How To Nail Your Nutrition On Recovery Day

This post is from our CHAARG Run Club RD — Lydia Nader [@fuelwithnader].Lydia is a sports nutritionist + athlete… + as a CHAARG Run Club member, you will be able to ask her any questions you have on nutrition + running [she’ll be in the Slack channel ; )]. Get to know Lydia more by listening to her on The CHAARG Podcast — episode #85, all about marathons!

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“Rest is a form of productivity.” This is a quote that has become close to my heart these past few months. I am a type A individual, so I like to be productive + I feel “lazy” if I don’t check something off the list. Do you ever feel like that? 

When you see a rest day in the training plan… do any of these thoughts feel familiar? 

  • “Okay, rest day, so I can do some cross training that day”
  • “Rest day means some easy miles because it’s too nice outside not to run”
  • “Rest day means I am not working out as much, so I have to eat less.” 

All of those thoughts have gone through my own head when training for a race + see a rest day on the schedule. Because if I’m not keeping to a routine or a checklist, then was it actually a productive day?

The answer is…  yes, rest days are productive + CRUCIAL!

Rest days provide your body time to relax + recover, + allow to fuel your body for recovery. Oftentimes, we think activity = ability to eat more food. The key word is *ability* like you have to give yourself permission to eat more food. Let’s adapt that mindset to something else: rest means refuel. 

When we have scheduled rest days or even unscheduled ones when our bodies just tell us they need a break, this is a time to continue the healing + recovery process ++ the only way to do that is by consuming calories. The goal on rest day is to recover + the key nutrients you need to recover are more than just carbohydrates + protein. A rest day should be packed with fruits + vegetables, quality proteins [salmon, chicken, eggs], carbohydrates [quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes] + healthy fats [chia seeds, olive oil + avocado]. Additionally on rest days, it’s important to refuel with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory foods, + of course hydration!

#1] Antioxidants: When we workout, we create stress + oxidation in the body, so foods rich in antioxidants help to fight that oxidative stress. Foods include berries, citrus fruits, + healthy fats like avocados.

#2] Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Inflammation is a symptom of stress + exercise, so providing foods that help to decrease that inflammation is important for recovery. Foods include fatty fish, nuts + seeds, ++ cherries.

#3] Hydration: With all the inflammation in the body post workout, it can be beneficial to flush it out + proper hydration is key for that. Drink at least half your body weight in fluid ounces of water, unsweetened beverages or through smoothies.

Breakfast: PB Banana Smoothie Bowl, top with walnuts, chia seeds, + blueberries

Lunch: Lemon Butter Penne With Broccoli + Chicken, *recipe included in CHAARG Run Club, along with 25 other runner-specific recipes ; )

Snack: Dark Chocolate Cherry Smoothie, add an avocado for extra creaminess + antioxidants!

Dinner: Mediterranean Quinoa Grain Bowl, add salmon!

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PSA: Looking for a running-focused workout program + community this summer? Always wanted to run 13.1 miles without stopping? Join CHAARG Run Club! Registration is open until May 29 — see more details here!

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