After a long training run, it's imperative to fuel up shortly after with the right amount of carbohydrates and protein. The carbs help replenish your glycogen stores used up during your run and the protein helps rebuild torn muscle fibers. It's best to consume this meal within the first 1-2 hours after a long run. Your body will absorb the carbohydrates and replenish glycogen stores at a faster rate within the first hour or so after the run. The longer you wait to eat, the absorption rate will decrease.
Personally, I crave salt after a long run. I might have a sweet dessert later on in the evening, but it's all about the salt in the first couple of hours following the run. My favorite post-long run meal is 2 slices of whole wheat toast, 1/2 cup cooked Egg Beaters, 1 slice of cheese, and a little ketchup and mustard mixed (yes, I know, the ketchup/mustard thing may sound strange, but I love condiments). With that I'll have 1 small serving of pretzels or soy crisps and water. Water is key to rehydrating after a long run. I must admit, I do crave coffee after a long run too. Hot in the winter months, iced in the summer. I know it may not be the best after-run drink, so I commit to drinking a few glasses of water first, then the coffee.
Since my idea of a great post-long run meal may not match yours, here are some other great ways to refuel after a long pounding on the pavement:
2-3 oz whole wheat bagel with 2-3 oz turkey or roast beef, lettuce, tomato
Chocolate milk (made with 1% or nonfat milk) - this is a great option for those who can't stomach eating solid food within the first 1-2 hours after a long run.
1 cup whole grain cereal mixed into a lowfat yogurt
Apple slices with 2 Tbsp peanut butter
Toasted English Muffin with peanut or almond butter
Smoothie made with 4-6 oz lowfat vanilla yogurt, 1 small banana, any added berries, a few ice cubes in a blender