A new discovery was made after yesterday's run - in which I ran 10 miles! Woohoo! (still can't get over that...) - I don't know how to recover from a long run. More specifically, I don't know the proper nutrition. I knew I needed to be concerned with what to eat before a long run, and knew I needed to find what works for me and get a routine started before the race. I figured it out, and what works for me is a bowl of steel-cut oats with a little bit of brown sugar and bananas on top, half a cup of coffee, then 20 minutes before I head out, some Honey Stinger Chews and sip on some water. Okay...so I've got the fuel to get through the long distance. Now, what about when I get home?
So, I got home yesterday, grabbed a big Gatorade G2 (I think a 32oz.) and a CLIF bar, which I ate and drank while doing some mild stretches. Then I went upstairs, took a shower and got ready for the day. We went out to run some errands and I grabbed an apple. Almost two hours after the apple, we get home for lunch - I was starving by then and practically inhaled a huge ham sandwich with a few chips. I also developed a massive headache around this time so I went to go lay down for a little bit. After I got up (about 20 minutes later, when Ray sent the girls to my room to jump on me and wake me up...nice), the headache was worse, and I realized I had the same awful headache last weekend after my 8 mile run. Hmmm...For someone who rarely ever gets headaches, I knew there was a connection and it was something I was doing wrong. We ate an early dinner, I took two Ibuprofen, drank some coffee (hoping the caffeine would help), and had some ice cream (because my celebratory chocolate cake was taking too long to cool off...grrrr).
As I vegged on the couch after the girls went to bed, I got on the iPad and began to research "recovery after long runs". I read several articles, looked at many forums, and yep, I was doing something wrong. I was not giving my body the nutrients it needed to recover. I felt so famished all day yesterday - well, duh! I didn't eat enough and with that feeling, along with the monster headache, my body was trying to tell me something. The CLIF bar and Gatorade were okay, but I should have had more of a meal after my shower instead of just an apple. Then, I should have had more small meals throughout the day. And of course, I should have had more to drink. (And I should have taken that ice bath I'm too chicken to try). I was surprised to see that in all the articles I looked at, one of the best things to have right after a run is chocolate milk. Apparently, it has the perfect ratio of carbs to protein your body needs to start recovering. That, and a banana will start the recovery process, then after the shower (or ice bath!), a healthy meal - hopefully, that will ward off any headaches the next time I go for that long run. I'm upset with myself for not thinking about after the long run, but now I'm eager to try out what I know. Now I just need to figure out how I'm going to keep my supply of chocolate milk out of the hands of the rest of the family!