Monday, March 29, 2010

Pre-run and post-run fuel

I love all (vegan) food, but there are a few things that just rock my world. One is my pre-run soy yogurt.

It's low-fat, low-fiber, low-protein, high-carb, and it gives me just the right amount of energy I need pre-run. I don't really have a weak stomach, but I'm used to eating often; it's pretty much impossible for me to wake up and run without a snack. Fat, fiber, and protein slow me down though, so soy yogurt it is! (Check out this article for some ideas about what to eat pre-exercise.)

The other thing I absolutely adore is soy milk, which is usually in my post-run fuel, mostly because it's fortified with vitamin D2 but also because it's creamy and delicious!

Being vegan, it's a bit harder for me to get the vitamin D that I need through regular foods. I don't eat many processed foods that are fortified with vitamin D, and even those that I would be willing to eat are usually fortified with D3, which is animal derived. My good ol' Silk soy milk is fortified with D2, the plant version of vitamin D, and I love the stuff! (Check out this article for more information about the importance of vitamin D.)

My favorite post-run fuel? A 1/2 a cantaloupe, a cup of soy milk, and 2 tablespoons organic chocolate chips.

Let's talk about post-exercise nutrient calculus for immediate refueling. Ideal post-exercise refueling has a 4:1 carb to protein ratio, and the ideal amount of post-exercise carbs is one half-gram per pound of body weight. So, a runner who weighs 140 lbs should shoot for a post-run meal with 70g of carbs and about 18g of protein (18g being roughly one-quarter of 70g). For me, the equation takes me to about 60ish grams of carbs and 15ish grams of protein, which my snack of melon, milk, and chocolate chips perfectly satisfies!

Remember, the above calculus is for immediate refueling! We're talking no more than 30 minutes post-exercise if the exercise was super-intense. In addition to the immediate refueling, you need a proper meal with a good mix of carbs and protein within an hour. More on that later!

(If you're interested in post-run refueling, this article has some basics, and this article has some more specific information.)

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