During the 24 hours of sport there will be a huge emphasis on fueling the events, but protein will still play a critical role (especially afterwards for recovery). This is because protein is often called the building blocks of the body since it consists of combinations of structures called amino acids that combine in various ways to make muscles, bone, tendons and other tissues. Runners need protein primarily to repair and rebuild muscle that is broken down during exercise and to help optimizes carbohydrate storage in the form of glycogen. And whilst The International Olympic Committee Consensus on Sports Nutrition states ‘the importance of protein for athletes has long been recognized’ (Ron. J.M. et al, 2004) until recently it was only thought this applied to strength athletes.
Interestingly though, some experts are claiming endurance athletes (including runners) need more. In a study conducted at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada it was suggested ‘that endurance athletes require a greater intake of protein than either strength athletes or sedentary individuals to meet the needs of protein catabolism during exercise.’ (M. A. Tarnopolsky et al, 1999.) Put simply, this means because running training itself is so hard the body requires more protein to prevent it from entering into a catabolic state i.e. muscles begin to breakdown, the immune system is badly affected and injuries are more likely to occur. However having an adequate supply of protein and amino acids in your body to act as protein building blocks means that your muscles are able fully recover ready for your next session.
Which is why to ensure I am back training the very next day, my gym bag will be fully stocked with Protein Brownies, Whey Protein 80, Vegan Protein, Protein Cookies and a big glass of ice-cold Milk Protein to go to bed with.
Fuel Your Recovery...