You’ve just run a marathon, you’re elated, you’re exhausted, everyone is telling you what to eat after a marathon – basically everything in sight to celebrate, right?
Well kinda. Of course you should listen to your body in the immediate hours after the marathon, and let your hair down after months of training, and after running 26.2 miles! For goodness sake have some crisps, a Snickers, a pizza then steak and chips 🙂 Then go to bed and wake up to the reality of a normal day when you’re not running a marathon!
Recover from your marathon gorgeously with our eatnaturally plans!
But please tell me what to eat after a marathon if I can’t carry on eating all the pasta?!
Straight after the event you’ll need to get quick carbs into you, you’ll probably like the taste of salt and you’ll need to drink. But funnily enough you might not feel hungry. You’re more likely to feel shellshocked and unable to think straight. Endurance running suppresses appetite because it temporarily damps down a hormone called Ghrelin which is responsible for making us feel hunger. Common sense will tell you you should eat but you might not fancy chomping down a healthy salad. Quick and dirty is the way forward here, it’s no time for worrying about calories or avocados, it’s a time to eat something easy and tasty.
If your supporters have packed you a cheese sarnie and bag of crisps get them down you, even better with a bottle of chocolate milk. That’ll cover all your immediate needs. Then a bit later get a main meal with more easy carbs and some protein, like that steak and chips, or fish and chips, or jacket with cheese and beans.
Probably best to steer clear of curries here as your gut might be feeling a bit delicate after all those hours of being jiggled up and down. As for fluids, you can sip some fresh juice diluted with water, or have a few nice cuppas, even better a couple of glasses of nice cold milk throughout the rest of the day (as well as other fluids).
So there you have the day itself – not too technical eh?
How about the next day?
On to the next morning then. What you need to remember now is all that extra eating you did the day or two before the marathon, on the morning, during the race (gels, sweet drinks, jelly babies) and afterwards. You’ve had plenty enough food for what boils down to a run of a few hours. Yes you have. There’s no need to keep loading extra food in, that’s just a good way to start putting on weight and getting fatter for your next marathon, cos you’re already looking at the next one, right? 🙂
The problem with the day after is that you’ll likely still be in a bit of a shock, or on a high or even in a big low – post marathon blues – all of which create a false, emotional, hunger and cake cravings. Plus you’ll be thinking “Go me! I just ran a bloody marathon! I can eat LOADS all this week and it will just dissolve into my muscles!!” Not so fast, the party is over. What’s important today, and for the rest of the week (and your whole life, in fact) is quality, not quantity. Eat less but better.
Why do people get coughs and colds and other maladies after a marathon?
Your immunity will be lower after the marathon because, whatever anyone says, running for 26.2 miles is not normal, it’s not what we were designed for in this day and age, and it stresses the body and its systems. This is particularly the case when most of us sit behind a desk for most of our days but just throw in a few runs each week, albeit one being quite long. This is one hell of a shock to your brain, endocrine system, muscles and bones, and your organs. It’s all a bit of a crisis and cortisol production will be high, cortisol is a stress hormone and when it’s released in abundance it suppresses immunity.
What to eat to boost immunity
Nothing fancy, no gloop or pills. All you have to think here is “colour” and “natural”. Try and get as many different coloured foods into your day as you can, in your three meals (not five or six meals, three), that means plenty of fruit and vegetables as well as nuts seeds and whole grains. The day might look like this:
Breakfast: Greek yoghurt with a few spoons of oats, some mixed seeds, a few berries, some passion fruit and a drizzle of Greek honey.
Lunch: Large colourful salad with hummus, avocado, beetroot, watercress, peppers, tomatoes, red onion, sweetcorn and French dressing. Followed by some mixed nuts and a couple of dried apricots. Guys can add some sourdough bread to this.
Dinner: Stuffed peppers with a baked potato and stir fried vegetables.
You could have some kefir at bedtime to help your gut keep its friendly bacteria numbers up.
So, it’s all good tasty stuff in moderation. Carry on like that for the rest of the week – plenty of colour and variety, Good fresh simple foods. Eat til comfortably full, not stuffed. Get plenty of sleep and relaxation. Get a massage. Spend time with all those people you’ve neglected over the last six months and forget about running for a little while! I can see you hyperventilating there 🙂
This is pretty much the same style as all our lovely healthy people eat all the time! No fads needed, just good honest food.
And that’s what to eat after a marathon!
Congratulations, it’s a wonderful achievement.