While training for my first half-marathon| those longer training runs did me in. It wasn’t so much that my muscles couldn’t handle it| as I was following the training schedule to a tee| but I felt completely spent the rest of the day. I’d get a bad headache and feel so physically exhausted with hardly any energy to climb the stairs| and sometimes it’d last through the next day.
It really put me off to longer workouts| until I read a tip from Kara Goucher that she heard from her coach Alberto Salazar: drink a post-workout protein shake. I was definitely noshing on a snack after a long workout| but I realized a banana and peanut butter wasn’t enough. So after a 10-miler| I gave it a try. I sipped on this strawberry-watermelon smoothie| which offers 15 grams of protein. What a difference! I instantly felt energized| and although my body was a little sore and tired| I didn’t feel totally depleted| and I was pleasantly shocked.
Protein is key for repairing muscles| so it leads to a faster recovery. That’s why this little trick also works for intense strength-training workouts. Be sure to eat between 10 and 20 grams of protein within 15 to 30 minutes of a completed workout (the sooner the better!). No need to go overboard with protein| as you also don’t want to overdo it on calories. And pair your protein with carbs to replenish fuel.
A protein smoothie is a perfect choice because it’s quick to make and sip down. But you can also treat yourself to this vegan recovery ice cream| or snack on a protein bar (store-bought or homemade)| yogurt with nuts| chocolate milk| or two hard-boiled eggs. If you’ve finished a long workout right before mealtime| make sure your plate includes lean protein sources| such as grilled chicken| beans| tofu| or whole grains. Refueling with enough protein is sure to make a difference in how you feel after a grueling workout.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar