Welcome to the next post in our series on nutrition and hydration for runners.
In one of our previous posts we looked at how much Carbohydrate you need to take in as a runner and today we are looking at Protein and why runners of all levels and abilities should think about their protein intake and not just focus on carbohydrates!
Protein isn’t generally associated with endurance athletes, and yet it is every bit as important to you as it is to those pumping iron in the gym. And no, you don’t have to use protein shakes – though they can come in useful when you need a refuel and don’t have a balanced meal to hand.
It is generally recommended that active individuals consume at least 1.2g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day.
If you are attempting to lose weight during your training, it is especially important to ensure you are getting your protein in, to preserve your muscle mass (which will help you run a race, of course, but also keep your metabolism from dropping).
For an 80kg individual, this equates to a minimum requirement of 96g of protein per day and here are some high-protein foods you could add in:
- chicken breast: 26g per 100g* serving
- salmon: 24g per 120g* serving
- beef mince: 22g per 100g* serving
- tuna: 17g per small can (72g drained)
- firm tofu: 13g per 100g*
- quinoa: 12g per half cup*
- brown rice: 10g per half cup*
- lentils: 9g per half cup*
- milk: 8g per cup of dairy milk, or 7g per cup of soy milk
- chickpeas: 8g per half can
- egg: 7g per average egg (60g) * uncooked
So you see, you really don’t need to be spending lots of money on protein supplements just to hit your targets!
However, some people find that getting the right amount of food in on a heavy training day can be difficult, and protein shakes can be a quick, portable, no-fuss solution. If you decide to add a protein shake to your nutrition plan, we recommend choosing one that includes some form of carbohydrate (often found as glucose, dextrose, or maltodextrin), to give your muscles the energy they need to recover from a hard training session.