Nutrition Tips for Runners- Refuel Your Tank and Recover

Whitney winning the 2012 Routeburn Classic in record time

Whitney winning the 2012 Routeburn Classic in record time

Whitney Dagg is not only one of New Zealand’s top trail runners, she also knows how to eat. With a Bachelor of Applied Science in Sport and Exercise Nutrition and a Diploma in Human Nutrition, and a string of wins and course records to her name, she is the perfect person to give some nutritional advice for your next backcountry running adventure or race!

“Refuel Your Tank and Recover” is the third in a 3 part piece on nutrition (“Fuel Your Tank” HERE and Eat Your Way to the Podium”)If you want more advice on your nutrition need you can contact Whitney , is part of the Exponential Performance Coaching team, directly- details below.


Refuel Your Tank and Recover

Immediately after your race or hard training run is the best time to make the most of recovery foods and fluids. Plan to have something at the finish line that contains both carbohydrate and protein. Within 15-30 minutes of finishing a run is when your body is running at full capacity to process the foods and fluids that allow you to recover.

When it comes to recovery, remember the three R’s: Refuel, Rehydrate and Repair


By eating food or drinking fluid that contains carbohydrate, you are replenishing the fuel source contained in your muscles. Your muscles run on glycogen, which is made available when you digest carbohydrate. If you don’t refuel adequately, you will take much longer to recover and will feel tired and sluggish on your next run. The best choice of carbohydrate foods for recovery are those which are easily digested such as, white bread, sports drink, honey, ripe bananas, fruit buns, scones. These foods are described as having a high glycaemic index (high GI). Low GI foods are less appropriate for recovery as they take longer to digest such as, wholegrain breads and cereals, wholegrain muesli bars, and high fat foods.


Most runners are aware that when you sweat you lose body water which is detrimental to your performance. It means that your heart has to work harder to get blood and oxygen to your muscles. Even though you will most likely take on fluid during the race, you will finish in a dehydrated state and will need to replace fluid losses. Sports drinks are great for rehydrating as they contain electrolytes, such as sodium, which aid fluid to be absorbed in your gut. A great way to work out how much fluid you need to rehydrate is to weigh yourself before and after the race on the same set of scales. The weight you lose is equal to the amount of fluid lost. Then plan to drink one and a half times the amount of weight you have lost to rehydrate.


Our body becomes damaged when we run, and the subsequent repair following running is what makes us stronger. You need to give your muscles and energy systems the building blocks it requires to become stronger. This is where consuming protein foods after running becomes essential. Protein foods are broken down and used all over our body to repair and replenish tissues. Protein shakes are easy and practical, but can become expensive; therefore foods that contain protein, such as lean meat, low fat dairy products, nuts and seeds are also good options.


Whitney DaggExponential-Performance-Coaching-nz

Sports Nutrition Consultant
Exponential Performance Coaching

About BCR

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