How do we as runners feel about protein recovery shakes?
A couple years ago, I took to preparing a tasty protein shake after hard lifting workouts, and I now do the same thing after a long, hard run. This was based not on any advice from sports nutritionists, but on advice from gym-rat friends and anecdotal evidence (if Kara Goucher feels better after consuming a protein shake after a speed workout, clearly, I should, too). And I think I notice a difference in my speed of recovery — or is that just my mind playing tricks on me?
Sports nutritionists recommend refueling after a long run with a snack that has a 4:1 carb-protein ratio. Kathryn Parker, a sports dietitian who has counseled U.S. Olympic track and field runners, among other fancy-pants athletes (read my interview with her here), offers this formula to figure out how much to eat: Divide your weight by two, and eat that many grams of carbohydrates after finishing a long run. So an entirely theoretical 125-pound runner should eat 62.5 grams of carbohydrates. If we stick with the 4:1 ratio, that’s 15 grams of protein.
Seems like there’s enough evidence there to keep up my post-run protein habit, so I’m going to share my favorite protein-shake recipe here:
1 scoop vanilla-flavored Designer Whey powder (or other protein powder)*
1/2 c milk
1-2 frozen bananas
1 shot espresso (you can use instant espresso, too)
Blend in food processor or blender.
* Chef’s note: Runner’s World offers a similar recipe in its most recent issue. It gets its protein from Greek Yogurt instead of protein powder. If nobody in your house yells at you for buying this exorbitantly expensive treat, try subbing it for the powder and a little of the milk … and let me know how it goes!
How do you feel about protein shakes for post-run fuel? And other tips for getting your protein fix? Share them by posting a comment below.