Eating Post-Run

May 23, 2013

Wednesday morning I tried out my new Mizuno Wave Rider 16s for the first time. (I ended up ordering them from Amazon for $86, originally $115.) Love how light they are!

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First I ran 2 miles in the Wave Rider 15s and then switched to the 16s for the last 3 miles. I always break in new running shoes on 3-5 mile runs at first so my feet get used to them. (Wow, do these look dirty compared to the new ones.)

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I did a 5 mile run on Wednesday morning, and then ran 6 miles Thursday morning. I am taking Friday morning off to rest up for my half-marathon on Saturday—the Trent/Waldron Glacier Half-Marathon.

I picked up my bib after work today. Last year I set a PR of 1:31. I know that won’t happen this year, but I’m still excited to race and hoping for a decent time.

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After getting back from a run, sometimes I’m starving, other times I have no appetite. Anyone else experienced this?

If I go on a run and maintain a comfortable pace—and don’t push myself, my appetite is “normal,” which means I usually get hungry within 20-30 minutes afterwards and eat a good-sized meal (breakfast for me). I always try to time my runs, so they end right before a meal to prevent myself from overeating.

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On the other hand, if I do a long run or a speed/hard workout, I often have little to no appetite after I am done. It takes my body several hours before my appetite kicks in. So what do you do in this instance? Do you listen to your body and not eat? Or do you eat despite not feeling hungry?

I am a firm believer in listening to your body. I believe you shouldn’t eat when you are not hungry—even if the clock says it is lunch or dinner time and you shouldn’t eat just because food is there.

However, with that said, I do believe one should always eat post-workout, even if it is something small.

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There have been many times when I have not felt hungry after a hard workout, track session, or race. I don’t know what changes in the body when you push yourself, but my appetite is definitely different. I specifically remember not feeling hungry after the Boston Marathon. I had no desire for the food they were handing out, but I knew I felt weak because I needed calories, so I choked down a bun and some Gatorade. I still didn’t feel hungry that night, but those next few days I was hungry all the time. Eventually my appetite always catches up with me.

I find that liquids go down more easily than solid foods, so when I’m not wanting much of anything, I will often resort to these types of food:

– Smoothie

– Protein beverage

– Simple carbohydrates and plain breads

– Cold cereal with milk

– Fruit

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Moral of the story, I think it is very important to eat post-run, even if you are not very hungry. I would at least try to eat 200-300 calories. Your metabolism will probably catch up with you eventually. Often when I do a long run on Saturday, I am not very hungry the rest of the day but come Sunday, I can’t find enough food to satisfy my appetite.

Some times I don’t start out being hungry, but after having a small amount to eat, my body wakes-up and realizes I am done with the hard workout and my body needs to start recovering. Let’s take my Saturday’s long run for an example.

I pushed myself pretty hard on Saturday’s run, so when I got back, I was not very hungry. I was thirsty, so I immediately drank some water and added a Nuun electrolyte tablet to another water bottle.

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After 30 minutes I still wasn’t hungry, but I knew I needed something, so I had the rest of this PowerBar energy food. I guess it is designed to be eaten pre-workout and during your workout, but I wanted something liquidy and kind of plain. I’ve found that when I am not in the mood to eat much of anything, it is easier to get liquids down than solid food.

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Then within 20 minutes, I think my body realized I was done working out and in need of food because I started to get hungry. I started out with this Peanut Honey Pretzel Luna bar. I really really like Luna Bars. I grew tired of Clif bars, so changed over to Luna Bars. This sounded good probably because of the salt-factor, and plus I wanted something with some protein in it. DSC_0023

I spent some time foam rolling and stretching, and it wasn’t too long until I was hungry again. More carbs and protein: buttered Sweet Potato Sage Bread plus a hard boiled egg. (See the snow we got last Saturday?)DSC_0025

After an ice bath, which was over an hour after I had gotten back now, I made myself some tea (to warm up after the ice bath!) and some trail mix. I love this trail mix and have it almost ever day: Cheerios + walnuts + raisins + dried cranberries.

I figure by the time it was all said and done I had consumed 550 – 600 calories, which is usually what I seem to eat after finishing a run.

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So in this example, even though I wasn’t hungry, the little PowerBar pureed fruit jump-started my metabolism and within no time, my body was getting hungry like it should.

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Questions

Have you experienced a lack of appetite after a hard workout?

What do you eat post-run?

11 Comments
    1. I don’t often feel like eating after long runs. I will usually drink some calories afterwards to get something inside, either a smoothie or chocolate milk. I’m always hungriest a day or so after a long run or long race, so my body catches up with asking for calories. It knows what I need. Even right now when I’m on an antibiotic, I’ve been craving yogurt like crazy. My gut knows it needs a pro-biotic boost. Weird, huh?

    1. I almost always have no appetite after a run, I’m often very nauseous. This was a very helpful post, nice to see your perspective. And if I do eat after a run, sometimes I wait a while and sometimes I eat right away, I’ll have some peanut butter toast (my absolute fav!) or some Greek yogurt with berries and/or granola. I also pound the water, and after drinking a fair amount of water I’ll have some iced tea or chocolate milk. Iced tea has been my favorite lately, I’m thirsty after runs, of course, however sometimes water doesn’t sound good. Weird, but true.

    1. I’ve definitely had appetite loss after a workout and also believe in listening to your body and not forcing down a ton of food if you’re not feeling it. I like the idea of having a drink with a bit of calories in it to kickstart you back to eating, and then usually I’ll make a bagel or something small. After running a long race (i.e. the 10 miler I did a couple weeks ago) I’ll usually grab a soft pretzel if they are offering them at the finish. Appetite or no, I can’t resist a Philly pretzel. 😉

    1. I wear Waveriders too! I’ve worn them since I started cross-country in high school, and I’ve been through about 5 generations. I was really torn on which color to get, and I ended up going with the red/pink and green shoe. I think they’re so cool, but the ones you have are also really pretty. It’s nice when your favorite shoe comes in so many awesome colors!

    1. pretty much all i can eat after a hard workout is fruit. so sometimes when i’m leaving and need to eat, a smoothie is about all i can handle. good deal on those shoes!

    1. What food did they end up handing out at the end of the Boston Marathon? I don’t think I ever found out.

      1. Gosh, I don’t even know if I remember. All I remember is forcing one of those Hawaiian buns down because nothing else sounded good. (The buns they also had at the free spaghetti dinner that was a bust.) But after eating that, I will always think of Boston when I see them again and don’t know if I can eat them anymore because it did not taste good at the time. The only other thing I remember is Gatorade. Obviously it wasn’t that great.

    1. Definitely agree. Just competed in the Nordic ski marathon yesterday (42 kilometers). I had almost no appetite post race, and missed lunch because that timeframe occurred while I was competing. Now it is the next morning and I am ravenously hungry. Breakfast so far is four eggs, an English muffin, and I am now consuming my second bowl of cereal. Googled the post hunger marathon idea to see how common this is. Finally, hello from your home state of Minnesota. The temperature at the start of yesterday’s race was -5F, colder than Ankorage!

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