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PhD X H&B: A guide to protein for running

man running
Should runners have protein? The team at PhD explain why protein plays a vital role in endurance training and how it aids in muscle repair and recovery.

Want to know why protein plays a vital role in endurance training? And how it aids in muscle repair and recovery? Renowned nutritionist Dr Sean Aspinall (MSc, PhD), explores just that and shares which proteins he recommends, from whey and casein options to vegan-friendly alternatives like Diet Plant Protein. Achieve your performance goals with the right protein intake for effective recovery.

Join us as Dr. Aspinall unveils the significance of protein as the secret ingredient for optimal post-marathon recovery.

What exactly is protein, and what purposes does it serve in the body?

Proteins are intricate, large molecules that have numerous roles within the body. While they are commonly associated with muscle building, proteins are also essential for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's tissues and organs.1

What role does protein play in running?


Traditionally, endurance athletes have prioritised carbohydrates as their primary macronutrient, with protein taking a backseat in terms of importance.  

However, when the objective of training is to improve performance, adequate protein intake becomes vital for athletes to support recovery and muscle function.2  

Why is protein necessary for endurance athletes?


Prolonged endurance sessions may cause significant changes in muscle tissue, resulting in damage to protein structures that require repair. While carbohydrates and fats help replenish energy stores, they may not directly contribute to the restoration and preservation of these protein structures. This is where protein comes into play. When protein is consumed, it breaks down into amino acids, which are then absorbed and transported to the muscles.3  

Within the muscle tissue, these amino acids serve as the building blocks for new proteins. Therefore, while endurance athletes should still focus on achieving sufficient carbohydrate intake to support performance, incorporating protein into their diet can help maintain and grow muscle mass.4  

Insufficient protein consumption is a common issue among endurance athletes. For individuals with specific dietary preferences, such as vegans or vegetarians, meeting the protein intake target can be even more challenging. While a diet rich in nutrients should always be the top priority, opting for a quality supplement can make it easier to reach these goals. 

Are there different types of protein?


For those who can tolerate them, proteins like whey and casein have been shown to facilitate greater uptake into the muscles, making them a serious consideration for athletes.  

Our top picks from the PhD range include Synergy All-In-One for a comprehensive option and 100% whey for versatile day-to-day usage. For those who prefer a vegan alternative, the Diet Plant Protein is worth considering. 

The final say


Now you know all about the importance of protein for runners, it may be time to stock up your food cupboards. For a range of different options, check out the selection of protein powders and bars from PhD Performance Nutrition.  

Written by PhD and Dr Sean Aspinall (MSc, PhD) 

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