Make sure you're getting enough protein

Runners of any age should consume 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight daily. So a 132-pound (60 kilograms) runner needs 72 to 84 grams of protein per day.

This amount is easy to get from either animal or vegetable sources. In fact, the average sedentary American gets around 100 grams of protein per day.

Some good sources of complete protein (containing all the essential amino acids) include lean red meat, poultry, fish, dairy products and eggs. One egg, or an ounce of meat, chicken, fish or cheese each supply about 7 grams of protein. A 1-cup serving of milk or yogurt supplies about 8 grams of protein.

The timing of your daily protein intake doesn't matter. You don't need to worry about getting particular combinations of protein sources at each meal.

Though almost no vegetable protein source supplies all the essential amino acids (soybeans are the one exception), you'll get adequate protein as long as you're getting enough calories and eating a variety of whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and vegetables. Cooked beans are one of the best vegetable protein sources; a half-cup serving provides about 7 grams of protein.

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