The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series is celebrating its 20th year running in Nashville this weekend. As a runner and sports dietitian, I often teach the importance of post-workout recovery. Getting adequate fluids, carbohydrates, and protein after a race helps your body recover faster so it is less sore and fatigued and you are able to get back on the course as soon as possible.

Luckily, refueling and recovering after the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series races is easily achievable. After crossing the finish line, you will be provided low-fat chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is an excellent recovery beverage for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s cold and delicious, which is always a plus after a sweaty race. Nutritionally, it contains electrolytes including sodium and potassium, which are important for rehydrating post-run. It also contains calcium and Vitamin D, which are important nutrients for bone health and help to avoid stress fractures. It’s 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio is ideal for post-exercise recovery.

Carbohydrates are important for refueling your muscle glycogen (energy) stores after a long or hard workout. The longer or more intense your workout, the more carbohydrates you will need to replenish. Protein is important for rebuilding your muscles and helping repair the damage done during exercise. Protein needs are based on body size and range anywhere from 15-40g of protein needed for recovery. To put it into perspective, an 8-ounce bottle of chocolate milk provides 8 grams of high-quality protein to get recovery started.

This is one of the many benefits of chocolate milk and how it can improve your recovery.

Whether you are running in Nashville, participating in another race or just heading out for a training run this weekend, make sure to rehydrate, refuel and recover with chocolate milk after you cross the finish line. Your muscles and bones will thank you.

Jill Merkel is a Registered Dietitian specializing in sports nutrition and women’s wellness. She is the owner of Nutrition for Endurance, a nutrition coaching and consulting company based in Nashville, TN. She works with clients and athletes of all ages and athletic abilities. In her free time, you’ll find her running, reading or traveling.