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I have been running for 3 months now and am not sure if i am eating enough protein. I am practically a vegetarian purely because i find meat makes me feel heavy and it is pretty calorie dense. I usually eat lots of veggies and rice/pasta and watch what i eat quite carefully.

I have previously done quite a bit of strength training and that usually requires adequate amounts of protein in order to build muscle. Is running the same, or do i not need to be as concerned about protein intake as i would be during strength training? I have supplemented my protein intake in the past and am wondering if this is also a good idea now.

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You still need adequate protein, but for endurance training, it's not quite as important as it is for strength training, i.e. if you don't get protein immediately it's not world ending. As brentw points out, the ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 carbs to protein is a good mix.

If your vegetarian definition is loose enough to allow dairy products, then milk or chocolate milk has been proven to be one of the best endurance recovery drinks around. If not, then you can make smoothies with a pea protein or similar to hit that combination. Make sure you follow up with solid nutrition later.

One of the concerns that you might want to look at (especially if, as your profile indicates, you are female) is sufficient iron intake. Endurance runners have higher iron needs as they tend to go through RBC's faster than the average person, due to the high impact in the feet. That tends to break down blood cells, and females have higher iron requirements anyway. Just something to think about with everything else.

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Yes Protein is essential after a hard workout. There are many studies that show muscle recovery is enhanced by consuming protein after a workout. Of course water is the first thing you need, then carbs, but protein is right up there.

This is from Dietitian Jackie Dikos (http://nutritionsuccess.org/about/) : Divide your weight by two, and eat that many grams of carbohydrates, plus 10 to 20 grams of protein after a hard workout.

USING THE 4:1 RATIO:

WEIGHT DIVIDED BY 2 = CARBS DIVIDED BY 4 = PROTEIN

125 pounds 63 grams carbohydrates 15 grams protein

170 pounds 85 grams carbohydrates 21 grams protein

Remember to drink water!

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