Hey runners, many of us know that protein is essential, however protein distribution is less spoken about and it sure is important! Protein is essential for us runners, enduring the slow long runs, or the speedy intervals. Whatever running you are doing, protein is key to keep our muscles intact, free of injury and to continue improving those times!
Protein has a minimum and maximum cap, meaning if we have low protein consumption in the first half of the day, we cannot suddenly consume loads of protein at one sitting later in the day to make up for this.
Muscle protein synthesis is increased by 25% when protein is distributed evenly throughout the day compared to when intake is skewed. This can be viewed in the graphs above. So, if we want our muscles to recover in the best possible way after a run, we need to ensure we spread out our protein intake throughout the day.
There is a minimum threshold amount of leucine (protein amino acid) required to stimulate muscular repair. This threshold lasts 3-4hours. After this time, it drops back to baseline. This means, an evenly distributed intake of protein throughout the day, 3 meals and 2 snacks at 15-40g protein (depending on your individual needs), helps to maximise muscle protein synthesis.
Take home message: If you are looking to rebuild muscle fibres post exercise and recover faster… spread your protein out evenly throughout your day and your muscles will thank you later.