Leucine for recovery and endurance vs. speed

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

I’m writing this before heading out for a camping trip. I’ll be packing up my tent for the return trip home when this appears so sorry if I seem a little short this week.

Leucine

We all know by now that taking in a protein/carbohydrate combination as soon as possible after a run will improve our recovery, right?

Well, now we know that leucine also plays a role.

First, what is leucine? In short, it’s an essential amino acid that the human body can’t produce so we have to get it from our diet. For more, see this Wikipedia article on it.

The good news? The super recovery drink known as chocolate milk has some leucine in it. Not quite at the levels used in the study but it’s there at some levels. Other options would be soybeans (chocolate soy milk?) and peanuts (some people like peanut butter as part of a post-run recovery meal). Again, you can see the Wikipedia article for more sources.

Endurance vs. speed

The eternal debate: how much endurance training do we need and how much speed training? It’s all about finding the right balance. Unfortunately, in today’s world, too many people want debates to be far more polarized. So we end up hearing that the best way to improve your aerobic capacity is HIIT training and you don’t need to train with long, easy or moderate workouts if you just do your HIIT training.

Steve Magness, one of my favorite bloggers, explored this in the context of the recent World Cup. Not surprisingly, he came to the conclusion that it’s all about finding the right balance.

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