Nutrition After Training

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Optimum performance can only be achieved when a runner recovers sufficiently after training. Carbohydrates, protein and fluid play an important role in this.

What the petrol tank is to the car, the carbohydrates are to the muscles, which are stored in the muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. Intensive and/or long training drains these energy reserves in the muscles and liver. Anyone who trains loosely for up to five hours a week therefore does not need to worry too much about nutrition after training, as long as they eat a balanced diet.

 

Carbohydrates are important for the immune system

The situation is different for runners who train more than five hours a week and some of which are high intensity. In order to regain performance, it is important to replenish the carbohydrate stores after training, preferably with starch supplements such as rice, pasta, potatoes or muesli. Exercise causes a slight stress and inflammatory reaction in the body. Carbohydrates counteract this. They are also important for the immune system.

 

Protein for the muscles

The first meal after training should contain not only carbohydrates but also protein. If the protein intake in the diet is insufficient, both the repair processes and the muscle building suffer. This can last up to 24 hours after training.

It is therefore not enough to supply the body with protein only immediately after training. Rather, it is important that each meal contains 20 to 25 grams of protein – whereby not all proteins are the same. This is because animal proteins (in fish, eggs, meat or dairy products) are generally more digestible by the body and therefore of higher quality than vegetable proteins.

 

Good vegetarian combinations

If you want to cover your protein requirements purely from plants, you must consume 30 to 40 grams of protein per meal to achieve the same value of 20 to 25 grams of animal protein. It is best to combine different vegetable foods with each other to increase their value, for example soy with rice and lentils or potatoes with beans and nuts. Such combinations offer a greater variety of “essential amino acids”, i.e. the protein building blocks that the body cannot produce itself, but which are essential for the muscle.

 

Triple good – the milk shake

If you don’t have a proper meal immediately after running, you can take protein and carbohydrates with a banana milkshake or chocolate milk, for example. Such drinks also help to compensate for the loss of fluid through sweating.

Fluid replacement is the third important point that runners should consider after training. An additional requirement of five to eight deciliter per hour of training is expected. Exactly how much fluid is needed varies greatly from individual to individual. The easiest thing to do is to pay attention to your urine: if the fluid intake is correct, it is about the color of white wine.

With sweat, the body loses not only fluid but also salt. A salty snack or a salty meal makes up for this.

 

Tips when overweight or underweight

Anyone who trains to lose weight must be careful not to treat himself to more than necessary after training as a reward. A simple rule of thumb is to fill 1/4 of your plate with carbohydrates, 1/4 with the protein component and the remaining half with vegetables and/or salad. In order not to consume additional calories, it makes sense to complete the workout shortly before the daily main meal and to avoid a regeneration snack.

Runners who tend to be underweight are best advised to increase the proportion of carbohydrates and reduce that of vegetables. Some olive or rapeseed oil and a few nuts can provide additional calories.

 

Tips

  • Snacks immediately after training: fruit smoothie with yoghurt/curd cheese, chocolate milk, muesli, sandwich with dried meat or cheese, cereal bar, bread with nutmeg.
  • Runners who follow a vegan diet should seek nutritional advice to prevent long-term deficiencies of certain food components.
  • Magnesium rarely helps against muscle cramps. It is more important to compensate for the loss of fluids and salt during training and not to overload the muscle too much.
  • Food supplements are usually unnecessary if the basic diet is correct. Pay attention to a balanced diet.
  • Sports drinks are not necessary for low training volumes and during weight reduction.
  • Alcohol can directly and indirectly reduce performance. It has a draining effect, influences the quality of sleep and thus hinders regeneration.

 

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Season break for runners. When does a running break make sense?

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Have you successfully completed the competition season? You’ve probably trained countless hours to reach your goal. You have challenged your body a lot. Now is the time to give something back.

Best drinks and foods for after your running (competition)

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The training or the competition is done, everything went according to plan. Unfortunately, the plan often ends here. A correct and timely replenishing of the energy reserves is at the core of an optimal recovery. So, when and what should you eat?

We asked Sarina Jenzer, an active top Swiss orienteer and nutritionist in training, for advice. In addition, the internationally successful Swiss marathon runner and running.COACH ambassador Viktor Röthlin told us what snacks he used to swear by after training and competitions.

Stay hydrated!

According to Sarina, after training and competitions, the compensation of the fluid deficit caused by the physical activity is her first priority. Thus, as a first step, drink to rehydrate the dehydrated body (rehydration). As long as you are thirsty, you can keep drinking. Water is best suited for this.

