Updated: Dec 21, 2018
It's Sunday morning and I'm thinking about the Team Joe Barr 200 and The Joe Barr 500 racers next weekend.
I hope you have your race nutrition strategies all laid out (here are a few tips from an earlier blog) but maybe you haven't thought much about what happens after you cross that coveted finish line and receive your, extremely cool finisher trophy.
Here are a few tips. If you get these right, you'll be well on your way to full recovery within 48 hours or at least you'll be able to get through work on Monday, train on Tuesday.
Rehydration - you will finish the event dehydrated. That's inevitable. It's quite interesting to weigh yourself before you start and then again after you finish.
The general rule is, 150% of the fluid weight you lost during the race should be put back in the first 4-6 hours. So if you lost 2lbs (32 ounces), then 48 ounces should be put back within 6 hours. Most fluid counts, even beer...just make sure you have someone to catch you when you fall over!
Now if you experience swelling in your legs then your electrolyte balance is off and you'll need to gradually consume more regulated fluids over a 24hr period. In our mild weather conditions it's unlikely that anyone will be that severely dehydrated. When we race in the United States, it's a whole other ball game.
Do make sure that whatever fluid you are using in your race bottles, however, contains a wide range of electrolytes (Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, etc).
Glycogen Replenishment - you will finish the race completely depleted. The good news is that glycogen replenishment happens quickly, all you need to do is support it.
Focus on the magic hour after you finish as your internal systems will be going mad converting glucose into glycogen and shunting it into muscles. The body wants simple sugars at this point spiked with just a little protein to help absorption (3:1 carbohydrate:protein). So chocolate milk, smoothies, snickers...have them in your crew car ready to go.
The general rule is 50g of simple carb every hour up to 4 hours, you'll resynthesises 5% of your glycogen stores back per hour.
Just eat sweet things, as much as you like for 4-6 hours- you'll be fine.
Between 4-24 hours there are lots of good studies to suggest that carbohydrate intake of up to 550-625grams per day restores glycogen to pre-race levels with 22-24hours.
You'll be hungry. It's not hard to get that amount so If you want to sustain some of the fat loss from the race then don't over-do it post 24-36 hours.
That's easy to do by the way and once your glycogen is replaced, the body is primed to store anything excess as fat. All that fat loss is easily undone.
Protein and Fat Intake - an endurance race is a muscle damaging event there will be considerable muscle and tissue breakdown which will all need to be repaired.
Aim for 1.5-2g protein per kg for at least 48 hours. This will mean protein shakes for most of you throughout the day. We use a BRLSport product called Invigor8 because it has a 1:1 ratio of quality protein and carbohydrate. Both of which you will need post the initial 4-6 hours.
Most of your muscle/tissue repair will happen during sleep so consider adding a casein based protein shake before you turn in. This will be more slowly absorbed and will be available when your human growth hormone kicks in usually around 2-4 AM.
Simple things like this done diligently make a huge difference.
Fat is easy to get, add simple, short chain fats like butter liberally but don't forget about your longer chain omega 3's. These are vital to create new and functional cell membranes in most tissues. Salmon, sardines, mackerel are all good sources. Fish oil supplements will also help.
Sleep - last but not least. When you sleep your body creates the perfect hormonal, neurological and physical environment for repair. So eat the right stuff and lay your head down. Your body will do the rest.
I hope everyone has a great race. A safe race. I look forward to seeing you all on the start line.
To find out more about performance nutrition please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me at Your Nutrition Toolkit