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Ideally you want to consume a combination of carbs and protein post-run, in a 3:1 ratio (carbs:protein) but as long as you’re including both in your post-workout meal or snack, you should be covered!

 

Carbohydrates restore glycogen in your muscles and liver whilst protein is key to building and repairing muscles & microtears you can get when running.

 

The list below focuses on easy-post run snacks and drinks, however if you finish your run before a natural meal time then you can eat a meal post run making sure to include protein, carbs and fats - ideally including wholegrains and fruit or veggies.

Milk

Milk is a great option post-run as it’s a brilliant blend of carbohydrates and protein. It’s easy to consume after a long run or enjoy as a milky coffee or hot chocolate. If you’re opting for a dairy free version, then opt for soya or oat milk - although you’ll need more than if you’re drinking cow’s milk due to protein/carb content.

Smoothie

Another good option if you struggle to eat after a long run or hard workout. You can add your favourite milk or dairy free alternative, nut butter, fruit, protein powder, veggies etc to fully refuel without it being too heavy on the stomach.

Protein Shake

For some this is a really easy post-run go to, especially if you’re on the go. I suggest opting for a protein shake without sugars/additives and if opting for a vegan protein powder, then making sure it is a complete protein; pea, rice and hemp are good options.

Fruit & Nut Butter

Nut butter is a fantastic source of protein and fat, and when paired with your fave fruit. Bananas are perfect due to their potassium content whilst berries are a great low-sugar fruit. Peanut Butter is a good source of Vitamin B whilst Almond Butter is packed with Vitamin E which supports immune health.

Yogurt

Greek yogurt contains more protein than regular dairy varieties and is a good combination of protein and carbohydrates. If you’re choosing a dairy free option, soya is higher protein than others. Try to choose a yogurt with less than 5g added sugar, and around 10g protein.

Homemade energy balls/bar

Fast, quick and convenient - make your own energy ball or bar including your favourite dried fruits, nuts, oats, protein powder and flavourings. If you’re buying a shop bought version, you want to avoid too much added sugar. Ideally you want to include a combo of quick and slow-release carbs e.g. dried fruit and oats to you get an instant boost without a subsequent sugar crash. 

Eggs on Toast

One egg provides 6-7g protein and combined with wholegrain toast, English Muffin, or bagel makes a simple, versatile meal or snack. Add some veggies to your eggs to boost your carb intake while increasing the fibre and nutrient content. Avocado is an easy addition and ups the protein and carb total.

Pitta and Hummus/Bean Spread

Beans are a brilliant vegan carb/protein combination all in one. Make your own hummus or bean dip to enjoy alongside pitta bread or veggie crudité. Legumes like chickpeas and black beans are rich in iron and magnesium, both key minerals for runners. Make it more substantial by making a sandwich or wrap with your bean dip of choice, and pack it out with extra veggies for additional carbs and fibre.

Sushi

Molly Seidel famously joked that she fuelled for her Olympic Bronze medal in the marathon on sushi, but when you break it down, the fish, rice and seaweed plus ginger and soy sauce actually replaces a lot of the protein, carbs and sodium post-run.

Bowl of Cereal

This works as a post run snack/meal for both morning and evening runs - with the milk (dairy or dairy free) providing the protein and your cereal of choice giving the carbo boost. For overall health, you want to opt for a cereal without too much added sugar - look for less than 10g per serving.

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Charlie Watson (@TheRunnerBeans)

Charlie Watson

Charlie is a Registered Dietitian working for the NHS, she blogs at therunnerbeans.com about marathon training, nutrition, active travel and her surrogacy journey. Her cookbook Cook Eat Run offers a no-nonsense approach to eating for runners and athletes of all levels. She is a Six Star Finisher and currently working towards a Boston Qualifier marathon time.
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