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 

 

New Year’s Resolutions Light: Start 2019 with Joy

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Year after year… The year 2018 is about to end, 2019 is awaiting and everyone is shooting for the moon. People have their resolutions – fair enough. However, lots of them are unrealistic and almost impossible to achieve, which, eventually, only leads to frustration and despair. We therefore plead for less resolutions and more fun! We would here like to provide you with a couple of tips, which should spice up and facilitate your running routines without major effort. This should help you to switch focus to what you have achieved and to preserving it, instead of pursuing unrealistic goals. It is only as soon as you have managed this that you can go on to setting up new resolutions.

Run for fun

Due to all the planning, all our goals and stressful everyday lives, it is easy to forget why we run: for pleasure (at least, that’s what we hope)! Before training, try to consciously reflect on your personal motivation for running.

  • Is it moving out in nature and in the fresh air? Then enjoy it! Consciously breathe the air in and out, take in the surroundings in which you move and let the good feeling spread in your body.
  • Is it the tuning out of the stress in everyday life? When this everyday stress is especially present, we sometimes have trouble to switch it off. BUT: This is exactly when we need it the most! The time spent on running will be gone anyways, so, what’s the use in being concerned about time running away? Instead, try to consciously draw a line when tying your shoes and to tell yourself “this is a treat for myself”. We are convinced that, after this personal timeout, all the other stuff will be a bit easier, too.
  • Is it, after all, mostly knowing that it gets you closer to your goals? Then try to formulate that in a positive way: instead of always thinking where you want to go, you should also pat yourself on the back from time to time and look at how far you’ve come already.
  • Is it for other reasons? No matter what they are: keep reminding yourself of your personal motivation and formulate it positively, so that, even in 2018, you can say with conviction: I’ll keep on running!

Recovery

Even longer, even faster, even further… Runners have numerous goals. However, we often forget that progress only comes with recovery. We therefore encourage you to invest enough time in it. The following tips should help you with this:

Stretching

Yes, it is sometimes annoying if you have to take your time for stretching after training. I mean, really, you should do this and that, too. However, try to take your time for stretching 1-2x a week. It helps you to relax your muscles, to stay flexible and to recover more quickly. In our online running.COACH training plan, ideas for stretching exercises are displayed automatically. Here are two ideas, which may make it a bit easier for you:

  • Multitasking: You are desperate to check your Facebook and your Intagram, too? There is a journal article you have been wanting to read for a long time? One thing does not necessary exclude the other! There are a lot of stretching exercises which can be executed while reading or writing. Here you can find an example of such efficient stretching.
  • Music: You think it’s boring to just do stretching? Well then, spice it up with music! Compile your own playlist or listen to radio. Watching TV works, too, of course. For the jokers amongst you, we here have a refreshing example of a musical backdrop. (ATTENTION: For stretching after training, we normally recommend to keep the position for 20-30 seconds. More serious stretching tips can be found directly in our training plan.)

Blackroll

Another evergreen is the blackroll (or foam roller). It is used in order to massage and to unblock your muscular fascia. This can cause quite some pain at the beginning. However, you get used to the pain from time to time. In this video you can see how to use it the best way. Here, too, it might all become a lot more endurable with accompanying music or some other kind of entertainment. You don’t need to use it everyday! But aside from the 1-2x stretching, there would theoretically be around 1-2x a week left for the foam roller, wouldn’t there…? And if you fail to get used to the pain anyhow, then treat yourself with a massage from time to time. Pain gets more endurable if you don’t have to inflict it onto your body yourself.

Bath

Your muscles will thank you for it! Especially in winter, it can be nice to treat yourself with a warm bath after training, in order to get warm again. Okay, if you already have to cover stretching AND foam rolling, there is really no time for a bath. We understand that, of course. BUT: Just see it as a reward, which you give to yourself from time to time. For example, after an especially tough or an especially long session. You decide for yourself, how often this should be!

Running food

Running makes you hungry. Therefore, it is important that we always keep our energy storage well filled. What does well mean? For us, this means with wholesome, healthy and delicious food. However, in our everyday lives, it can be a challenge to find the time for coming up with new recipes all the time. We therefore recommend you the following:

  • Make a plan for the week! On the weekend, think about what you would like to eat the upcoming week. You don’t have to plan for each day, since this might possibly stress you too much. Pick the days on which you have the most time and plan certain running menus for those specific days. If you already know what you will be cooking later in the week, you can consider that in your shopping at the start of the week. These specific days for running food do not provide you with running food menus for a whole week, however, it should make it easier for you to get your own ideas. You could, for example, simply swap certain ingredients in a recipe with different ones and thereby create something new in no time.

You can find some ideas for recipes here:

Runner’s breakfast

Runner’s lunch

Runner’s dinner

Last but not least…

… stop comparing yourself to others! Your best friend runs at a lower average pace than you do? Your younger brother has started running later than you have, and still, he can already keep up with you? SO WHAT? There are always people who are faster than yourself. Except, maybe, if your name is Usain Bolt or Mo Farah. We can get inspired by those people, but we should not let ourselves get too wound up by it. Do you belong to the people who tend to start cursing themselves if someone runs past them? Then let us tell you: DON’T! Be proud of what you have achieved and focus on your own progress!

