Marathon Runner’s Refuel Smoothie

Marathon training exacts an energy toll on the body. Running 4-7 days a week in a solid training plan leaves little time to rest and recover. One of the most important components of a successful training season is proper refueling.  This means eating to replace lost energy reserves and for rebuilding and growing for improved fitness.  One of the best items to refuel with are fruits.  A quick, easy, and satisfying way is with a fruit smoothie.

The following basic smoothie recipe is a great way to replace carbohydrates (50 g), replenish lost potassium electrolytes (850 mg or about 22% daily value), and a big boost to your vitamin C (150% daily value).  It also adds about 6g of protein.Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Ingredients for One Serving

  • One overripe banana
  • 4 frozen strawberries
  • ½ cup of orange juice
  • ½ cup of non-dairy milk like soy, or almond

Combine all items in a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until all items are smooth.

There are many other healthy items that you can add to your smoothie.  Superfood greens like kale, spinach, and swiss chard are excellent additions.  Other fruit like mangoes, oranges, plums, pears, and apples are also great.  You can also add seed items like milled flax seed, hemp seed, or chia seeds for an extra health boost.  There are many other options, and if you have favorite ingredients, experiment!

You can take advantage of the big dose of vitamin C in this smoothie to aid in iron absorption.  Iron is very important for runners, as it’s a critical component in blood cells and their ability to transport oxygen.  If you eat a lot of red meat, your iron levels are likely adequate, but if you eat little red meat or are vegetarian/vegan, you should always combine iron-containing foods with vitamin C.

The best time to drink this smoothie is after a run. Your ability to replace lost carbs is highest in the first 15-30 minutes after exercising.  If you can’t fit it in after a run, don’t worry, it’s a healthy option at any time of the day.  A smoothie a day during heavy training will help speed your recovery.