Sunday, February 13, 2011


I've been thinking a lot about how I refuel after long runs, and I want to hear what others do.

I run, and exercise in general, because I love it and to train for races, not to burn calories. On weekdays, if I am doing a longer run (like my 8 miler on Thursday) I'll try to just add on a little something extra to each of my meals to replenish the extra calories that I burn.

On weekends though, with that long run, its a totally different story. In an ideal world, I'd be like all those healthy living food bloggers and just add a little extra nut butter to my oatmeal, have an extra serving of whole grain pasta at dinner, and then the usual teeny tiny scoop of light ice cream for dessert.

That's not how I roll. Here's my refueling plan.

Eating my weight in frozen yogurt and toppings. I flipped it over when I got home, I like my toppings on the bottom. It was incredible and even I couldn't finish it, but I got close.
And of course wine. This picture is from after the marathon, but I followed the same plan last night.

Sometimes I feel guilty that I use these runs to finally indulge my massive sweet tooth after trying to keep it somewhat under wraps the rest of the week, and wish I could be more like those "perfect" bloggers. I will say I always make sure I get all my veggie servings in, because I feel like that makes a huge difference in how I feel the next day. But mostly, the day is a free for all, I usually don't even really eat "meals" (except dinner, since I usually cook for Eric & I), I just sort of eat randomly all day whenever I feel hungry. 

My Garmin estimated that I burned 2167 calories during my 22.2 mile run yesterday. I ate about 300 calories before the run, and 3 gels during the run, which leaves me with 1567 calories to replenish, ON TOP of whatever I am normally supposed to eat in a day, and I don't really know what that is, so email me if you do.

For dinner we had burgers (homemade black bean for me, turkey for him), homemade sweet potato fries (with my mandolin, thanks Mom & Vince!), and roasted brussel sprouts.

One cup of brussel sprouts is 65 calories.


Even I, who typically can out - eat my husband who weighs over 100 pounds more than me, cannot eat that many vegetables and whole grains. My stomach just couldn't handle it.

Yup, you would think he could eat more, but no, it's me. I used to tell myself it was because I worked out. Then he started working out. Now I tell myself he must have had a big lunch.

However, when you start devouring mass amounts of sweets loaded with sugar, butter, and cream (I'm looking at you, cheesecake), those calories come back before you know it. On our runs, we are always talking about what we are going to eat that night, and someone always says something like "and I'm not going to feel guilty!", which implies that we normally would. This isn't necessarily true, but I probably wouldn't have let myself go crazy at the frozen yogurt shop like I did if we had went on, say, a random Wednesday.

But, as Eric pointed out, I'm not an elite athlete or training for the Olympics, so I don't need to eat three boxes of pasta to gain back the calories like Michael Phelps. I have the luxury of eating whatever I want after long runs.

I love running.                                                             I love eating.

Those two go together like peanut butter & jelly. So is there really a problem?

I even have a bondi band that explains "I run so I can eat".

Also, please note, here's a list of things I did yesterday.

  • Ran 22.2 miles (can't really say that one enough, still can't believe it!)
  • Wrote my first paper for grad school
  • Cleaned the apartment
  • Made & cleaned up from dinner
  • Got my first self serve frozen yogurt
This is the highest number of accomplishments I have ever had on a Saturday, hands down. And I love having a blog, so I can brag about it.

How do you refuel after long runs (whatever you consider a long run, not necessarily double digits or anything)? Do you stick with stuff that's good for you, or eat junk like it's going out of style?


  1. I usually eat one junky thing after a long run (like a piece of bakery cake with tons of frosting rather than my typical chocolate) and just otherwise eat normally. If I'm hungry, I'll add in an extra snack (like peanut butter and pretzels), but other than that, it's just a normal day. My breakfast the next day is usually bigger than normal.

    I guess my point is that every day I eat what I want, when I want it, so a long run day isn't much different. Maybe I should post a day of my eats on the blog so everyone can see how a real perfect blogger does it :)

  2. um, I definitely eat junk like there's no tomorrow. It probably doesn't help that my husband and I will catch up on tv on the weekends, which involves a lot of mindless eating and not really paying attention to how many chips I'm grabbing. I should prob work on that... haha

  3. Interesting post!

    I have been running for so many years, that at this point my appetite is not really affected by a run. I'm pretty much an equal amount of ravenous all day regardless of whether I run or how long the run.

    Therefore, run day eats are pretty much the same as any other. I don't eat anything close to "perfect". I like vegetables a lot, but I'm pretty lazy about buying them. Everyday involves a lot of sugar for me. a lot.

    I have to say that after running, I do sometimes crave salty and carby things, so may eat more chips, beer, or just sprinkle salt on everything. yum.

  4. I've never run over 15 miles, but after a long run I usually always have a protein shake. That holds me over during my shower.

    Then I eat lunch,usually whatever I'm in the mood for, - so maybe a turkey wrap or grilled chicken sandwich with fries.

    Then I go lighter for the next meal.

    I try to eat well all the time but I definitely have dessert after every meal...even breakfast.
    Not kidding. :-)

  5. I'm digging your refueling plan. Mine basically consists of me eating second breakfasts and second lunches to make up for calories lost.

  6. That is the most productive Saturday EVER! Way to go! So i used to subscribe to the school of thought "Well i ran a lot today, so i can eat whatever i want". And i gained weight. So i try not to go crazy, no matter how far i've run. :P


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