Before I began looking carefully at my diet from a training perspective I never really paid much attention to my protein intake. I presumed that bodybuilders and rugby players were the only ones who needed to monitor their protein and make a determined effort to eat more.
Recently I’ve come to the understanding that even endurance athletes need to carefully monitor their protein intake if they are to avoid injury and get the full benefits from their training.
On a very basic level, protein is what helps build and repair our body tissues. This includes muscles, ligaments and tendons. A training session will break down muscle fibres to allow natural adaptations to take place. Over a period of 36 hours after training these fibres will rebuild to be bigger, stronger and more effective. How they rebuild depends on the type of training you do. The problem many endurance athletes have is that, due to a lack of protein in their system, the muscles aren’t able to fully rebuild after training.
Next: How Much Is Enough?