Recovering from the NYC Marathon? Here’s what to eat

It might be tempting to reach for a slice of pizza or indulge in a big burger right after running a marathon. But the best thing to do is to reach for something easy to digest.

So says chef and nutrition coach Elyse Kopecky, co-author of “Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.” She wrote the new cookbook with Shalane Flanagan — last year’s TCS New York City Marathon winner.

The cookbook is a follow-up to the two’s bestselling “Run Fast. Eat Slow.” and features recipes that are quick and easy to make for runners, athletes or those just looking to eat healthy, nourishing meals.

For those running in Sunday’s NYC Marathon, a key thing to keep in mind is digestion, Kopecky advises. After logging 26.2 miles, blood flow is focused on your muscles, and away from your digestive system.

“Digestion might not be optimal after the race,” says Kopecky, who recommends reaching for something like a smoothie with ginger to help settle your stomach before having a celebratory meal.

The chef also recommends steering clear of protein powders, which can be hard to digest, and reaching for foods packed with protein and healthy fats, like scrambled eggs with sweet potato and spinach.

And for those days after the race, a nourishing soup, like the ones in the cookbook, can also aid in recovery and repair.

“Your immune system is pretty hit hard,” she says. “The soups can help prevent you from catching a cold, which you are more susceptible to right after running a marathon.”

Superfoods soup recipe

For a nourishing, post-marathon meal, here’s a recipe for the superfoods soup from "Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow." "This mineral-rich, immune-boosting soup is loaded with nourishing whole foods, including sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and kale," Kopecky writes. "The coconut milk has natural antiviral properties to help fend off cold and flu viruses. Plus the curry powder adds anti-inflammatory superpowers."

Serves 8

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 sweet potato (yam), unpeeled, cut 1/2-in. dice
  • 1 can (13.5 oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas
  • 3 cups chopped kale, stems removed
  • Juice of 1 lime

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring continuously, for 30 seconds, being careful not to let the spices brown.

2. Add 5 cups water, sweet potato, coconut milk, tomatoes and chickpeas to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes (be careful not to overcook). 

3. Stir in the kale and simmer just until wilted. Turn off the heat and stir in 1 tbsp. of the lime juice. Taste and add more lime juice and salt, if needed.

Reprinted from "Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow." Copyright © 2018 by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Alan Weiner. Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House.