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Running Blog Q&A: 10 Ways to recover/refuel/re-hydrate during summer training.

A FAST running acquaintance of mine messaged me today requesting some tips on recovering, rehydrating and refueling after hard sessions. I was very flattered by this, and though I am not a nutrition expert, I think I had some decent advice to pass on. Below is the Q&A. Thanks again!

The Question:

I noticed that you were training for marathons and I just had a question about recovery and nutrition. As I start to add miles to my long run and keep up a speed workout and maybe a tempo per week I just do not recover well right now.I don't know if it is a nutrition and fueling issue, but I suspect it has something to do with it. Do you have any advice about what to have after harder workouts and after and during longer runs? I would value any advice you have on the topic. I am also not a small runner (5'8, 140) and so I do have to be careful about what I eat somewhat...I have to start really adding miles but this slow recovery process each week is really holding me back (forcing me to cut runs short sometimes and taking extra, annoying rest days). I take a day off right now, but sometimes have to take 2 days off due to soreness. Frustrating!

Thanks so much! I appreciate any advice!!

My Answers:

I have had a major problem with fluids and the nutrition part in the past. This year, I am doing a few things differently and I think they are really helping me....

1.) I do my recovery mileage a lot slower than I used to and cut down to one workout and one long run a week if I am having trouble. My long runs are at a pretty fast pace though...I don't crawl. I don't run twice a day and just focus on one quality run. But your goals may be different then mine.

2.) I don't try to empty the tank during workouts like I used to. This is hard for me because I have a 100% or nothing attitude when it comes to workouts. I have been a lot more careful.

3.) I take saltstick (you can buy it on amazon) as a supplement and during a long run or race. I take one about every 30 minutes with water or gatorade. There are other brands, too.

4.) I take a powerbar gel every 4-6 miles. During a 20 miler I will take up to four.

5.) We take water and gatorade every 3 miles during our long runs. The group I run with sets it out. If I don't run with them, I will have 3-4 places that I will stop and take a gel and my salt...

6.) I have major cramping issues usually...and my legs start to feel heavy so I have been taking iron since having Maddy last year, I will take it for 3 weeks then take a week off. I also take B complex and B-12 everyday. I find this helps a lot. I don't recommend taking iron if you have not had any sort of iron issues in the past. Iron overload is dangerous.

7.) I have had major success taking brewers yeast also.

8.) Make sure you are getting water, but also replacing the electrolytes lost. I suck back beverages all day, but I take my salt and my B's to replenish.

8. 1/2) I eat chocolate in large amounts everyday. I don't know what this has to do with anything but I felt I should mention it.

9.) Don't concern yourself with not being a "small" runner. I believe the body will find out where it wants to be. Runners should not diet because a diet is not a lifestyle. I'm sure you know this though.

10.) I have bought HEED and cytomax had success with both. I'm not taking them now, though.

Thanks for the question! Hope this helps!



These are great tips! I need to work on the not emptying the tank one...I tend to go all out in workouts all too often. For me, sleep is also a miracle recovery drug, particularly now that I am starting to up my miles into the 70s. And chocolate, HAS to help. It is part of my daily diet, too:)
Great tips and I loved seeing that we are on the same consumption plan with gels during runs. For my Gatorade sips, I don't really go by time but need. I also make a habit to start taking a sip at each mile or two at the start. Towards the end of my long runs, I do notice my sips are larger.
Jenn said…
Wow-loved reading this! Lots of helpful stuff in here. I've never tried salt. I sweat something fierce and I rarely drink anything other than water. (I'm also struggling in this heat) I wonder if that would help. Laughing at the chocolate:). Just read your last post. Great training week and what a little cutie you have there!!
Happy Feet 26.2 said…
Nice tips! Yes, to the Dove (almost every day for me too)

I haven't tried the saltstick, but I have considered experimenting with some type of salt tabs.

I'm a larger runner too and I sweat a LOT, like dripping wet, so I make hydration and electrolytes a priority. I drink every 20 minutes. I start taking gels at 60 min. and then every 40-45 min after that. For longer runs I add Gatorade, in addition to the Gu gels (chocolate of course, or sometimes Accel gels in orange) I haven't been able to tell if the Accel gels (with protein) help with recovery as advertised, but I figure it's worth a try.

The best recovery tip for me is the dreaded ice bath after your hard runs. Helps tremendously with recovery. (best ice tip, get in water first and then add ice)

I know many runners can't, but I ALWAYS fuel before and after the run. Food and drink before, and after for me. Although I am slower in the summer, I find I do fairly well if I hydrate and fuel properly.
Thanks for the tips! I just bonked my first attempt at 20 miles. Heat sucks. I will definately keep these tips in mind when I try again next week!

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