TOP 13 Best Protein Powders for Runners Reviewed 2021

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TOP 13 Best Protein Powders for Runners Reviewed 2021

There’s nothing like the feeling of running at dawn, the sun rising across the land, giving a hint of warmth to the fresh morning air as your body starts to heat up.

But, I’ll be honest, the feeling is even better when you’ve got the best protein powders for runners in your body.


As much as running leaves you feeling fantastic, if you don’t have enough protein in your body you’re going to end up burning your muscle tissue.

That’s not something that you want to be doing. Running should help you to burn more fat and build lean muscle, not destroy your hard efforts.

Fortunately, there is a simple answer; protein powders.


Protein Powders for Runners

Our Rating


MusclePharm Combat Protein Powder
Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein
Amazon Elements Grass Fed Protein Powder
Vega Sport Protein Powder

I know what you’re thinking, protein shakes are what bodybuilders take to maximize muscle growth.

But that’s not their only use.

In fact, the real purpose of protein powder is to provide you with amino acids; these are the chemical components of protein and are essential to the repair and growth of your muscles.

The best protein powders for runners will help your muscles to heal, grow stronger and protect them from being used as an energy store. In turn, this will help you to burn fat.

However, if you’re going to run first thing in the morning, like me, you should consider taking a look at the best pre-workout supplements; they can give your body the boost it needs to work out harder and for longer.

Getting the best protein powders for runners is an important step towards your fitness goals or an improved ability to run.

That’s why you need to read this guide today!

Top 13 Best Running Protein Powder Reviews 2021

MusclePharm Combat Protein Powder

Review: A well known and respected brand, this is a great formula for your post-run recovery; and it’s won an award for how good it tastes!


  • 25g protein.
  • 4g carbs.
  • Certified as free from banned substances.
  • Mixes easily.
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee.
  • Absorbs quickly.


  • The higher end of the price scale.
  • New recipe may not mix as well.


There really is very little to fault from this MusclePharm protein powder. You’ll get the proteins you need without consuming vast amounts of unnecessary additives.

The fact that it has 5 different types of protein means that it will give you the quick hit you need and slow releasing protein throughout the day.

Vegansmart Plant Based Organic Pea Protein Powder

Review: This is one of the best protein powders for runners who are also vegan. It is plant based but tastes really good and is perfect for mixing with water or with a variety of other ingredients to make your own healthy smoothie.

It uses pea protein and even gives you a little fiber to help you feel fuller for longer.


  • 20g protein.
  • All 9 essential amino acids.
  • 5g carbs.
  • 3g fiber.
  • Contains anti-oxidant blend.
  • Includes healthy Omega-3.
  • Prebiotics to aid digestion.


  • Unpleasant aftertaste.


If you’re after a certified organic, vegan protein powder that will give you the boost you need post run then this is the best protein powder for you.

The fact that it has an array of other health benefits, including digestive health is simply a bonus.

Fitmiss Delight Protein Powder

Review: This is probably the best protein powder for female runners; it is certainly designed that way. The idea behind it is that it uses solathin protein.

This is a plant-based protein which has been shown to help with appetite control; effectively making it invaluable if you’re trying to lose weight.


  • Tastes great.
  • Gluten-free.
  • Contains digestive enzymes for gut health.
  • 15g protein.
  • 4g carbs.
  • Contains vitamins B3, B12, calcium, iron, magnesium & potassium.


  • Very thin shake when mixed with water.
  • Contains artificial sugars: sucralose.


This is more than just one of the best protein powders for runners.

It has enough other nutrients to act as an occasional meal replacement; making it an essential part of any runner’s diet if you’re trying to lose weight.

Sunwarrior Classic Plus Protein Powder

Review: This protein powder has quinoa, chia seeds, yellow peas, whole grains, and amaranth.

It is definitely a natural alternative which aims to save the planet by using only environmentally friendly ingredients and protocols.


  • All natural ingredients.
  • 17g protein.
  • 4g carbs.


  • Has a slightly sour taste.
  • Vanilla flavor has artificial sweeteners.


This is a great natural option but it should be noted that the mixture does seem to get altered on a regular basis; making it slightly salty, slightly sour or just bland.

It also could do with a little more protein.

Linwoods Organic Hemp Protein+

Review: This organic offering is good for vegans and vegetarians. It has several added ingredients which can help you to get the nutrients you need.


  • Contains an array of vitamins and minerals.
  • Good source of vitamin K and zinc.
  • Gluten & dairy free.
  • 40% hemp protein and 31% pea protein.
  • 16g protein.
  • 2g carbs.


  • Not certified or evaluated by the FDA.
  • Contains soy & potentially traces of sesame seed.
  • Could do with a little more protein.


This is a good product for those who are passionate about organic, vegan products. However, there are products with more protein in that could be more beneficial.

Amazon Elements Grass Fed Protein Powder

Review: Made with whey protein isolate this is one of the best whey protein powder for runners because it is designed to absorb quickly into the body.

Amazon may not be specialists in the field of health supplements but they are a big enough company to make you feel comfortable buying from them.


  • 25g protein.
  • 2g carbs.
  • 100% nonGMO from grass-fed cows.
  • No added sugars.
  • Soy & gluten free.
  • Made in accordance with good practices.


  • Contains stevia; artificial sugar.
  • Artificial flavor.


This is a great option and a candidate for the best of the best protein powders for runners. It has a good balance of protein and carbs.

The only letdown is the presence of artificial sugars and an unnatural taste.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein Powder

Review: Optimum Nutrition should need no introduction, it is one of the biggest health supplement providers and always give a top quality product.

The gold standard whey is no exception.


  • 24g protein.
  • 3g carbs.
  • 5g BCAA.
  • 4g glutamine.
  • 2 different flavors.


  • At the top end of the price range.
  • A new recipe has had a negative impact on the flavor.


This product is definitely geared more towards muscle recovery and growth than just recovery.

However, if this is what you’re after and you’re not lactose intolerant; you’ll struggle to find a better product on the market.

Vega Sport Protein Powder

Review: If you like mixing it up then this is the vegan protein powder for you. The protein comes from pea, alfalfa, pumpkin seed, and sunflower seeds.

It’s a well put together product although potentially has too much protein.


  • 30g protein.
  • 5g BCAAs.
  • 4 flavors.
  • Plant-based.
  • Certified vegan & non-GMO.


  • Possibly too much protein.
  • One study has suggested they have toxic metals and contaminants in the powder.


You get protein from the food you eat and you can only absorb 25g-30g at a time. This protein powder is at the top end of the scale; you may be paying for protein you can’t use.

Of course, you’ll have to make your own decision regarding the toxic metals.

Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder

Review: This is probably the best value protein powder for runners on the market. It is gluten-free, vegan, kosher and comes in a delicious chocolate fudge flavor.


  • 21g protein.
  • USDA Organic certified.
  • 3g carbs.
  • Zero sugar.


  • 150 calories per serving.
  • Taste is a little gritty.


This organic protein powder offers a good level of protein with a variety of other healthy ingredients.

But, it does have a few more calories per serving than most of its competitors.

Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder

Review: Isopure is a well known and respected brand that attempts to keep their products as natural as possible.

This particular one is unflavored, keto friendly and has plenty of fast absorbing whey protein isolate.


  • 25g protein.
  • Zero carbs.
  • Just 2 ingredients: whey protein & soy lecithin.
  • Gluten & lactose-free.
  • Supports ketosis.


  • No Carbs.
  • Doesn’t dissolve easily.


This is a simple mixture that will help your muscle to repair. However, it’s only good if you’re running to lose weight.

If not, your body will appreciate a few carbs to replace the energy you’ve used and keep you going; without burning muscle cells.

BSN SYNTHA-6 Whey Protein Powder

Review: This uses casein protein instead of whey. Casein is absorbed much more slowly by your body making this the best protein powder for runners throughout the day.

This shouldn’t be used for recovery but is perfect for maintaining protein levels throughout the day.


  • 22g protein.
  • 5g fiber.
  • 10g essential amino acids.
  • Creamy taste and texture.
  • Contains calcium, magnesium, potassium & phosphorous.
  • 12 different & delicious flavors.


  • 15g carbohydrates.
  • Added Sugars.


It’s a good recipe and tastes great but it is a little carb heavy.

This is definitely not the option for runners looking to lose weight but would be a good choice pre-run to give you an energy boost.

Naked Nutrition Pea Protein Powder

Review: This is about as natural as you can get, it has just one ingredient and no sweeteners or other artificial additives.

You can take this whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or simply allergic to gluten or lactose.


  • 27g protein.
  • 7g BCAAs.
  • 2g carbs.
  • All natural.
  • GMO-free.


  • Tasteless.
  • Concerns over processing & toxic metals.


If you want a protein powder that has minimal ingredients and offers a decent amount of protein then this is one to try.

The only concern is regarding where the peas are processed as the supplement does not have a good management certification.

