When I come back from a run, I’m often tired, sweaty and a little achy. All I really want is a hot shower and and a little sit down with a cup of tea – the last thing I feel like doing is eating a meal. One thing I really struggle with is trying to eat after a run, especially if it’s a particularly long or tough session. Ironically, I seem to eat much more on days I don’t run than those I do! However, I’m fully aware that the quickest way to help my body recover from whatever torture I put it through, is to refuel with healthy food within 30 minutes. Easier said than done though…
My latest trick is to whiz up a handful of spinach, a frozen banana and scoop of whey protein with some milk, it tastes like a creamy milkshake but with loads of good stuff! I find that, because it’s a drink rather than solid food, it goes down a lot easier and will tide me over until my appetite makes an appearance.
Whilst I often prefer to make something fresh from scratch, my life can be pretty hectic and it isn’t always practical. If it’s race day, or my run finishes away from home, a couple of hours can fly by before I even think about food. Really not ideal.
Recently, a new dairy-based protein drink, Upbeat, came on my radar and, after checking out the labels (a bottle of sugar is not my idea of recovery), I thought it could be the answer to some of my post-run problems. It’s whey protein based (from milk), so helps with muscle repair, and comes in 3 fruity flavours and chocolate orange (definitely worth a try!). Low fat, around half the sugar of other well known smoothie brands (you know the ones I mean), and less than 150 calories, it’s easy to grab a bottle on the run (or post run as it were…)
Yesterday I ran the Bournemouth Half Marathon and, as I pushed myself much harder than I would on a training run, I ended up feeling a bit sick at the end. It’s not new to me, my body concentrates its efforts in pumping blood to my muscles rather than my stomach and I just don’t feel hungry, I’m not one of those people who can delve straight into the goody bag for snacks no matter how good they are! I thought it would be a great opportunity to give Upbeat a try for a post-race protein boost.
The Science Bit – 250ml (Chocolate Orange Flavour):
- 150 Cals
- 2.6g Fat
- 20g Protein
- 9.2g Sugar (compared to 25g for the same size bottle of a well known fruit smoothie)
Yesterday I tried the Choc Orange one, which was a bit like a decadent milkshake, but I’ve also tried the Strawberry, and Raspberry & Blueberry flavours which taste a bit more like a fruity yoghurt drink. Personally, I think they’re a convenient, simple way of re-fueling post run when you don’t have the time (or appetite!) for something more complicated, and they taste pretty great too! I’ll definitely be keeping a couple in my fridge for my next race.
I know some people have an issue with protein supplements but, personally, I find it an easy way to give my body what it needs after a tough session. Running causes micro tears in muscle fibres which need repairing and, if you’re anything like me, you need that to happen quite quickly if you want to be back on the run within 24 hours. Protein isn’t just for body builders, us runners need it too!
You can find Upbeat in the chilled sections of larger supermarkets and Holland & Barrett. Upbeat kindly gave me some vouchers and merchandise to try out their products but all views are my own.