Firstly to replace all the calories you have burned and to refuel your body with all the nutrients it needs to recover from its exertions.
Secondly to reward yourself for all the hard work during the actual marathon and all the efforts of training.
I know using food, especially bad junk type food as a reward is not a healthy mindset but hey we all do it, right?!
To be honest following this latest marathon I haven't had a massive appetite. Directly after running I felt empty and quickly consumed some water, a lucozade and a mars bar from my race goodie bag along with a tortilla wrap. But other than that I didn't feel hungry and writing this article three days on I still haven't had a huge hunger.
Come an hour or two later I still didn't feel that hungry. Not really knowing what I wanted to eat only knowing I should eat we headed to wetherspoons as I knew they at least provided a wide range of food options, my selection was a Mexican chicken burger and two pints of cool refreshing cider.
To be honest I struggled to finish! It wasn't the greatest burger but was perfectly edible and wetherspoon chips are a personal favourite but I just couldn't really manage it all.
I know your body including your stomach takes an absolute hammering during a marathon and its not easy for your stomach to recover from all the sickly sugary energy gels and lucozades.
Later on in the evening I tucked into a few sweet treats, again not through a sense of need or hunger but from a sense of reward and entitlement.
What the old marketing phrase? A finger of fudge is just enough to give the kids a treat? Or in my case a whole pack is just enough to give the marathon runner his chocolate fix!
My post marathon sugary eating binges are nothing new, after the Beachy Head Marathon last year I consumed pretty much an entire packet of a Marks & Spencer chocolate biscuit selection pack at around 4am in the morning after the run as I couldn't sleep and felt bored in my hotel room with only the biscuits to keep me entertained!
Monday morning the day after the race I was sure I would feel ravenous after not eating that much on the day of the race so I eagerly looked forward to taking advantage of our hotels buffet breakfast.
I didn't really feel that hungry and to be honest didn't eat a crazy amount, my metabolism is definitely working overtime though as I didn't feel stuffed or bloated at all and my stomach soon felt emptish again.
Tuesday and back at work I treated myself to a Japanese curry as a nice break from my training staple of brown rice or potatoes.
I then carried on the chocolate eating with a pack of 'family sized' twirl bites.
I blame supermarkets for providing these snacks at such a cheap price and the advertising them as soon as you walk into the store!
After an intense training programme I think its important to let yourself go for a few days and just eat whatever as its hard to sustain complete healthy eating for longer periods. In my case its necessary to have a few 'cheat' days with another event coming up so quickly so I can get eating bad foods out of my system before I refocus on a healthy diet again.
Thanks for reading, what do you like to eat after a long run? Any favourite cheat foods or weird urges you love to eat after running?