One of the reasons I love running is that it makes you hungry. I love eating. It’s one of my favourite things to do. And food tastes so much better when you’ve worked up a good hunger, especially the kind of hunger you get from a long run, also known as runger. Yes, runger. It’s a special kind of hunger. It’s an all-encompassing, ravenousness that makes pregnant women’s cravings look totally amateur. It makes food taste better and it makes your capacity for eating several times greater than normal. It’s the kind of hunger where you clear your plate and know you could literally eat your entire meal over again. And it’s awesome.
When runger strikes, I have a few go-to strategies:
- Prep something before you run, to eat when you return. I love putting something in a slow cooker, or having a great meal lined up before I head out for my run. Not only can I fantasize about the delicious food I’ll eat when I return while I’m going through a rough patch on my run, but there’s no thinking when you get back. It’s there. Ready and waiting for you. Instant gratification. Recently I tried making this amazing macaroni and beef stew from the March edition of Runner’s World and it was a huge winner.
- End your run at a great brunch or lunch spot. I love planning a running route that ends at a great place to eat. The only downfall of course, is that you have to eat in your sweaty gear or take it to-go. With so many long runs happening on a Sunday, another favourite tactic of mine is to plan a Sunday roast post-run. The Sunday roast is a tradition I have totally embraced since moving to London.
- Enjoy a post-run smoothie. If your food prep takes some time, I love to whip up a quick smoothie as soon as I walk in the door. One of my favourites is a simple mix of banana, almond milk and chocolate flavoured protein powder. It’s filling and tasty and goes down well while you’re stretching post-run
- Make sure you fuel while running. Admittedly my on-the-go choices are slightly less inspiring than the post-run feast, but it’s important to take in some food while you’re racking up those miles so that you arrive home with enough energy to actually make your real food. I like to take gels with me, or if I’m in the mood for something more natural, medjool dates with an almond stuffed inside. Nomnom
- Whip up some healthy recovery bars. There’s lots of “sports bars” our there masquerading as great fuel for runners, when really, they are little more than chocolate bars, packed with high fructose corn syrup. There’s loads of great recipes online for your own, much healthier, recovery bars. One of my faves are the salty quinoa, cherry and pistachio granola bars from Zero to 350.
What do you do when runger strikes? What are your favourite things to eat after you run?