pint of water per pound loss or 16 ounces. So whatever you lose, simply replenish. Simple and Easy.
When you begin a workout or race, your body uses your carbohydrate storage (glycogen) for the first hour to 90 minutes. As your stores of muscle glycogen become depleted, your body switches over to burning fat reserves along with carbohydrates and protein consumed during exercise.
So if you don’t replenish after a workout, your next workout will really suffer. Studies have linked pre-workout glycogen levels to workout or race performance. Here is the key, you have only roughly 30-45 minutes after you take your last step of your workout until carbohydrates are absorbed and replenish your storage. So the quicker, the better.
Carbohydrates can’t do it alone. They need a friend to help you recover. Protein will help rebuild stressed muscles, give the carbs a helping hand in re-storing glycogen, and help maintain your immunity. This essential to having good workouts on a daily basis.
Our bodies need antioxidants to protect us from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals (of which there are several types) are unstable atoms or molecules, usually of oxygen, containing at least one unpaired electron. Free Radicals will destroy tissue, cells, and anything else in sight.
Dr. Bill Misner writes:
“Oxygen has the capacity to be both friend and foe. When energy fuels are metabolized in the presence of O2, 5% of them create molecules that contain an odd number of electrons. If free radicals are not neutralized by on–site antioxidant body stores immediately, tissue damage occurs to absolutely every cell membrane touched by these imbalanced molecular wrecking machines. Some theorize soreness and stiffness result because free radicals and waste metabolites build up during either prolonged or intense exercise. The more volume oxygen that passes into our physiology for energy fuel metabolism, the more increased free radical–fatigue symptoms may be experienced.”
The key is keep it simple so you can stick to it and BALANCED. The more disciplined and balanced your routine and recovery are, the more success you will have.