When should I eat what?

In general, there is a difference between higher and lower exercise loads. The more your body has to work, the greater its energy deficit and the more important it is to replenish your energy reserves on time. Right after particularly intensive or long training sessions you should eat something as quickly as possible. After a relaxed and short workout, this is less pressing. But watch out! It always depends on the total scope of the training. During training phases with generally high intensity or big training scopes, you should also pay attention to a quick supply of energy in addition to your fluid intake, even during short and rather easy sessions.

After an easy training session

After an easier workout (low intensity or length) with a smaller scope (time until the next workout equals more than 24h), hydration in the form of water is usually sufficient directly after the workout. Eating is not absolutely necessary if a larger meal is eaten within one hour after the end of the workout.

After a demanding training or competition

When eating after a hard workout, after a competition or during high training volumes (next workout on the same day or less than 24 hours later): the faster the better. In concrete terms, this means that within 15-20 minutes after training, food should be consumed in addition to liquid so that the recovery before the next session is optimal. But what is best suited as a regeneration snack?

Ideal recovery snacks

According to Sarina Jenzer, the optimal recovery snack contains both carbohydrates (20-50g) and protein (15-20g). The carbohydrates ensure that our glycogen stores are replenished, while protein helps to set muscle regeneration in motion as quickly as possible. Viktor Röthlin used to solve this problem by taking carbohydrates in the form of an energy gel in addition to water immediately after an interval workout or competition and then meet the need for protein with a protein bar after the cool down. Today, there is an almost infinite selection of products to support the regeneration phase. The most common are recovery drinks or bars. On the one hand, there are products that contain both carbohydrates and protein, and on the other hand, there are products covering only the protein requirement. With the latter, you should make sure to eat something that contains carbohydrates in addition, says Sarina.

As an alternative to these ready-made products, commercial foods can of course also be used as wonderful recovery snacks in the right combination! Sarina suggests the following options as examples:

1) Chocolate milk

2) Banana with quark (curd cheese)

3) Muesli with yoghurt

4) Sandwich with cheese or ham

We hope these tips will help you and we wish you a good workout with optimal regeneration! 😉

 

Sarina Jenzer (28) is a member of the Swiss national orienteering team and has already celebrated several successes at European and World Championships. She lives in Bern and studies nutrition and dietetics at the Bern University of Applied Sciences with the goal of becoming a certified nutritionist.

 

 

 

Article by: Marion Aebi

Translated to English by: Denise Kaufmann 

 

The training weeks right after the marathon / main race

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The last weeks and months have been intense. The preparation for the competition took a lot of energy and time. Now the strains of the preparation are over as well as the sweat of your main competition has dried up. Your focus for the next days and weeks should now be on recovery which is just as important as the training itself. This blog post will guide you through an optimal recovery process and give you tips on how to motivate yourself anew.

Running competitions are a heavy burden on the body. Especially when it comes to longer distances such as an ultra-run, a marathon or a half marathon. During the competition you take up a debt on your own body, which you should pay back in the following days and weeks through various recovery measures. Otherwise, you run the risk of making a good return to training impossible.

What to do now?

Immediate actions on competition day:

recovery after marathon

  • Put on dry clothes as soon as possible to prevent your body from cooling down too quickly.
  • Try to restore your body’s fluid and energy balance as quickly as possible. Avoid alcohol, however, at least for the first few hours.
  • Don’t expose yourself to the sun unnecessarily.
  • Cooldown: Ideally, you should do a short cooldown to “cool down” your body slowly: a loose jogging or an alternative form of training such as cycling. Especially after a long competition, this might not always be your favourite activity. Still, concentrate at least on the points above.
  • An alternating hot/cold shower can also boost your blood circulation and promote recovery.
  • At many competitions, there is the possibility for a massage in the finish area. A feel-good massage, possibly with lymph drainage, stimulates recovery as well.
  • Later in the day, a little stretching can be beneficial.
  • Avoid intensive wellness and sauna directly after the competition.

Medium-term actions – the days after the competition:

after marathon recovery

  • Do not do any training in the first day after your main competition.
    Instead, work with regenerative measures.
  • A longer massage with a masseur or physiotherapist can be a good way to boost your recovery and relaxation.
  • Further, water in all its forms is a blessing and especially promotes recovery:
    • Sauna visits are beneficial indeed. They stimulate blood circulation
      and generally help to promote recovery.
    • A spa visit with a bubble bath pool or salt water is always fun.
    • Swimming or bathing in a lake (or even better in the sea) is a great away to boost relaxation.
  • Often, the most painful time is on the second day after the competition due to sore muscles. Rest assured, this is quite normal.
  • In addition to the points mentioned above, mental recovery is also important. Just do what you feel like doing without having to think about your next workout too much: How about dinner with friends soon?

