Run, Eat, Repeat, Recover

Today folks is the NEW YORK MARATHON!  It is also the end of daylight savings and we get an extra hour added to the day.  My dad likes to change the clocks at the last minute so we have an extra hour added to our afternoon.  I tried to maintain this habit through college but various group meetings got in the way.

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So today I will be cheering on one of my coworkers in the race, maybe in multiple locations, and then helping her celebrate at the end.  Maybe one day I’ll work up the stamina to participate…maybe…but for now I’ll stick to my half marathon regimen.  Anyways, in honor of the big day, I decided to share some good ‘ol recovery eats that I’ve read about and started to use in my running routine. 

Back when I started to run in high school, it was easy to follow a schedule.  I had a coach to list out the daily workouts and teach us about different nutrition.  I may have had a few too many cookies and plates of lasagna but thank goodness my younger metabolism helped out.  Come senior year, I was a better about training, nutrition, and recovery methods.  I ate the same breakfasts, monitored my lunches, and watched what I ate pre and post practice and races.  I followed my coach’s instructions on how to train, how long to run, and when to ice (every day…duh).  But somehow all of that got tossed out the window when I graduated and entered college.  I probably completed 10-15 races during my time in college, including 5 half marathons.  My method of training for these half-marathons was to “wing-it” and hope that my training and knowledge of 13 miles would carry me across the finish line.  Totally a bad idea, right?  I thought that I could just pound out 13+ miles while eating the worst food (and beverages), and not really training.  Surprisingly I ran close to a PR, but I felt terrible.

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This time around I’ve spent more time focusing on cross-training, speed workouts (where I try to keep up with my new running buddies), and better nutrition.  The last part is always a struggle, especially with the temptations of living in the city and working in an office where snacks are endless.  I try to watch how much sugar I’m eating but realistically that statistic gets forgotten on the daily.

Here are some of my tricks and tips that I’ve started to pick up via blogs, experience, and even Buzzfeed.

  • Coconut Water – I can’t stand the plain flavored variety, but love the pineapple or tropical fruit flavor.  I usually drink 1/2 a serving after each run to rehydrate and pack in the potassium.  This will hopefully help my muscles recover and avoid any cramping that might occur in this cold weather.
  • Eggs – I tend to bring my breakfast to work, but love to make eggs for dinner.  They add variety to my sweet potato or kale salad and pack in the protein and even vitamin D.  For awhile I was anti-yolk, but realized the whole egg brings
  • Quinoa –  If you haven’t seen the hilarious Bud Light ad that talks about quinoa, you should.  It’s a hoot.  But, really, quinoa also provides protein, fiber, magnesium (good for bones), zinc, and cell-protecting manganese.

  • Salmon – Omega-3’s and anti-inflammatory powers at its finest.

    Oh do I love salmon.  I usually pick up a package at Trader Joes, cut the fillets into four parts and toss them in the freezer for later in the week.  This way I don’t have to have the same exact dinner every night if I don’t feel like it and I don’t waste any food or money.

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  • Sweet Potatoes – Healthy dose of carbs, vitamins and nutrients, where can you go wrong?  They are great as a savory side dish or even add some cinnamon and brown sugar and you have a sweet treat.

    Really want to know what they pack?  Complex carbs, dietary fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and potassium.

  • Chia Seeds – I’m not completely sure how chia seeds benefit my life, but have been adding them into my overnight oats and enjoying the texture they provide. – Apparently rich in omega fats, protein, and fiber.

What I Probably Should Eat/Drink More Of:

  • Vitamin C – from fruits to fresh orange juice, this is an area in which I am lacking.  I try to supplement with Emergen-C packets, but obviously the whole stuff is much better.
  • Kefir/Greek Yogurt – Lately I’ve been trying out a low-dairy diet to see how it impacts my health and acne.  My body tends to need a lot of calcium to protect my bones, but I’ve been relying on dark, leafy greens to do that.  It’s all an experiment at the moment.
  • Water – I try my best to rehydrate with the recommended 8 glasses, but life is life.

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  • Protein – I’m torn between meat, no meat, chicken, tofu, and whatever vegetarians eat to keep their protein levels satisfied. What’s your take on soy?

