There's no point giving a race your absolute all if you can't enjoy the recovery. Not only is it best way ever to celebrate your magnificent feat but it's also imperative to replenish depleted energy stores as quickly as possible, so you can get out running again with a spring in your step!
Carbohydrate is stored in the muscles and liver as ‘glycogen’. After longer runs these glycogen levels become depleted and the quicker they are topped up, the better you will feel the following day. A tasty combo of carbohydrate and protein (3:1 is a good ratio) within the ‘magic window’ of about 30 minutes after training is when your muscles are at their most receptive.
Try these 3 tasty steps to a great recovery ….
1. Raid your goody bag
You'll find all sorts of interesting products in your goody bag, including a bottle of water and a recovery snack. Get this down you as soon as you finish the race. That should keep you going until your celebratory lunch!
2. Hydrate fully before enjoying a celebratory tipple
You've finished, it's time to celebrate! Check your pee (you’ll find more on hydration here) before you enjoy anything alcoholic, though, I guarantee you'll feel better in the morning if you do.
3. Treat yourself to the perfect recovery lunch!
When I'm racing in my home town, Bristol – the 10k run passes my house in Hotwells – I like to go home, have a well-deserved shower and then host a delicious recovery lunch with friends and family. It's going to be a good weekend, so lunch in the garden might even be on the cards! And I don't mean slaving over a hot stove – there are plenty of mouth-watering recipes for recovery meals in my Go Faster Food books (check them out on ) or you could make this very easy and delicious tagine. Prepare it in advance up to step 4 then just heat it up, add the olives, seasoning and parsley, cook the quinoa (or you could use couscous to make things even easier) and put your feet up, sip a glass of wine and enjoy!
Tagine of Chicken, Lemon & Fennel with Quinoa
Gluten-free and very tasty, quinoa is pretty much a nutritional superhero in comparison to rice, pasta or couscous. Low G.I. to keep you fuller for longer and to sustain energy levels, it’s packed with protein to keep your muscles healthy, as well as being rich in heart-friendly fats, flavonoids, vitamin E, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and iron. All that is very wonderful, but most importantly for me, it soaks up this warming, exotic, and highly nutritious tagine beautifully! Ideal for muscle recovery and replenishing depleted glycogen stores after your event. Why not make this to impress your running buddies?
Prep time – 15 mins | Cook time – 40 mins
Ingredients to serve 4:
1 tbsp plain flour or gluten-free equivalent
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cumin seeds, dry roasted and crushed in a pestle and mortar
2 tsp coriander seeds, dry roasted and crushed in a pestle and mortar
1 tsp ground ginger
8 free range chicken thighs, trimmed of skin and fat
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, peeled and finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
Approx 600g fennel, cut lengthways, (save any green feathery fronds for decoration)
750ml chicken stock (or enough to cover the chicken)
Zest and juice of one large lemon
2 handfuls of pitted olives, green, black or a mix
Large bunch (50g) fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Mix the flour with the salt, pepper and spices on a large plate. Coat the chicken thighs in the spice mix.
2. Heat the olive oil in the tagine dish and gently sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Move the onion to the side of the dish and add the chicken, skin side down. Brown for about five minutes and then turn over to brown on the other side for a couple of minutes.
3. Add any leftover spice mix and the garlic. Slot the fennel around the chicken and then pour over the chicken stock. Scatter the lemon zest over the top and add the lemon juice. Cover and simmer gently for about 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
4. Uncover and turn up the heat to reduce the sauce a little. Add the olives and warm through. Taste for seasoning and add the parsley.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa according the instructions on the pack.
6. Serve with the tagine in deep warmed bowls, with the fennel fronds scattered over for decoration.
Nutrition per serving
Energy (kcal) 616
Protein (g) 46.1
Carbohydrate (g) 68.4
Fat (g) 19
Of which sugars (g) 2.6
Of which saturates (g) 2
Salt (g) 3
Fibre (g) 11.3