Long-term actions:

  • Even now, a few days into the recovery process, it’s good to keep your blood circulation going (of course at a moderate level). If you feel fit again after a few days of recovery, you can initiate more active regeneration measures. This includes extensive movement in the water, loose spinning, walks, hikes (mainly uphill), etc.
  • However, see that you do not plan these trainings in advance. Instead, decide spontaneously whether you feel like it and have the energy to do it. It is extremely important to listen to your body during this phase. Note that planned trainings are more difficult to adjust than spontaneous decisions made on your desire and energy to move in a particular moment.
  • How about trying out something new? Yoga – for example – promotes flexibility and helps to eliminate imbalances, thus preventing injuries.
  • During the recovery phases, running.COACH will not plan any trainings for you for a certain period of time, exactly for the reason mentioned above. In principle, it is not forbidden to move. However, you should definitely listen to your body and take a break in case of tiredness or slight pain rather than taking any unnecessary risks.

My competition didn’t go the way I imagined it would. What can I change in the future?

  • We recommend bringing variation into your training routine by altering the number of workouts. This can be permanent or by consciously planning one week with one unit more and another week with one unit less. Example: 5 instead of 4 and then 3 instead of 4 units. You can drag and drop the units to other weeks in the calendar view, for example, or add units manually.
  • Make sure you can meet the guidelines of running.COACH. It is particularly important that you are able to perform the long jogs and the intensive runs (intervals, threshold runs) as often as possible every week. In case of a diary clash, it makes sense to postpone these key sessions to another day and to skip an endurance run or regeneration run instead.
  • Make sure to get enough rest during the training phase as well.
  • Consciously incorporate regenerative activities.
  • Set yourself new goals – These would ideally include goals you can tackle together with your friends!

Compression socks – colourful, magic socks?

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Green, yellow, pink or blue: today, compression socks or stockings are available in almost every colour. However, their positive effect on performance is disputed. How much is real and how much is placebo?

Good for recovery

Although results in scientific studies are varied, one relatively clear common conclusion can be drawn from them: compression socks enhance recovery. Through the positive effect on blood-transporting vessels, they improve blood circulation, increase oxygen supply of the musculature and they improve venous backflow. This effect can be felt as long as you are moving, standing or sitting. As soon as you lie down, the principle doesn’t work anymore. Thus, compression socks can as well be taken off for sleeping. Furthermore, whole socks are more efficient than cuffs. However, probably, none of them makes you faster. Nevertheless, they have other positive effects, making you a popular sparring partner.

Higher running comfort

Compression socks can support tendons and ligaments similarly to the way bandages or tapes do. Also, they help preventing muscle vibrations, which can be obstructive for performance under certain circumstances. Light legs over inumerous kilometers may be the result.

Everbody can wear compression socks, as long as they feel comfortable. The only exception are people with progressed peripheral vascular disease or decompensated cardiac insufficiency.

This is a contribution by Dr. Rer. Nat Michael Schwarz. He works as a sports scientist and performance diagnostician at the Medbase sports medical centre in Zürich. This specialised centre for sports medicine coaches both team and individual athletes and offers a broad spectrum of performance tests, ranging from sports medical check-ups to sports specific physiotherapy and rehab.

 

Rest and Recovery is also Training

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The training year has already progressed quite far. Major competitions were completed or are imminent in the upcoming weeks. As training intensifies and competitions become more frequent, the total strain on the body increases. Therefore, recovery from a workout or race is an important factor in your training.

When planning your training, dont just discuss the proper training load, plan the recovery. This regeneration or recovery is typically forgotten, yet it is an important factor in performance improvement.

Significant time should be devoted to rest and recovery after the stress of competition.

Photo Caption: Significant time should be devoted to rest and recovery after the stress of competition.

