Chocolate milk does a runner’s body good

If I could, I would drink the entire half-gallon of chocolate milk after a run. Instead, I stick with a school lunch-sized carton of 2% chocolate milk. (Staff)

If I could, I would drink the entire half-gallon of chocolate milk after a run. Instead, I stick with a school lunch-sized carton of 2% chocolate milk. (Staff)

You can chug Gatorade G3, scarf down PowerBars or choose any of a number of specialized recovery products following your AJC Peachtree Road Race training runs and the race itself.

Or you can drink chocolate milk.

That’s what I do.

What’s not to like about it? One of the greatest non-alcoholic drinks in the world – up there with Milo’s sweet tea, Coke and quality root beer – provides health benefits that are perfect post run. Sign me up.

Side note: This will be my last blog about drinks for a while as I know Yvonne wrote about water a few weeks ago.

I read about chocolate milk as a post-run drink a while ago, and thought it sounded interesting. The article mentioned that chocolate milk had a good blend of proteins, carbohydrates, sodium and calories to help the body post-run. Every now and then, I would think back to the article, and that I should buy some chocolate milk to drink after my runs. Now I do in those little school lunch cartons.

When I was looking for blog ideas last year, I came across the first academic study that claimed chocolate milk aided in muscle recovery. Nine cyclists showed better endurance (time to exhaustion and total work) following exercise when drinking chocolate milk versus recovery-specific drinks. This year, I found a second academic study with similar findings. Thirteen soccer players were tested, and chocolate milk performed similarly to a high-carbohydrate recovery drink in terms of muscle recovery responses.

These articles reporting on the studies offer some general details about the protein-carbohydrate ratio and the benefits of cocoa – NPR WebMD/CBS. Read up, then drink up.

Maybe you have noticed that races have caught on. The Atlanta Marathon and Georgia Half-Marathon both have given bottles of chocolate milk away at the end, and I am sure other races do to. It’s a very good way to end a run and good for you to…

However, I must say after running 13 miles, I am partial to a cold Coke (note to race organizers, please have cold Cokes after your long race). And I have plenty of experience with post-race drinks. I’ve had the basics – water, Gatorade and Powerade. I’ve had beer (or multiple beers, thanks to the Atlanta Beltline). I’ve tried those protein recovery drinks and homemade smoothies with protein powder. I am sure I’ve followed cold runs with coffee or hot chocolate. I just wrote a blog about how much I enjoy chocolate milk and how it’s good for you, too. It’s what I usually drink. Still, when you’re exhausted after a half-marathon, nothing beats a cold Coke, even in the Thanksgiving cold.

Let us know what you drink after a run. I have my favorites, but am open to suggestions.

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