When you work hard, you feel like you deserve to be good to yourself. It's true of a laborer who's sweated it out for his paycheck and finally reaches the weekend. It's the case with an elite athlete who crosses the finish line exhilarated but depleted. And it's true of your average runner who has the discipline and fortitude to put her body in motion to reach a personal goal and stay in shape.
But being good to yourself and treating yourself to something good -- onion rings and a cheeseburger, for example -- are two completely different things. Sure, something batter-fried or sugar-filled may seem good, but for our purposes, we're discussing foods that are tasty but nutritionally beneficial.
Not all workouts are created equal. A short run, say a two-miler, doesn't require much, if any, replenishment. Once you move beyond a 30 to 45 minute window of exercise, it's important to provide that miraculous machine of yours with both carbohydrates and protein. A run that lasts an hour or more taxes your body in such a way that you need to give it carbohydrates and protein in a particular proportion -- ideally, a 4-to-1 ratio of carbs to protein -- that will maximize immune function while restoring energy and rebuilding your muscles better than before [sources: Shea; English].
So, yes, you do deserve to be good to yourself. You also want to make sure you're getting the most out of your workout by replenishing yourself correctly. And taste is no small factor, either. With all those things in mind, here are some tasty and beneficial foods to eat post-run.