Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Refueling Beverages for Long Races

The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon is right around the corner on Saturday May 5th! I recently finished the last of the training series runs for the big race—a 15k—and am more excited than ever for the 13.1.

Those of you who are avid runners have heard about the importance of a solid training regimen, supportive footwear and good nutrition many times before, but there’s one area in particular that deserves more attention. That is your refueling beverage. There are two types of refueling beverages: the kind you drink DURING the race and the kind you drink AFTER.

Back to the 15k. There were plenty of refueling stations along the course with enthusiastic, cheering volunteers handing out water and Gatorade to runners. Moving right along…mile 7…8…9…almost there…done! After the final sprint to the finish, I was exhausted. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired. The last mile was nearly a sprint and the last 1,000 feet were even faster. So I was beyond thrilled when the volunteers at the finish line handed me a bottle of water, another cup of Gatorade and a banana. However, one thing was missing from my post-race routine: chocolate milk.
I have been drinking chocolate milk after races since my high school cross country days. As far as recovery beverages go, nothing works better for me after a race than chocolate milk.

In fact, research suggests that chocolate milk has the correct ratio of carbohydrates and protein to help refuel exhausted muscles. Milk also provides fluids for rehydration and electrolytes, including potassium, calcium and magnesium lost in sweat, that runners need to replace after a long run or race. Additionally, the protein found in milk helps build lean muscle. No other sports beverage compares to this nutrition powerhouse. Check out this article from Fitness magazine about chocolate milk.

I ended up stopping at the store on my way home and getting some chocolate milk after the 15k, and my recovery run the next day was easier because of it. However, mini marathon runners are in luck! The American Dairy Association of Indiana and Prairie Farms will be handing out chocolate milk to runners after they’ve completed the 13.1 mile course!

After crossing the finish line, I hope you will be thinking the same thing I do …where’s the chocolate milk?

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