Your obstacle race training nutrition plan follows some of the general guidelines applicable to all athletes:
- Choose the whole foods over processed varieties,
- Lean cuts of meat,
- Adequate fruit, and
- Plenty of vegetables.
On race day, your pre-race meal should be customized for the energy demands for your race — sustaining enough to help you endure and dominate the challenge.
But what do you have after the race, when, thanks to vendors, you may be surrounded by a limited variety of food options?
What do you eat after (or with) your free cup of beer?
Here are some guidelines and tips for your post-obstacle race fuel.
Post-Race Meal General Guidelines
1. Enjoy the Free Alcoholic Beverage
You’ve worked hard for it, and if it’s a beer worth having, guzzle it down with no remorse.
2. Balance Carbohydrate and Protein Intake
The general rule of thumb is a 3 or 4:1 carbohydrate:protein ratio following a strenuous physical challenge like a hard workout or sporting event.
Aim for this with your post obstacle race meal. It will help boost recovery, enhance muscle repair, and replenish energy stores.
3. Don’t Skimp On Sugar
You’ll need some sugar to replenish your energy stores. Chances are you won’t need to look far in order to find sugary food sources from event vendors.
4. Liquid and Solid Meals Are Healthy Options
Is a shake or solid food best after a workout? It really depends on you.
Some don’t like to consume a large meal after an event, preferring to recover and replenish with a Ready-To-Drink (RTD) shake. You may actually find free samples of shakes from vendors following your event.
Once the post-race jitters settle down, you should be ready for a solid meal.
Post Obstacle Race Shake or Drink
So what does a 3 or 4:1 carb:pro ratio shake or drink look like?
Chocolate milk and manufacturer-made RTDs for recovery typically contain this ratio. RTDs are often available in light and caloric-dense varieties.
If you’ve completed a race lasting under an hour, you may find the light option may work well for your energy and recovery needs. The lower-calorie option may also be best if you are trying to balance obstacle race training with weight loss goals.
If you have the convenience of living nearby the venue, you may prefer to make your own shake at home. A shake with fruit, protein powder, and water or milk with honey should meet the recommend ratio.
The Post-Race Plate
If you prefer a solid meal following a race, remember to keep the 3-4:1 ratio in mind as you choose among the food options.
At home, you can generally meet this with a healthy plate of grains or a starchy vegetable, a protein source like meat or tofu, and a salad or other vegetable with some fruit on the side. If it’s your last race for a while, you may also have some dessert — a small portion of your favorite.
At the venue, however, you may not have this alternative. You may be surrounded with only junk food alternatives. That leads us to the next option.
The Post-Race Sandwich
Oftentimes a sandwich may be the best option available after your race.
With lettuce, tomatoes, and meat between two slices of bread, this alternative would fit the recommended ratio.
Overall for good health and optimum performance, strive for healthy options to achieve a 3 or 4:1 carb:protein ratio for your post-race meal. You may find some options at the race venue, most likely in the form of a recovery shake. If not, you may also consider re-fueling off-site or at home.
And if it’s your last race of the season or for several weeks, you can let yourself splurge with a small portion of dessert.
What’s your favorite post-race meal?
Image credit: fuel
© 2009-2015 Melissa Rodriguez
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