Whether you’re training for an upcoming race or just like running for fun, you know how important it is to have an established pre- and post- workout routine to avoid injury.
But did you know that chocolate can boost performance during your run, and it can aid in post-workout recovery?
Learn how to include chocolate in your workout routine. You’ll be ready for the Austin Marathon this February or the Hot Chocolate Run in a city near you! (Yes, that’s a real thing. The 5-15K race awards finishers with a Willy Wonka-inspired medal and a post-race party with hot chocolate and fondue.)
Before/during your run: dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is loaded with health benefits that promote heart health, improved mood, and better skin. It could also be the secret ingredient to your next PR (Personal Record, for you newer runners reading this post).
Eating chocolate before a run can increase your blood sugar levels for a more sustained amount of time than if you don’t eat chocolate, one study found. Participants reported the run felt easier, allowing them to run longer and still enjoy it.
Additional studies have found that dark chocolate is especially helpful in boosting performance and energy for shorter races like a 5K. After that distance, the effect tends to wear off, just as it would with other energy gels or snacks. So to keep it going, pack some dark chocolate bites in your jogging shorts!
After your run: chocolate milk
Besides catching your breath, your first priority post-run should be replenishing your body with the sugar and glucose you depleted during your race, and getting your body primed to rebuild your muscles for the next one.
Chocolate milk is touted over and over again as a top-notch recovery drink. Served hot or cold, it contains a variety of ingredients that aid in recovery, including flavonoids, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein. Plus, studies have shown it to be just as effective, if not more so, than other recovery sports drinks. Drink up!
Whether you prefer to eat or drink your chocolate, have some before or after your next race for a stronger and sweeter run.