Much of the attention on improving performance is placed on the training program. The recovery period, however, is just as an important part of the process in optimizing results from training.
Endurance training sessions place substantial metabolic demand on skeletal muscle, which include the depletion of fuels and damage/disruption to muscle and body proteins. Increasing nutrient availability (i.e., carbohydrate and protein) in the post-training recovery period is important to replenish substrate stores and facilitate repair and remodelling of skeletal muscle so that it becomes increasingly aerobic in it's function.
It is well accepted that protein ingestion following lifting weights increases the rate of skeletal muscle protein synthesis and augments gains in muscle mass and strength. Just as importantly, but much less discussed, is the the ability of dietary protein to enhance skeletal muscle remodelling and stimulate adaptations that promote endurance characteristics in the working muscles.
Recent investigations have advanced our knowledge, showing that the ingestion of 30-40 grams of high quality whey protein immediately after strenuous training sessions and then another 30-40 grams two hours later can facilitate muscle remodelling by promoting muscle protein synthesis which increases endurance training adaptation. This simple nutritional strategy is a very easy way to ensure that we get the most out of every session and is also a practice used at the top level in every endurance sport.