I’m not one of those people who is immediately ravenous and hungry right after I run. In fact, sometimes I have to remind myself to eat sooner rather than later, otherwise it’s over an hour since I’ve finished a 15 miler, and I haven’t refueled yet.
Don’t get me wrong, I sure love to eat, I just don’t always feel hungry after running, and perhaps even more than that, after long runs, I don’t really feel like food for a while. Something about consuming food in a squeeze-into-your-mouth-form that probably deters that.
In the summer, there’s more than just the issue of fuel however: it becomes not only important to pay attention to how soon I refuel, but also how soon, and how well, I rehydrate.
I’m a cold weather runner. I crave those crisp, chilly mornings, and feeling that sharp intake of cold air in my lungs as I take the first few breaths, and realistically, it’s cold here far more than it’s hot, so I’ve just kind of grown to love it.
And while of course you sweat in these conditions, and lose electrolytes, it’s no where near to the extent of what happens in the heat, in the summer. And so during these two months, I have to be extra vigilant about consuming water and electrolytes post run.
Enter my Green Recovery Elixir. I’ve been chugging down some version of this after nearly every run, all summer long. It’s a blend of electrolytes, water, superfoods and protein to keep things on track in terms of fluid balance, and speed up recovery after hot, sweaty sessions.
Let’s talk about electrolytes. You’ve heard a lot about them, and you’ve heard that as runners we need to consume electrolyte beverages after long runs or sweating a lot, but what exactly is their role?
Electrolytes are minerals, chiefly potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphate, chloride and magnesium that help regulate the fluid balance in your body. Fluid and hydration within the body is a very strict balance between the volume of water and volume of electrolytes within the body, and we have several body systems (like the kidneys), who are solely responsible for maintaining fluids within a very set range.
When you lose water, you lose electrolytes, and without consuming both of them, your body can’t re-establish the essential balance which constitutes adequate hydration. Suffice it to say, water alone isn’t enough.
Aim to get your electrolytes through natural methods like oranges, coconut water or maple water, or electrolyte tablets such as Nuun. Stay away from commercial sports drinks like Gatorade, as these are often filled with sugar and artificial ingredients. And of course, always consume water!