The importance of recovery after any event, ultra events even more so, is so critical. On our final tip podcast around the 2018 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, Mark Wolff talks you through the three key stages of post-event recovery.
David Katz: In the build up to the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, we’ve been given you some nutritional tips. Mark Wolff has given us four great ones already, but now once things are done and dusted, it doesn’t mean that your nutritional journey has finished. Recovery remains as key as any other part of the process. Mark Wolff, people come out, they’ve trained, they’ve tapered, they’ve raced; now they need to be very conscientious of how they recover.
Mark Wolff: I agree 100%. Dave, let’s remember, a lot of people doing Two Oceans, this isn’t their A race. Their A race is Comrades and they need to recover from Oceans very quickly to make sure that they get to Comrades in really good shape. If Two Oceans is your A race, great, you can go out and spoil yourself a little bit but if you’re going to keep training, you need to recover very quickly. When it comes to recovery, there are three crucial elements that I look at.
The first being rehydration, the second one being stabilising your blood sugar levels and replenishing those glycogen stores, and obviously number three is muscle recovery.
Phase 1 – rehydration
From a rehydration perspective, how do the muscles recover and it’s very simple. You need to get fluid back into the body. If you, after a race, go and drink alcohol and you don’t allow that rehydration process to take place, you will delay the recovery process significantly. Not by just hours, it could be by days. After an event, make sure that you rehydrate properly.
If I’m going onto another race and I need to get recovered quite quickly, I would say, avoid alcohol completely. Don’t go out and spoil yourself, make sure you take 24-48 hours and rehydrate properly, in order to be able to help the muscles recover properly and that you’re completely in a good rehydrated state.
Because you will be dehydrated at the finish, so rehydration is crucial. How do you rehydrate? It’s quite simple. You can take a rehydration tablet, like a Hydrate, which is an electrolyte tablet. It will help pull the fluid into the muscles a lot quicker than your standard carbohydrate drinks.
Phase 2 – blood sugar stabilisation/replenishing glycogen stores
The second thing I look at is blood sugar stabilisation and replenishing the glycogen stores. In order for that to happen you need to consume carbohydrates and in order to consume carbs, you need to look at probably foods that you can tolerate.
It can be in the form of liquid, it can be in a smoothie form or a shake form. I would say that aim for a significant amount of carbohydrates post-exercise in order to try and get those stores topped up as quickly as possible. Obviously to get your blood sugar back up as quickly as possible to feel stable.
Phase 3 – protein
The third thing that the body requires is protein. I would say you need to look at a minimum of 15g of net protein post-exercise, so 15-20g of net protein post-exercise; you can combine it with the carbohydrates. You need to get it into the system quite quickly, so try and look at a meal that comprises all of those.
If you separate your meal out from the hydration, hydrate, have a very good recovery meal and make sure that you recover properly. Then continue to eat nice and cleanly and eat nicely planned and consistent meals through the day that the next morning when you wake up. That recovery process is in full swing and you actually feel a lot better for having recovered properly post this gruelling event.
DK: Mark Wolff, I must ask you, I know a lot of people have a beer afterwards, a chocolate milk, the chocolate milk probably a better option, a beer can come, but not immediately after the race?
Alcohol and post-event recovery
MW: Chocolate milk is fine if you’re not lactose intolerant, there’s nothing wrong with it, or if you’re not a vegan. Look, there’s many options, yes, definitely that can. I would rather say take a choc recovery, a 32Gi Choc Recovery Shake because it’s actually an awesome shake. You just mix it with water, very easy and convenient. It has protein and carbs in, so a very nice amount to help with recovery straight after exercise.
However, the alcohol debate is quite simple. Alcohol is not good for recovery and it’s black and white, that’s the honest truth. If you want to consume it, then you’ve got to face the pitfalls. As far as beer goes, as a recovery drink, overseas, if you go to any event, they do have beer at the finish lines, but it is alcohol free.
Erdinger, for example, has a very big range of alcohol-free beers, and that’s what you’ll generally find. If it’s an alcohol-free beer, great, that will help you with recovery. It’s a great carbohydrate to take in post-event. It’s the alcohol that causes the problem.
DK: There it is, Mark Wolff, dampening your post Two Oceans party, but very well said, very well put and make sure, as Mark said, if your Oceans is not your goal race and there’s stuff coming up, that recovery remains so key. Thanks for all these tips over the last couple of weeks, as Mark touched on as well. Have a great Two Oceans Marathon and we’ll join you soon here on the 32Gi Sports Nutrition podcast.