Vegan Protein Powder with Probiotics

Review: This is another vegan offering that seems to hit the right spot. The company is based in Ireland and is still very small; which is why you may not have heard of them.

But, there is some real potential in this protein powder.


  • 20g protein.
  • 12g carbohydrates.
  • Protein from pea, pumpkin & sunflower.
  • Probiotics.
  • Organic fruits added.
  • No artificial flavors or colors.
  • Gluten free, dairy free and no soya.


  • Contains stevia.
  • 5g sugars.
  • Taste a little on the chalky side.


The carbohydrates are a little high unless you’re doing some intensive exercise. However, this actually makes it a great pre-run protein powder for runners.

Your Quick Guide to the Best Protein Powders for Runners

The best protein powder for you is a personal choice, although it should really be one of the protein powders on this list!

However, before you make your decision, you should consider the following points:

white jar with whey protein powder

Brand Reputation

It is essential to consider the brand you are about to buy.

Ask yourself how long they have been in business, how much research they do, and whether they list all the ingredients; including quantities.

It is also a good idea to look at some social media sites to see what other users are saying about a particular product.

This will help you to decide if it is the right one for you.


Protein powders can range in price quite drastically depending on where you purchase them, how recognized the brand is and the quantity you’re purchasing.

Make sure you know the cost of the product and that you can afford it over the course of a year. Then look to buy in bulk as it will be cheaper.

The Benefits of Protein Powders

Protein offers an array of benefits which is why it is one of the best recovery drinks for runners.

  • A quick & easy way of getting the nutrients you need.
  • Helps to rebuild & repair muscles.
  • Protects muscles from being used as an energy source.
  • Can decrease recovery time after an injury.
  • Tastes nice!


It is essential that you check the ingredients before you buy. If you are lactose intolerant you’ll need to stay clear of whey protein.

You can even find gluten-free, or vegan-friendly protein powders.

But checking the ingredients is about more than ensuring it fits with your beliefs.

You also need to verify that all the ingredients are listed with their quantities and that no banned substances are used. Ideally, the best protein powders for runners should be certified as free from banned substances.

Check out which are the best protein powder brands for runners, this connects with their reputation and will ensure you get a high-quality product.

Potential Side Effects

It is also essential that you check the side effects.

Assuming you’re not sensitive to any of the ingredients, such as lactose, or gluten, the worst side effects you can expect will be extra gas, or perhaps bloating; which is not ideal for the best running protein powder.

Check for a side effect disclaimer on the packaging and on social media sites; you don’t want to make yourself uncomfortable to run.

young woman runner running on city road


Check out these FAQs and then ask your own!

Why do runners need protein?

The average sedentary person needs 36g of protein a day. But, someone running just 1 hour a day needs closer to 90g of protein.

The reason is basic body function.

Protein is essential to the repair and growth of muscles, the more you run the more protein you’ll need to enable this repair and growth.

Protein is also a key component in a process known as mitochondria; which is the production of energy inside your muscles. The harder you train the more important protein becomes to fuel your muscles.

Protein powders are the easiest way to replenish your protein supplies quickly after a run; when your body needs it the most.

Is protein powder beneficial to runners?

Yes! Protein is essential to all humans but, as a runner, you’ll be burning more fat and building lean muscle through running.

Every run you take, places stress on your muscles and joints, causing tiny tears in the muscles.

Protein is the compound that allows your body to repair these tiny tears; in the process, your muscle will get stronger.

It’s worth noting that this doesn’t mean you’re muscle will get bigger; that only happens when you load resistance onto your muscles, such as strength training exercises or wearing a weights belt while running.

Is it a good idea for long distance runners?

Definitely. The best protein powder for distance runners is likely to be heavier in carbs as these are the fuel you need to keep going mile after mile; that’s if you’re taking it pre-run.

If the protein powder is just for your post-run then the same protein powder for short distance running is fine.

The effects are the same, boosted muscle repair time, improved strength and ability to train harder.

Should runners have more carbs or proteins?

If you’re looking for a good protein powder for runners it will depend on when you plan to take it. Any supplement taken before a run should have more carbs than one taken after the run.

This is again because protein is essential for muscle repair while carbs are needed for energy.

That’s not to say a zero carb protein powder is a good option after a run, some carbs are necessary to ensure you have energy post-run.

A zero carb protein powder is really only relevant if you’re counting carbs and calories while trying to lose weight.

Protein Powders For Runners – Final Thoughts

There are always some questions that need to be answered; if you can’t find what you need to know here about the best protein powders for runners then don’t hesitate to contact me for an informed response.

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