Runners often focus on what to eat before a run, especially if that run is a long distance event such as a half marathon or marathon. Even I get very conscientious about what I am going to eat prior to heading out for a run, no matter how big or small. What we often forget to think about is what we should be eating AFTER our runs. Runners can all agree that recovery is important but there are many variations as to what runners think will help that recovery. Many will eat some type of carbohydrate-rich snack or guzzle a sport drink with the hopes that carbs are what the body needs to recover. This is true to a certain extent. Carbs are definitely important to restore muscle glycogen that you burned on your run. Hydration after a run is also equally important so that you can replace lost fluids. But one key component is missing in the recovery equation, and that is protein. Protein is essential in helping your muscle recover because they rebuild broken down muscle fibers. Without adequate protein, your muscles will take longer to recover, and as many studies suggest, you will be more likely to suffer from burnout and symptoms of overtraining. Although most athletes generally get consume enough protein, it is recommended that we intake 15-25 grams of high quality protein within the first hour or two after working out. Active.com has chosen five great protein-rich foods to optimize recovery. Non-fat or Low-fat Greek Yogurt (8 oz.): 22-24 grams of protein This food has more protein per calorie than most other foods. Plus, it is a viable option for those who are lactose intolerant. Low-fat Chocolate Yogurt (8 oz.): 8 grams of protein This drink provides a 3 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein, so it replaces both glycogen and amino acids needed for your muscles to recover. Cottage Cheese (8 oz.): 28 grams of protein Cottage cheese is one of the most naturally-rich sources of the muscle-building amino acid, leucine. It is also a great option for athletes trying to lean up or lose weight. Eggs (1 medium): 6 grams of protein A medium egg has just over 6 grams of protein. It’s complete with all amino acids in the most digestible form. Pistachios (1 oz./49 pistachios): 6 grams of protein Pistachios make a nutritious snack and they are easy to take on the road. These nuts provide also contain potassium and sodium, two electrolytes lost in sweat.