A well planned training schedule causes the body to be in a constant state of dismantling and rebuilding. The cells involved in the development of broken down muscles and organs are stimulated by hormonal regulation to aid in the reconstruction. Through training, there must be a balance between catabolic (degradative) and anabolic (building) processes, because its only during the recovery anabolic phase where adaptations such as the development of muscle mass and the strengthening of tendons and ligaments is set in motion.Yet, it is important to note that not all adjustment processes take the same amount of time. It is also important that the next training session not be set too early, when these adjustment processes are not yet completed. The result of too early or too intense of a training session is an overtaxing of the body, whereby instead of a performance improvement there can be a stagnation or even a decrease in performance. These same negative results can also surface when the interval between two tougher workouts is too long. So, a good balance must be found – listen to your body – it will typically tell you.

Effects of recovery time on performance

When we workout, our body is stressed and we exhaust our glycogen stores. Thus, our performance is effectively reduced. After we complete the training, the regeneration phase begins and our bodies recover and build themselves back slightly above the initial level. This process is called super compensation, and, in theory, our performance has now improved. This break it down, build it back up process is such that performance improvement is continuously increasing. However, if the next training stimulus is too early or too late, no improvement will be seen, or worse yet, a performance downgrade may be seen.

How long the recovery phase for each individual will take is very personal and depends on various factors such as the intensity level of the workout, the individuals level of fitness, age, recovery ability and a number of other factors. Again, what your body is telling you will be the best source of advice for you!

The table below shows approximate times until complete regeneration for some of the adaptation processes. This means that during this recovery phase no new training of the same stimuli should occur. However, this does not mean that training stimuli in another area is not possible. For example, after a super hard day of running intervals, a long easy bike ride or swim might be just what the doctor ordered.

When to do the next training and what to do depends both on the rapid recovery capability, and the training stimulus. Complex planning for optimal performance development is not always easy, but running.COACH takes this task and handles it for you. running.COACH not only prescribes the correct intensity and duration of the workouts, but the right timing and correct order of workouts is also set for you. The correct recovery time is almost guaranteed, but if youre feeling too tired, you can adjust the training schedule manually.

This blog was created by Beat Zimmermann, PE teacher and on the sports science staff of the Sports Medicine Center Bern-Ittigen.

 

 

 

Avoid overtraining

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Running is good for body, mind and soul. But too much running (as is often the case with just about everything else in life) is not. The right balance of running, active rest (or cross training) and recovery is crucial to effective and efficient training. You must pay attention and adjust your training accordingly when factors such as family, job, sleep, illness and diet affect your ability to exercise.

Training + Recovery = Increased Efficiency

Training is one very important component to becoming a more efficient runner. Yet, optimal performance occurs only when the training stimuli is balanced with a solid recovery plan. Each workout leads to fatigue and a dwindling of the energy sources. After the workout, it is imperative that an athlete replenish those energy sources and recuperate to receive the full benefit of that workout. By continually breaking down the body with workouts and then recovering from those workouts you experience an ‘overcompensation’phase and you’ll see a boost in performance. On the other hand, training too soon without adequate recovery can lead to overtraining which can manifest itself in fatigue, performance degradation, increased heart rate and a weakened immune system.

Sufficient recovery leads to over-compensation and an improvement in performance.
Sufficient recovery leads to over-compensation and an improvement in performance.

 

Training Balance

The right balance between the intensity and the duration of the sessions should be monitored. Typically, a rest or recovery day follows an intense run day. This easy day can include very light running, or, better yet, an alternative activity like swimming, biking or nordic skiing. Also, the long run day should be well planned and worked around. If a training session must be moved, other training during the week may need to be modified or skipped. Your running.COACH training plan will adapt to external circumstances.

Don’t try to fit everything in if it’s just not going to work. To avoid overtraining, it’s best to err on the side of caution. With that said, your running.COACH plan has been laid out to maximize the training effect, so try your best to stick to the plan.

Your running.COACH plan, which is tailored to the days you can train, ensures the correct sequence of training stimuli.
Your running.COACH plan, which is tailored to the days you can train, ensures the correct sequence of training stimuli.

 

Nutrition and Body Signals

Your diet plays a significant role in your ability to handle the training stimuli. Your everyday food choices play a large role in your overall performance. The food you eat before, during and after your workout help with both today’s as well as tomorrow’s workout. As important as anything else, keep the fun in your training and listen to your body’s signals constantly. If you’re feeling tired and worn out, it’ll be counterproductive to do a hard workout. Your body’s signals or feelings should overrule ‘what’s today’s workout’in your calendar. This way, you’ll reduce the risk of overtraining, and in the long term, get more joy from your running.

Lots of success and fun with your training!

This blog was written by Ingalena Heuck, sports scientist and German Champion (2010) in the half-marathon.