Do you have any tips for training and recovery?
I will be back soon with a recap of the race and hopefully be inspired to run it next year!  People say marathons are hell but I just want to do one and check it off my bucket list 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Run, Eat, Repeat, Recover

  1. I love all the foods you listed… except coconut water. I just can’t get on board with the taste!

    Soy is something I really like. I try not to have more than a serving every day or so. I think it’s a bigger concern if you have high estrogen.

  2. Great info! I always read so much about nutrition for runners…what to eat before a run, what to eat during, what to eat after, what NOT to eat before but is good to eat after, etc,etc, etc. Sometimes it gets so confusing! I tend to eat a banana before, and then have a glass of choco milk after. I am still only doing shorter distances though….

    • Glad to hear this could help. There are quite a number of articles out there, but I find the more the merrier. It’s also nice to get a wide range of people commenting on what they do and don’t do because one training plan doesn’t always work for every single person. Nutrition tends to matter even at the smaller distances! That’s something I found by running cross-country in high school where our races were only 3miles or so.

  3. A marathon is definitely in my future.. I don’t know when, but sometime! Hahaha I love that commercial so much! I hardly ever eat sweet potatoes.. why?! They’re so yummy! I’ve never tried coconut water either. I do love my eggs & quinoa though!

  4. This is a great post, and it’s doing a great job of guilt-tripping me into thinking more about what I’m eating. Would you say that the change in your nutrition has benefited your training? I always have a hard time discerning the cause and effect of foods I consume and race performances, and assume that I can eat whatever I want as long as I’m running enough to burn it off. Probably not the best mindset to maintain.

    As far as soy goes, I’m a big proponent as long as it is prepared properly. If you do have concerns about breast/ovarian cancer (if it runs in your family), then I would try to only get small amounts of it. With a high rate of breast cancer in my family, my mom and aunts have all been warned to consume in moderation. However, I would argue that it’s a great source of protein, especially if you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint and consume less meat. Also, it’s kind of hard to avoid soy these days – it’s actually more prevalent than wheat as an additive in processed foods.

    As I watch more and more people complete marathons, I’ve become convinced that not only am I capable of finishing, I actually HAVE to do one. My first (and only) half marathon two weeks ago was the most fun I’ve ever had in a race. Twice as far must be twice as fun, right? Do you think you would to the NYM, or is there another one on your bucket list? I think the Rock ‘n Roll races would be fun – they definitely aren’t just for the elites!

    • Thanks! You know, it’s a tough one because I can talk the talk but not always walk the walk. I do try to stick to a relatively healthy diet, just because I notice how food affects me later in the day or the next day. I’m not so sure how it affects my overall race performance – that’s probably more based on my training (or lack thereof). I tend to have the same attitude, what I can eat based on what I work off. It’s good once in awhile but I agree with most bloggers that stick to an 80% – 20% goal.

      That makes total sense about soy. I should really look into my family history and see how it affects me. I don’t exactly like soy milk, but do enjoy tempeh/tofu and it does provide a good non-meat alternative. I try to stick away from processed foods, just because you never know what strange chemicals go into it.

      Love that you are on the bandwagon too 🙂 I’d love to do the NYM, but it’s a lottery system, so who knows. I’d love to have a group of people to train with or someone to run with and cheer, so those are other factors I have to consider. Rock ‘n Roll would be fun and I’ve heard they have a wonderful atmosphere!

  5. I would advise you to take a calcium supplement if you’re trying to cut out dairy! I don’t like to overload on dairy either, but I have clinically low bone density so I make sure to take a multivitamin with calcium and even double up on an additional calcium/vitamin D pill every day. Also, Greek yogurt is lower in lactose than regular yogurt and has tons of protein & calcium!

    I try to stay away from soy when possible, especially when it comes to protein supplements, bc of some of the negative things I’ve heard about it. Whey is dairy based so I steer clear of it if possible as well…I prefer plant-based proteins like pea protein and hemp protein! However I love Luna & Clif Bars and they’re largely soy-based, so it’s obviously not a rule I stick to 24/7!

    • That’s a great recommendation. I probably don’t have the strongest of bones either, so that’s something I will start doing.

      I have heard some negative things, so I’m not so sure what to think anymore. I definitely try to avoid eating it daily and for sure not more than twice a day. I didn’t know that whey was dairy! As for most of my food decisions, I keep the 80-20 rule and don’t beat myself up too much.

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