I just finished running the 100th Anniversary of the Dipsea Race, one of the oldest trail runs in the U.S. It starts in Mill Valley, CA and after climbing up about 700 stairs in the first half-mile, you continue up and down Mount Tamalpais until you reach Stinson Beach some 7 ½ miles later. It’s grueling… to say the least. Check it out at check out at SF Chronicle.
This brings me to why I’m now flat on my back, on my deck, feet up and drinking chocolate milk. If you’re wondering why I’m not drinking some high-tech, engineered recovery drink that has some optimal ratio of protein and carbs and the right balance of leucine and other amino acids, I’m testing the new research out that says chocolate milk is one of the best recovery drinks available.
The research, presented at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting this week, found that runners who drank 16 ounces of lowfat chocolate milk or a carbohydrate-only beverage (ie like Gatorade or PowerAde) matched for calories found that the chocolate milk improved several biomarkers of muscle recovery compared to the sports drink, including the storage of muscle fuel (glycogen, the storage form of carbs in muscles).
I emailed with Nancy Rodriguez, Ph.D., R.D, one of the University of Connecticut researchers who conducted the study to see exactly what makes milk so good for recovery. Here’s what she said, “Lowfat mike provide protein and numerous other essential micronutrients important for recovery (ie, Vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, as well as bioactive components of whey protein). We found improved protein synthesis and less muscle protein breakdown among the milk group. The bottom like is that there are benefits of drinking chocolate milk post-exercise.”
What I like about it is that it tastes great and it’s a fluid, and the most important aspect of recovery after a long run is re-hydrating. Secondly, chocolate milk provides about 30 grams carbohydrate and 8 grams protein per 8-ounce serving. Previous research shows that having primarily carbohydrates with smaller amounts of protein post-endurance exercise enhances recover. I drank both cow’s milk and soymilk today to get the most well-rounded source of protein–casein and whey from cow’s milk, along with soy protein from the Chocolate Silk.
Now, as I continue my preparation for the six-day Trans Rockies Run in August, I will see how well my muscles feel tomorrow when I’ve got to get up to run another day.