Protein for Runners
Protein is crucial to the regulation and maintenance of the body and plays a role in building and repairing muscle fibers, fluid balance (hydration anyone?), hormone and enzyme production, and maintain a healthy immune system. As a runner, it’s likely you need more protein intake than the average individual. Most people naturally consume enough protein, but are you consuming high quality protein that is enhancing your recovery? If your protein sources are not adequate, you may start to feel fatigued, have a slow rate of recovery and/or increase your risk of injury.
Intake: Aim for a daily intake of at least 0.55-0.77 grams/lb (aim for the upper end of the spectrum during times of heavy training and racing). If you weigh 130 pounds, aim for approximately 72-100 grams of protein a day; a 195-pound runner will need to aim for approximately 107-123 grams/day. As a rule of thumb, the body can only absorb about 30 grams of protein at a time. And remember, not all protein is created equally. The best suggestion is to eat from a variety of sources, including lean meats and fish (if you consume animal products), legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and greens.
Recovery: As much as is focused on how much, an equally important factor is the timing and quality of protein intake. It’s imperative to refuel with a snack or beverage within 30-minutes post-workout. Research supports that a 3:1 to 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is the most effective combination of macronutrients to support glycogen replenishment, as well as muscle tissue repair. Then a higher protein source can be consumed 1-2 hours post-workout as a meal or snack. Looking for a high-quality recovery drink and/or protein supplement? Back 2 Normal is an official retailer of Vega brand supplements and products designed to enhance performance and recovery for athletes – their sport line is optimal for post-workout beverages and protein supplementation.
Energy System: Additionally, the intensity of your workout will drive your energy expenditures. Intense, short bursts (interval training) will primarily use fast burning carbohydrates whereas longer duration, lower intensity runs will use more fat and protein as energy. During your different training cycles, you may need to adjust your protein intake.
If you want to learn more about protein for runners and/or Vega products, call Back 2 Normal at 727-362-6866 to schedule a session with their Integrative Health Coach. Additionally, checkout Back 2 Normal’s monthly topic on protein: click here!