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Fruit and Veggie Smoothies. The perfect morning post run drink.

Photos courtesy of Lee Bender @lbender15.

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Many runners who get do their “run” out if the way in the morning are rushed to get their day started making it tough to get enough nutrition quickly into their body. Studies demonstrate the most crucial time to refuel after a moderate length run is within 45 minutes to an hour at most.

My advice for any runner is to eat natural foods and stay away from supplemental drinks or shakes. While I have used them (and still occasionally do) I’m much more a fan of recovering quickly with a fruit and veggie smoothie. I make them the night before a run and keep in the refrigerator. As soon as I return from an early morning run its ready and I drink it as I’m preparing to start my day.

There are many sites out there with recipes to create a smoothie, but here are my two favorites that are easy to make.

Green Smoothie:
Ingredients: 2 cups of baby spinach, 1 apple, 1 orange, 1 banana, and squeeze of half a lemon.
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Red Smoothie:
Ingredients: 1 apple, 1 orange, 2-3 carrots, 1-2 bananas, 3-4 strawberries (substitute with frozen berries)
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A magic bullet can be used to purée the ingredients but if you already have a food processor that is perfect. I use the Kitchen Aid 7 cup food processor.

With the food processor I just place all the ingredients in and let it run for about five minutes. A few ice cubes or water can make it easier to drink by reducing its consistency.

Other options for refueling are obviously available which I listed below but fresh fruit and vegetables allow for a quick intake to keep you until there is time fore a late morning meal or lunch.

Elite runner Lauren Fleshman places a drink in her car and begins refueling immediately. Ideally, take in a drink that contains a 4-to-1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. Justin Whittaker, D.C., recommends a drink with sodium, calcium, 250 mg of magnesium, 50 mg of zinc, 100 mg of potassium and branch chain amino acids. Read labels carefully, as most recovery drinks don’t provide these vital electrolytes and proteins.

Chocolate milk: The drink you loved as a kid has the ideal amount of carbohydrates and protein that tired muscles need for recovery, says Joel Stager, Ph.D., director of the department of kinesiology at Indiana University. According to a study Stager led, drinking chocolate milk postexercise speeds up recovery and increases the time it takes to reach exhaustion during a subsequent exercise session better than sports drinks. And a 2007 British study found that regular milk is better than water or a sports drink at restoring fluid levels following a bout of exercise in the heat. Plus, milk contains bone-strengthening vitamin D and calcium.

Active.com lists some good ideas for post run fueling. You can read their link below. I however am more of a fan of natural fueling then by using supplements. While they can be ideal for those in a hurry, it’s always best to eat or fuel with natural products – there’s something to be said about that Paleo diet!!

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