Running Star Lauren Fleshman’s Tips to Better Recovery
Race-day preparation and training can take its toll on the body, whether you are a professional athlete, marathoner or weekend warrior. There are so many ways to fuel your body, but when it comes to race day, athletes know the importance of making sure you do it right.
In a recent Q&A blog post, professional track and field athlete Lauren Fleshman stresses the importance of pre- and post-race meals as a way to keep you performing your best and cut down on recovery time.
“There’s eating, and then there’s eating smart,” Fleshman says, “You want the majority of the calories you eat to be stored as glycogen, which is the most readily available fuel for you in the race. If you eat any more than about 600 calories at a sitting, or if your meal is totally unbalanced, you trigger the production of triglycerides which means some of your fuel goes to fat stores instead of glycogen, and unless your race is an ultra, fuel stored that way doesn’t do you much good in the race.”
To combat this, Fleshman needs her fuel around race time to meet a certain set of criteria: provide enough fuel in calories to allow her to perform her best while setting her up to recover faster.
The trick? Splitting evening meals into two small dinners. “Most athletes mistakenly eat a huge meal all at once the night before a race,” Fleshman says, “but if they were to split it up, they’d get much better results.”
She also stresses being conscious of what those small meals are made up of – and the havoc they can wreak later. “It’s important to know how to avoid gastrointestinal distress without being overly paranoid,” she mentions, “I avoid high fiber foods like beans, lentils, raw broccoli and cabbage. Vegetables that are easy on the gut work great for me.”
When it comes to reducing recovery time, Fleshman turns to Montmorency tart cherries. “I pack a water bottle filled with 8 oz. Montmorency tart cherry juice and filled the rest of the way with water. Tart Montmorency tart cherry juice has become a trend among elites and weekend warriors because of its ability to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Recovering well is huge for athletes; it means less pain for you, decreased risk of injuries resulting from depletion, and the ability to get back into the groove of training sooner.”
It’s easy to ‘Recover with Red’. Tart cherries are available year-round in dried, frozen or juice forms that you can find in most grocery stores. Most of the studies have focused on Montmorency tart cherry juice but we recommend finding various ways to add Montmorency tart cherries throughout the day to help lessen your muscle soreness and speed your recovery.