Training for a marathon or other distance run, you need to load up on lots of complex carbohydrates and add fat to your diet so you have energy to sustain you for the duration of the race. After the race, however, you reduce your training intensity and don't need all of those extra calories.

Here are some guidelines for making the transition to post-race eating:

  • IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARDS. If you've raced for longer than an hour, you need to carb RE-load quickly.. Have a bagel, energy bar or cup of soup within 15 minutes of finishing the race. Be sure to drink plenty of water also.
  • 24 HOURS AFTERWARDS. Graze frequently on high-carb foods, since it may take a little while to restore your depleted reserves.
  • TWO DAYS AND BEYOND. After that first 24-hour period, you should eat according to your training plans. If you're going to start training for the next big race, you should fuel yourself as you have before (higher carb intake, etc.). But if you won't be training intensively, you'll need to consume a lot fewer calories -- and make the mental adjustment to eating less. Whereas you might have grabbed frequent snacks while training, now you have to be careful about eating more calories than you'll be burning off.