And now, we wish you the best possible start to 2019 and a Happy New Year! And don’t forget: Keep on running!

 

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!

Regeneration: do we really need recovery shakes?

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Different sports may require different qualities, be it strength, speed or endurance. However, one thing is the same for all of them: the need to refuel the body with the right nutrients at the right time after exercise in order to provide it with the preconditions for an optimal regeneration process.

In this article, sports and nutrition scientist Joëlle Flück explains which measures can be taken in order to recover from trainings or competitions as fast as possible.

Proteins

Proteins are the most important nutrients for our muscles. Consequently, sufficient supply of protein is crucial in the muscle building phase. However, also for regeneration after high intensity training or competitions, as well as for the healing of injuries, adequate supply of proteins is a necessity in order for our body to heal the damage that has been done to our muscles and to prepare itself for future stress. According to sports science literature, the estimates for the total daily need of protein are 1.2 to 2.0 g per kg of body weight per day. The protein sources taken in during the day should be of hight quality. Some of these protein sources are contained in dairy products, meat, soy products or eggs. Less explored up to this point are plant-based sources of protein. In order to support muscle protein synthesis optimally, to accelerate the regeneration of the muscles and to make our body adapt to the new stress, amounts of 15 to 25 g of protein within the first two hours after an intense training (e.g. strength training, intervals, etc.) or a competition are ideal. The current tendency is that dairy products should be preferred over other protein sources.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, as well as fatty acids, can be considered to be the fuel for our performances. If our storage (especially the carbohydrate storage) is not sufficiently filled before training or competitions, wer are not able to perform at our very best. Maximal and sub-maximal endurance performances are especially dependent on our carbohydrate storage (glycogen storage). After very long-lasting or very intense sessions, this storage is usually empty. Therefore, for optimal regeneration, carbohydrates are necessary to refill the storage and to prepare the body for the following challenges. However, the amount of carbohydrates needed for refilling the storages depends on the nature, the duration and the intensity of a session.

Liquid and salt

Depending on the kind of training and on the surroundings in which it takes place, our body loses more or less liquid and salt. In case it is not possible to take in enough liquid during a session or a competition, the result is a fluid deficiency, which needs to be solved afterwards, in order to keep your body balanced. You can calculate the extent of this deficiency here. In order to accelerate the regeneration process, it is important to solve this deficiency as soon as possible and to drink enough water after the session.

Point of time

Regeneration measures kan be taken immediately after training or competitions. Most of the times it is easier to take in the required nutrients via fluid rather than solid food. Especially during intense or long-lasting sessions, your gastrointestinal tract is impaired and it is recommendable to wait a moment before you eat solid food. Nevertheless, it is advisable to take in both nutrients and fluid within the first one to two hours after excercise. This applies especially if high muscle protein synthesis or fast regeneration (after competitions or high-intensity sessions) are of primary concern. However, if you only train 3-4 times a week, the time between the individual sessions is usually long enough for your carbohydrate storage to be refilled appropriately.

Food

You may ask yourself now what kind of food is adequate for a fast and smooth regeneration process. Possibilities are manifold, depending on individual needs and preferences. A simple chocolate milk works just as well as an industrually produced recovery drink. Both provide you with the proteins, carbohydrates and fluid needed in orderd to accelerate the regeneration process. However, if you don’t have any problems with your gastrointestinal tract after sessions and if your appetite is big enough, you can also start with solid food right away and complement that with sufficient amounts of fluid. A sandwich with cheese or dried meat, for example, is an excellent regeneration measure.

In conclusion, it can be mentioned that, depending on nature and goal of a training, some people might feel that a recovery drink is necessary, but that this does not apply equally for everybody. In case you prefer to go for a recovery drink, individual limitations (e.g. problems with the gastrointestinal tract, lacking appetite, allergies and intolerancies) or preferences (e.g. taste, fluid or thick) should be taken into account.

 

 

This blog entry was written by sports and nutrition scientist Dr. sc. nat. Joëlle Flück. She works at the sports medical centre in Nottwil and supports athletes of all levels in sports and nutrition. In addition, she also conducts herself studies in sports nutrition  and she is the vice president of the Swiss Sports Nutrition Society. Being a fromer middle distance runner, she has won inumerous medals in Swiss championships. Today, Joëlle focuses on longer distances. 

 

www.sport-medizin.ch

www.ssns.ch

The last two weeks before a competition

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Are you waiting for an upcoming competition? Anticipation is growing, but also a slight nervousness? Now, it’s important to keep your inner calm – and to focus on a couple of points, in order to be able to perform at the very best of your abilities on day X and to show how well you have been preparing.

Your final preparations start at least two weeks before the competition. Not only your body, but also your mind should be prepared for the big day, so that nothing will be left to chance on the day of the competition.

The last two weeks before the competition

No «making up for missed training»

Generally, shortly before a race, you cannot make up for sessions you’ve missed anymore. So close to the competition, very long or very intense sessions are to be avoided. You have done your work, rely on that! However, you might want to do some ascending runs at the end of sessions, as they keep your muscles ready to compete. Just follow the training plan.

