I'm small (5'1" 116) and i run 15-18 miles per week. I'm training to complete my first half marathon in August in Portland, MI. But i worry that i may not have enough muscle to last through the race! Should i work on shoulder girdle muscles to hold up my arms? or is just running enough? Will a protein supplement added to my already calculated diet help?
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protein supplement to build lean muscle?(10 posts)
lol! enough muscle to last the race? you silly . . .
for endurance competitors, the limiting factor is stamina, not muscle mass. you want to train your body to do more with the muscle you have. if you gain muscle mass, that's SO much more more weight you have to carry for a long distance.
run more. right now you're barely putting in more miles in a week than you'll be putting in on race day. imagine training for a 50-miler while putting in 50 mi/wk. it doesn't happen :-P running naturally makes your body, and each individual appendage, leaner and lighter. as you're hauling less fat around, you also start to shed the muscle that was helping you carry the fat. this correspondingly decreases the amount of protein you need to ingest (any dissenters?) you don't need to worry about any muscles other than those in your legs and core (what's a shoulder girdle?) so don't! :) and protein is already the most expensive component of our diet . . . most of any protein supplement you take will immediately leave your body through your urine anyway. no sense in spending more money on protein, unless it's some yummy sushi! eat some nice raw salmon or tuna, and you'll never again think of processed protein. mmm omega-3's . . .
to wrap up: of course you have enough muscle. you've got 6-10 more weeks to train that muscle properly. no matter what, you're gonna finish that race . . . the manner in which you train your body determines whether you race fast or slow. rock it on!
tje210 I was just wondering if you could elborate on the protien supplements. I recently revamped my eating habits. I cut out all the simple sugars and caffiene, and was trying to eat 25 grams of protien per meal (3 a day) with a complex carb. I was using protien powder at breakfast with oatmeal and fruit. I have felt better more energy and strength. You commented that protien suplements leave the body through urine. Where did you learn about this?
Your kidneys process the chemicals after the breakdown of protein, but I don't believe the claim above that whatever protein you eat will leave your urine. Yes, you have output of protein in your urine stream, but if you eat a steak or take a supplement, it doesn't just come out like water soluble vitamins. Your body will take up what it needs and whatever it doesn't need it will most likely release in some form of urine or sweat. Protein also is less likely to be stored as fat if you have too much, as compared to carbohydrates. Here's an article for more information on high protein diets and different kinds of supplements available: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/planet4.htm
The article is geared toward body builders, but you may learn something from it. I personally am taking in a higher protein diet to train for a figure competition. When I was running long distance, I took protein supplements as well. They helped me not hit the wall in my first half marathon and were easier for me to consume on the go - instead of harmful sugary snacks.
Thanks Kate. This was, for me too, the first time I'd heard of the supplements leaving through the urine. I usually only use them at breakfast, and I put in some fax seed oil with it. I've been feeling much better since paying more attention to what I'm eating.
tje's point is that the question might better be reframed. more important to run more _miles_ if you want to be a runner. supplementing with protein is something that runners generally dont do because distance runner bodies go fastest when they look like this:
of course your body excretes excess nutrients (yes, including protein) and metabolites in urine and feces, but this isn't the point.
Well, yes running more is obviously better to help your running. Running long distances actually makes your body break-down the muscle (proteins) you've built up before the long distance. I'm not sure all runners are trying to achieve elite status like the picture above. I don't think protein supplements harm running, especially if your diet doesn't include enough protein for basic needs anyway. Every body is different and all people need different amounts of protein. I've found it helps me, but it may not work for others. A good balanced diet works every time!
Your diet should be mostly protein, then carbs then fat. If you want to add a protein supplement, high quality plant based soy is the best.
Protein repairs your muscles, carbs replace glycogen fuel in the muscle, and fat feeds alot of your tissue. I have read that even the thinnest marathon competitor has enough fat to run 40 miles. But you have to be using fat for fuel, not glycogen. This means a slower heart rate, which means building your aerobic base.
You definately should cross train as part of your active rest and do upper body strength training. But higher reps and low intensity.
If you take vitamins they should be food based.
It is hard to get what you need from food these days when one carrot can have allot of vitamins and another hardly any...
As far as your mileage goes, just find a training plan that works for you and use that to progress.
Just MHO. I beleive in a more rounded athleticism. Didn't mean to ramble. Good luck!
I just reread this thread, and I think there's a couple of points that could be teased out as different questions.
I think the original question was from someone who wasn't per se trying to be an elite runner, she mentioned in her profile that she's training for her first half marathon. She also mentions her concern that her arms and shoulders are tired after a run, and that she is small and doesn't have much muscle mass. These are legitimate concerns for a novice. And she's right to think about how to become stronger... she may have other reasons she wants to build muscle mass as well... and would be willing to trade off the decrease in potential elite performance (as that may not be her goal).
The next part of the question turns to how to gain the appropriate muscle mass. Should you just run or should you add strength training, are there benefits of adding upper body workouts to a running plan. I think the answer again comes down to a very personal choice. I don't think that at a beginner level there's any harm in adding strength training to your program. The probability that you'd build so much muscle mass that it would negative effect your performance is very low.
Finally, on the topic of protein supplements. A lot has been said and can be said about the pros and cons of protein supplements. Personally, I think that protein intake is rarely a limiter in a beginners ability to become stronger and leaner. But if I was concerned about being low on protein, I'd much rather get that protein from "real food" sources.
That's just my opinion though... Good luck to all in reaching their goals!
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