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Fueling Up for Faster Runs and Recovery

Grapefruit can have a reaction to some prescription drugs, so check with a doc before digging in! (Photo courtesy of Blaine Moats)


One thing I forgot about as I started training was how hungry I would constantly be. This might not sound like a problem, but when you live with a boy who can swallow an entire cheese pizza as if it was the last source of carbs on the planet, it's easy to cuddle up on the couch and go overboard on the junk. Rather than wait until my stomach started growling after a long run, I decided to stock up ahead of time at the grocery store so that when a hunger strike did hit, I was ready with foods that would help me recover from runs, rather than make me feel sluggish and just plain gross. I always knew the basic foods runners should eat, things like peanut butter (no problem there!), bananas, and protein, like fish and beef, but I had yet to discover another superfood–grapefruit.

It's National Grapefruit Month, so my curiosity was peaked. But confession time: Until I did some research on grapefruit I had never eaten one. Weird, I know. But after some reading I found that not only does the citrus fruit help your skin, it actually curbs hunger,  meaning when that pizza binge session is happening on my couch, I can look the other way without wanting to duke it out for the last slice.

But then something terrible happened. I tried a grapefruit, and I was not a fan. I think for me it was the texture, not the taste (I'm also not a big fan of oranges either for similar reasons. I like my fruit and veggies crunchy!). Not all was lost though! While scooping out the fruit is not my cup of tea, drinking it definitely is.  So I stocked up on juice and have been sipping away ever since. Not only is it refreshing after a run, I've been drinking half a cup in the morning to perk me up and get ready for my workout. Here's what else I've been eating lately:

  • DIY Trail Mix: I've been making my own with cashews, almonds, raisins, cranberries, and some M&Ms for good measure.
  • Bananas: I am very particular about my bananas, they must be freckled and very ripe, not bright yellow. I buy a bunch at the beginning of the week and wait until I see spots to start eating.
  • Granny Smith Apples: Perfect for a 3 p.m. snack, these also keep you satisfied longer and can often help nix my sweet tooth.
  • Iron-fortified cereal: Especially important for runners to help with fatigue, I start every morning with a bowl of this. My latest pick is an old time favorite: Cheerios!

Last week I picked up the pace for my weekly runs, ending with a 9-mile long run in Central Park before the weekend wind rolled into NYC. This week I am looking forward to a taper week, with no long run this weekend to give my legs some time to recover. Between that and some extra time to sleep in I should be fully rested as we hit the halfway point of training!

Now tell me: What do you eat before or after a workout?

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