Take a couple of seconds to think about your run routine:
You go out for a run of 30-to-60 minutes, which may or may not include a warm-up or cool-down. You come back to the house, drop your soggy shoes and socks at the door, and amble to the kitchen. Once you hit the kitchen you make a beeline for the refrigerator. You open the door, grab a bottle, can or glass of something cold and wet, and slug it down.
Quick - how many calories did you just take in? Even the most anal-retentive runner, the one who counts every calorie of solid food which crosses their lips, can be blindsided by beverages.
Yes, rehydration is necessary after a bout of running. However, we can - mindlessly - take in more calories over the course of sixty seconds than we burned off in the previous ten minutes. When you start to think about it, it's not all that difficult to see why some runners have difficulty losing those last few pounds. You know the ones - those five pounds which can slow you down by 20 seconds a mile.
That's a minute for a 5K. Closer to ten minutes for a marathon. Ask any marathoner who's come "just that close" to a Boston qualifying time what they would sacrifice for ten minutes. Some might mention a pound of flesh, but it's a little closer to five. Naturally, the issue is one of portion control. When I was the age of my oldest grandchild the largest size soda at the major fast food resturant was the smallest size now; same for the french fries.
And when you look closely at a bottle of the most popular "thirst quencher," you find that the 20-ounce bottle represents not one, but two and-a-half servings. And 130 calories go down the hatch quickly. Very quickly.
I am not saying that sports drinks are bad. What I am saying is that we need to pay close attention to what we eat and drink as part of our training...and I consider recovery as important as any training session on the schedule. There are sports drinks on the market which have more trash than treasure, more empty calories than nutritive value. Some drink manufacturers make claims which can hardly be substantiated and usually come with provisos in small print. Personally, I'm too old to read small print. If I can't read it I probably should not drink it.
When it comes to recovering from the run, I will be the first to say this - slow is best.
Slow down. Read the label. And if you can't read it you probably shouldn't eat or drink what is inside it.