Putting It All Together
The final step is combining what we’ve learned from our bodybuilder friends and applying it to running.
If you really want to boost the recovery after your hardest workout days, you should consider supplementing your nutrition with a protein shake.
Of course, many runners hear the words “protein shake” and immediately think of bulking up or gaining weight. However, there is a big difference between weight gainer or meal replacement shakes and pure protein shakes. Pure protein shakes contain about as many calories (130) as a tablespoon of peanut butter. So, consuming a protein shake or two is not going to cause you to gain weight; there simply isn’t enough calories.
In the evening, you should have one serving of casein protein powder with a glass of milk. Personally, I find casein shakes blended with milk to taste pretty good (peanut butter is my favorite) and it’s a great substitute for empty-calorie desserts. As noted before, casein will reduce muscle breakdown while you sleep, whereas Oreo cookies won’t.
In the morning, try consuming one serving of whey protein powder with a glass of water. This will halt the nighttime catabolism and spark muscle recovery. If you’re training hard, especially if you’re running twice per day, this will jump start the anabolic process. Drinking whey protein with the water will also rehydrate you, so you’re covering two important bases at the same time.
When shopping for protein powders, look for the first ingredient to be whey protein isolate for your whey protein supplement and miceller casein for your casein powders. In the whey supplement, at least 80% of the supplement should be protein (divide the grams of protein by the grams per serving). For casein, this number should be over 65%.
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.