Training for a marathon involves running, and more running, right? Yes, but strength training is as important for runners as for body builders. Muscle strength (not size) is likely to help you run faster and stronger, which could give you the edge you need to excel at distance running.

Did you know?

Distance running can decrease muscle strength, especially if you are running for long hours without adequate nutrition. Muscle tissues are mobilised as energy reserves through catabolic processes during endurance training. Recovery nutrition plays a key role in maintaining and strengthening muscles.


Protein provides the body with amino acids, the building blocks for muscle tissues.

Magnesium plays an important role in building and maintaining muscle strength.

The WHEY to go

Whey protein is valuable nutrition for runners, as it contains the essential branched-chain amino acids (BCAA). BCAA help with the recovery of over-trained muscle tissues and support the building of muscle tissue. To get the maximum benefit, 10-20g whey protein should be consumed within the first 30 minutes or at least within the first hour after an intense workout.

Get your whey

Whey protein is derived from milk and can be found in these foods:

Milk or plain yoghurt: 250-500ml

Whey protein powder / supplements: 2 scoops / tablespoons mixed with water or milk

What if you are vegetarian or have a dairy intolerance?

Pea protein is the nearest equivalent in the combination of amino acids found in whey protein.

Supplement Shopping List:

Magnesium tablets

Whey protein powder (or pea protein powder)

Protein bars and snacks

10 Protein Food Sources

Eggs (boiled, poached, scrambled, quiche)

Meat (lean red meat)

Chicken (grilled, without skin)

Fish (tinned sardines, pilchards, fish cakes)

Soya (soya beans, tofu, soya milk, edamame beans)

Pulses (lentils, mung beans)

Dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese)

Peanuts (peanuts, peanut butter)

Nuts (cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds)

Seeds (sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds)

10 Magnesium Food Sources

Red meat

Dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, swiss chard, rocket)

Dark chocolate

Pumpkin seeds




Cashew nuts

Edamame beans


10 Protein & Magnesium Snack / Meal Ideas

Chocolate yoghurt (1 tsp Nomu Skinny Hot Chocolate mixed into 1 cup full cream yoghurt)

Almond, banana & whey protein smoothie

Spinach salad with avocado, feta cheese & pumpkin seeds

Spinach & feta mini quiches

Mini meatballs (chicken or beef)

Edamame beans & avocado

Boiled eggs & avocado

Yoghurt with banana, coconut & dark chocolate shavings

Toast with peanut butter and banana slices

Biltong salad with rocket and cashew nuts

Protein questions answered

Q: Are protein supplements more effective than protein foods?

A: No, even though protein shakes and supplements are sometimes more convenient to transport and measure, they are not more valuable or effective compared with protein from foods.

Q: How much protein should one take after exercise to support muscle strength?

A: The amount is almost less important than the timing. It is recommended to consume protein within 30 minutes to one hour after exercise. The ideal amount would be 10-20 grams of protein, from a food item or protein supplement.

Q: Should I take protein during exercise?

A: Usually not, unless you do high intensity endurance training that lasts longer than three hours. The best time to take protein to support muscle strength is 30-60 minutes after exercise.


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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.