Our bodies are built out of proteins. To build more muscle or to repair that which has been used in training (or to repair injuries) we need a good supply of proteins from our diet.
Having said that, most people get sufficient protein from their diets already in the West - those in the East who eat more rice / noodles etc and don't have as much meat sometime suffer from a lack of protein.
As a runner you need to ensure that you are getting the right amount of protein in you diet. Too little and you won't recover between sessions - too much and the excess just gets stored as fat in your body.
15% is a widely recognised percentage of calorific intake that should be eaten. This roughly equalates to 150g of lean meat - however there is protein in a lot of other foods as well.
Slightly more scientifically, we can measure our protein intakes according to the levels and type of activity that we do - in terms of an amount for each kilogramme that we weigh.
Sedantary People - 0.75g / kg
Endurance Athletes - 1.2 - 1.4g / kg
Power Athletes - 1.6 - 1.8g / kg
This equates to about 80g for a 60kg distance runner and about 140g for an 80kg sprinter.
As mentionned earlier, this may well be covered by your normal diet - it is worth recording what you eat for a couple of days to see what you intake is and then adjust it if necessary.
In particular, vegetarians and vegans should analyse their protein intake as it is likely to be lower than that of meat eaters.
Foods containing good quantities of protein include
Fish / Lean Meat / Poultry / Beans / Nuts / Eggs / Cheese
The information here is written by an athletics coach who has read widely into the subject and not a sports nutritionist, so is about gearing your food and drink to the practicalities of running.
- When to Eat
- How to Prepare for Races
- Calorie Requirements
- Losing Weight when Running
- Gaining Muscle Nutrition Advice
- Fluid Intake
- Energy Drinks
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Fish Oils
- Bicarbonate of Soda