Tapering

An ideal tapering means reducing your training amount the weeks before a competition. However, that does not mean that you only relax (Taper Week vs. Recovery Week). You should still be training, but only short sessions.

Material check

Your material (running shoes, clothes, hydration pack, etc.) should be tested and, if required, whipped into shape now at the latest. You should be familiar and feel comfortable with the material you use at the competition on day X. Don’t pack your gear the morning of the competition, but do that the day before. You might even want to compile a little check list, to make sure not to forget anything: running shoes, spare pair of running shoes, socks, tights/shorts, shirt, watch, refreshments, hat etc.

Planning: Arrival and course

Plan your competition in advance: journey there, key points of the course, refreshment stations, placing friends and family as spectators/supporters along the course etc. Engage actively with the course and go through the competition in your mind beforehand – with a successful finish, of course. You can even listen to a motivating song, which you then listen to again at the day of competition, in order to get into the right mood.

Nutrition

Eat balanced and include enough carbohydrates (whole grain pasta, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes etc.) in your menu. The last three days before the competition are especially important. But be careful: there is a risk for «too much ». You can find some recipes here. And don’t forget to drink enough water.

It doesn’t always have to be pasta. An ideal alternative are, for example, sweet potatoes. Cut them in small cubes and mix them as a curry with a little bit of ginger, served on couscous, topped with sprouts.

Recovery

Aside from training, many people are very busy: work, family and friends, as well as a lot of leisure time activities. As a result, they often miss out on getting enough sleep and recovery, both of which are important pieces of the puzzle. Thus, it is to be recommended that you slow down a bit and go to sleep early two weeks before an important competition. You might even have time for a power nap at lunchtime. Or a massage, provided you don’t have it all too shortly before the competition.

Keep calm

No matter if you have a slight pain somewhere in your body, if you have had a bad night’s sleep, or if you have started doubting; don’t let yourself be thrown off the track. You only waste your energy. Focus on something positive, like a special training session, or try to focus on your excitement about the upcoming competition.

How do you get yourself into the right competition mood? Please leave a comment. 

Running Inspiration: Starting January energetically

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Most resolutions are abandoned after a while. This is why we want to give you some inspiration for the beginning of the year. We would like to present you our 10 tips to help you getting some energy for the new running year and which should improve your performance level and increase your joy of running. Because: running training involves a lot more than «just» running.

Flexibility 

It does not always look very elegant when runners stretch. Their muscles (thighs, bum) are often shortened and stretching becomes a struggle, which is why it is often avoided. Of course, this is not the right solution and it surely does not improve your flexibility.

Plan at least one fixed short stretching session after running (stretching and running) per week or do yoga regularly. You can even find inputs for stretching positions directly in our plan.

Strength training 

Of course, no runner wants to be blown up like a body builder, but strength, especially with one’s own body weight, does not do any harm. On the contrary: a stable posture reduces the risk of injury and can even make you faster.

One or two short strength sessions a week would be ideal and they can be done before or after training. You can find inputs for strength exercises directly in our plan.

Drills and ascending runs 

Even runners can work on their technique: there are countless running drills exercises, which can be done following a training. 3×3: three excercises repeated three times will do. You can finish off with three to five ascending runs (also referred to as coordination runs or hill sprints), meaning that you run a short distance (about 80-100m) either at a steadily increasing speed or at a generally higher speed, focusing escpescially on the running technique. Inputs for running drills can also be found directly in our plan.

Fascia training 

This needs some self conquest, as it is not particularly comfortable. But : Do regularly use a foam roll after training, in order to unblock the fasciae that stick together when running and in ordet to loosen your leg muscles. This will result in better performance in the end (loose legs – better performance).

Intervals 

If you want to become faster, you need to leave your comfort zone and vary the pace. Regular weekly interval trainings help to improve the speed. Bring some variation into your intervals: a training partner who runs at about the same speed can be very motivating. Intervals uphill set an additional strength stimulus, but you can also simply vary your step frequency.

Alternative Sports 

Have the courage to replace one running session a week by an alternative sport. This brings variation into your training and it sets new stimuli. For each sport our training plan offers a recommendation of how long a session should be.

Running pictures 

Capture your running moments in pictures from time to time. This will recall nice memories later on and it will show you what running actually makes possible.

Nutrition

Treat yourself with the suitable running food before and after training and don’t forget to drink enough. We will be providing you with specific inputs and recipes on this blog soon.

Contrast showering 

A simple recovery measure are contrast showers: shower your leg or even your whole body with cold and hot water alternately. This activates the blood circulation, thus recovery and the immune system. And remember: singing distracts you from the cold water.

Plan breaks and recovery 

Always remember that recovery is a part of your training just like running. Always take your time for recovery: For example, lie down for a while after a session, close your eyes and just free your mind. Include recovery measures in your training routines consciously (sauna visits, massages, specific nutrition etc.).

Don’t forget: Keep on running. We wish you a lot of interesting and beautiful running moments over the next months.