Summary: Amount and types of protein for endurance athletes
When it comes to fuelling and recovery for endurance sports, the importance of protein is undervalued. A recent study has shown that long-standing protein recommendations were underestimating the importance of protein for endurance athletes. If you are a runner, a triathlete, or a endurance swimmer, you need to eat enough protein.
So what is protein and why do you need it? As a macronutrient, protein performs structural and functional roles within the body. It also serves as a minor fuel source during endurance exercise. Protein is needed for the repair of muscles and connective tissues, including ligaments and tendons. These tissues are subject to damage and breakdown through their repetitive and sustained use during endurance training. Trail running may increase protein requirements even further. This is due to the extra damage caused the body by tackling challenging downhill and uphill courses. We don’t need to tell you about the extra impact this has on joints and the additional muscle recruitment required! As a fuel source, it is estimated that protein can contribute between 5-10% of energy used while running. This further contributes to the increased protein needs of endurance athletes.