Food, Fuel & Running Blog: Protein for Recovery & Repair

Our body needs protein for growth and repair and this is especially important when recovering from training runs or races where we place our body under extra stress.
Every single cell of our body is made up from building blocks of protein and when we damage these cells through our daily activities we need to ensure we are getting quality protein back into the system to allow them to heal and repair quickly.
If training intensely then this is of critical importance as without replenishing protein stores you can notice more niggles and injuries that seem to take longer to repair.  
Lou ShannonWe can get protein from a variety of sources such as meat, fish and eggs as well as dairy products such a milk, cheeses and yoghurts. People often overlook one of the best and possibly healthiest sources of protein which are lentils, pulses and beans. These options are lower in fat and often much cheaper than meat and dairy products.
Making sure you get the source of your protein right is vitally important as many of the foods such as cheeses and red meats can be high in saturated fats which can undermine all the hard training you have done.
Protein top tips:
  • We should aim to have 2-3 servings of dairy a day – a serving of cheese equates to a small matchbook size (unfortunately NOT the jumbo cooks matches).
  • We should aim to have 2-3 portions of meat, fish or pulses a day.  A serving equates to about the palm of your hand.
  • Try not to eat more than 70g of red meat a day.
  • Try to keep intake of processed meats to a minimum! Not only are they often higher in salt and saturated fat they have been linked to increased risk of bowel cancer.
  • Why not give fish a try?  They are an excellent source of protein and offer essential amino acids and omega oils that we often miss from our diet if we don’t eat fish on a regular basis.   It also tends to be lower in saturated fats compared to red meat.
  • Lentils and pulses are a runner’s secret weapon.  They provide excellent sources of protein for recovery and repair whilst being naturally lower in fat.   They are also a source of vitamins, minerals and fibre and are cheap.     Not only that they contribute to your 5 A Day and are easy to throw into soups and stews. What’s not to love?
  • Protein shakes and bars are often a firm favourite of runners – but id much prefer to tuck into a lovely protein based meal such as smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on a wholemeal bagel. Yum!
  • Why not try a lentil and vegetable cobbler dish or this fish pie recipe for the perfect post run protein boost!

Plodder Leader – Lou Shannon (AKA Mother Hen)
BSc Hons Biomedical Science

Lou set up Plodders in Halton in April 2012 with the support of Sport Cheshire through the Run England programme. With a background in fitness, nutrition and health Lou combines her industry experience and job as a food and health officer to support her Plodding community to make positive lifestyle changes to improve their overall wellbeing.


The eatwell plate. NHS Choices

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