When I first started running marathons, my understanding of nutrition went something like this: Run a lot = Eat a lot. It didn't really matter to me what I ate, but it usually came in the form of Coke, Gatorade, beer, pizza, chips, candy, or fast food. Figured if I worked hard to put in the miles, I should be able to reap some reward. I had little understanding that you did not need to replace all or more of the calories that you just expended or that you needed specific calories in order to help you begin to recover and prepare for your next run. I have no doubt that this plan led to sluggish recovery, race times, and a less than ideal racing weight.
Slowly over time, as I began to understand that the first 30 minutes post run of a long run was an important time to refuel with protein packed calories in order to begin the recovery process, I ran across an article titled, "Chocolate Milk As a Post-Exercise Recovery Aid".
In the article, partially funded by the Dairy & Nutrition Council Inc., Indianapolis, involved nine male bicyclists who would go thorough an interval of cycling followed by four hours of rest. After two hours of rest, the cyclists drank chocolate milk, fluid-replacement drink (Gatorade) or carbohydrate-replacement drink (Endurox) in quantities that totaled two to three 8-oz. glasses per hour. In the second workout of each set, the participants cycled to exhaustion. Those who drank chocolate milk exhibited similar levels of endurance as those who drank the fluid-replacement drink. Those who drank the carbohydrate-replacement drink exhibited roughly 50% less endurance.
If this was not enough to convince me to try it out, another site provided a little more validation. Here are some more reasons to replace sport drinks with chocolate milk:
1.Milk helps strengthens bones, and promotes a healthy weight.
2.The protein in the milk contains all of the essential amino acids for building or maintaining a lead body mass.
3.Milk provides you with the essential electrolytes.
4.Similar to a banana, milk as 10 times more potassium than most sport drinks.
5.A single glass of milk gives you 20% of the phosphorus needed each day, helping to strengthen your bones and generate energy in your cells.
6.Milk contains vitamins such as B-12, niacin and riboflavin, which are crucial in converting food to energy to fuel your muscles.
Admittedly, I was a bit hestitant to try chocolate milk out after a long run thinking my stomach may not be able to handle it, but I have found that it can and provides me with some protein, fat, and carbs to begin the recovery process and tides me over until I can get in some additional healthy calories.