Welcome to this list of the best plant-based protein powders for runners and athletes who train intensely during race training blocks and also for those who would like to recover faster and build leaner muscle for the challenges that lie ahead. If you can recover faster then you’ll be able to get back out there putting in smart miles that actually count, rather than running on tired ‘always recovering’ legs. I don’t drink one after every run, that would be expensive, just the really intense runs like ‘races’, ‘speedwork’, ‘hill repeats’, and ‘long runs’. All these products for athletes are 100% plant-based, vegan protein powders.
Keep scrolling down to learn more about plant-based proteins and why we use them below or click here to jump straight down to the reviews of the best protein powders for runners.
What are the benefits of using Plant-Based Protein after a run?
Without going into too much detail, proteins are made up of 20 amino acids, and the human body is able to create only 11 of them. The remaining 9 amino acids, referred to as the essential amino acids, can only come from your diet. There are quite a few complete protein plant-based foods that contain all 9 of these essential amino acids while others may only contain a few of them, this is one reason why a varied diet is so important. Some examples of plant-based whole foods with all 9 essential amino acids are quinoa, buckwheat, soy, rice, beans, hemp seeds and chia seeds.
Protein is largely responsible for repairing and building muscle mass. During your long run, speed session, hill-reps or strength training at the gym you’re actually creating microscopic tears to your existing muscle. Muscle mass increases as those muscles are repaired (thanks to protein), making you stronger than you were before your exercise. It’s the protein that we eat that gets broken down into amino acids that give us the nutrients needed to repair these damages. The faster you’re able to recover, the more running you can do, which ultimately is the goal when training to become a better, faster, and stronger runner with minimal risk of overtraining injuries. I use protein powders much more regularly during training blocks for races because this is when I’m training most intensely, and need to recover much faster. Plant-based protein should be considered by anyone looking to improve their performance as a trail and ultrarunner.
When should you consume a plant-based protein shake?
It’s recommended that protein is consumed within the first hour of finishing a workout, intense run or race. It is also generally recommended that women should have protein within 30 minutes, while men have a 60-minute window for optimal muscle repair.
The 5 Best Plant-Based Protein Powders For Runners
1. Plant Works Nutrition (Editor’s Choice Award)
Plant Works Nutrition is, in my opinion, the best plant-based protein powder for runners and athletes who also work on their strength at the gym. This protein powder is my favorite in terms of taste and purity.
We first discovered it at the Hood to Coast Pacific City relay event in Oregon when we were given some to try at the finish line. By the way, if you haven’t done a Hood to Coast event before, DO IT! ?
Each serving of Plantworks protein has 20 grams of plant-based protein from Pea, Mushroom, Pumpkin, and Rice proteins. It contains 0g of sugar and 7g of fiber, and there’s No Dairy, Soy, or Gluten. It is also mixed with Adaptogens and Super Herbs to help you speed-up/improve recovery times, Plant Power baby!
Available at Amazon.com below:
2 new from $39.99
2. Organifi Complete Protein (All-in-one mix)
Organifi Complete Protein includes plant protein and also superfood meal ingredients which means it can be used as a complete fully-balanced organic meal, your daily multivitamin, and 20 grams of protein all in one easy-to-mix shake. I’m often hungry after intense exercise, so drinking a plant-based protein powder that combines a healthy superfood meal that keeps me full for long enough until my next meal is a huge time saver. This could be the ultimate recovery powder for those who run during their work lunch break as you won’t have to spend time buying/eating food in the traditional manner. It makes for a nice healthy breakfast option too. Because of its multi-use purpose and additional superfood ingredients, Orgainifi Complete Protein is our second best plant-based protein powder for runners
The superfood ingredients included are pea protein, quinoa, pumpkin seed, coconut, vanilla bean, monk fruit, real whole food vitamins, and digestion soothing enzymes. It’s also dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, USDA Organic, and 100% vegan.
Use our Organifi coupon code to get 15% Off
Although cheaper when bought at organifishop.com with our coupon code, it’s also available at Amazon.com:
3 new from $87.90
3. Tailwind Nutrition Rebuild
Tailwind Nutrition Rebuild Recovery shake is mostly organic rice protein supplemented with amino acids to make the protein complete. Rebuild recovery also has added carbohydrates, some healthy fats from coconut milk, and just the right amount of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium) for endurance athletes. This blend repairs your muscles very efficiently, restores energy fast, and generally makes you feel better sooner, which is the main reason we take protein after exercise.
It comes in ‘single-serve’ stick packs or in 32 oz packs for $38.99 which provide 15 servings, a great way to reduce packaging waste.
The ‘single-serve’ sticks are however a convenient way of taking your recovery drink to work or the gym, and at around $3 a stick, it isn’t too expensive.
I especially like the taste of the Chocolate flavor but will never say no to Vanilla!
Also available at the stores below:
1 new from $36.00
4. PBFit + Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Powder
PBFit + Protein has a really nice taste of chocolate peanut butter flavor because it contains a large amount of peanut flour (and also cacao powder), I love peanuts! PBfit + Protein comes in two varieties, whey protein, and vegan plant-based protein, but we have only tried the plant-based vegan version. It packs in 20g of protein per serving which mixes well with oat milk, almond milk, or even cows milk! To make things even easier, just mix with water, that’s how I take it.
PBfit PLUS Vegan contains Organic Pea Protein, Organic Peanut Flour, Organic Erythritol, Organic Coconut Palm Sugar, Organic Cacao Powder, and Natural Flavor. Simple ingredients are why I love all the powders on this list!
Chocolate PBfit Plus’ subtle chocolate peanut butter flavor means the taste mixes well with smoothies, shakes, oatmeal, pancakes, etc.
Available at Amazon.com below:
5. Vega Sport Premium Protein
With each serving of Vega Sport Premium Protein you get 30 grams of plant-based protein (the most on this list), BCAAs, 2 billion CFU of probiotics (bacillus coagulans), and tart cherry to support recovery.
Vega Sport Premium Protein includes pea protein, organic pumpkin seed protein, organic sunflower seed, and alfalfa with other sport-specific ingredients like tart cherry, turmeric extract. It’s also gluten-free, non-GMO, and certified vegan, with no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.