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Global Running Day | 3 Reasons Why Collagen Is Crucial for Runners

Collagen is winning the race, yet again. Learn why runners are flocking to get their hands on this essential protein supplement.

Collagen is basically like Mary Poppin’s bag of tricks.

You can keep pulling out benefit upon benefit upon benefit—firmer skin, pain-free joints, faster recovery, and now...the new runner’s high.

It’s Global Running Day and runners are flocking to this noteworthy supplement. Read on to learn why…

What Is Collagen?

Before we dive into the benefits of collagen for runners, let’s tackle what it actually is.

When you think of a typical protein powder for athletes, the first one that comes to mind is probably whey protein powder.

However, collagen is surpassing even this world-renowned body-building supplement.

The reason collagen is so popular is because it makes up a whopping one-third of the protein in your body and three-quarters of the protein in the skin [1].

It’s quite the champ, except for the fact that its natural production begins to decline as early as your 20s, declining by 1% each year [2].

Most people just associate collagen as the fountain of youth. They’re not wrong, it’s just that it’s so much more...

It’s an immune supporterjoint restorer, bone strengthener—it’s all of these things and more, but how does it add up against whey?

The Difference Between Collagen and Whey

Both collagen and whey are exceptional sources of protein, but their similarities end there...

Whey is the liquid that is left after milk curdling. For decades it used to be deemed as waste but is now used to enhance gut health, protect skin from harmful radiation, and speed the recovery from resistance exercise injuries.

It’s a protein that comprises 20% of total milk protein and is rich in branched and essential amino acids, functional peptides, antioxidants, and immunoglobulins (a type of protein that the immune system uses to identify foreign objects within the body) [3].

If you’re eating a well-balanced diet of meat, fish, and eggs, then odds are you don’t need to supplement with a whey protein powder. You’ll be getting substantial amounts of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) that your body needs to repair muscle [4], [5].

Here are 3 ways collagen and whey differ:

  • Collagen is a protein that is found in the body of humans and animals—in bones, skin, nails, and connective tissue. Whey, on the other hand, is not found in the body—except for in the milk of breastfeeding women [6].
  • Whey products are derived from milk, whereas grass-fed collagen products are derived from bovine hide—a rich source of type I and type III collagen.
  • You can get your daily dose of amino acids without adding a whey supplement to your day. However, it’s quite a challenge to get the important amino acids (glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline) that collagen offers without taking a daily supplement [7].

3 Reasons Why Collagen Is Crucial for Runners

Just when you thought collagen was a “beauty powder” and nothing else. Now you can get your glow on AND enhance your running regimen with high-quality grass-fed collagen.

Get the scoop on the 3 things collagen dominates at...

1. Collagen Repairs and Restores Muscle

Did you know that you have approximately 650 muscles throughout your body [8]?

What about the fact that it takes nearly 200 muscles to walk a single step?

Your muscles are what coordinate your every movement, support your bones to maintain posture, and assist in generating and storing energy [9].

And of course, your muscles are made up of collagen, which accounts for 1 to 10% of muscle mass dry weight [10].

Supplementing with grass-fed collagen may speed up your recovery by restoring the breakdown of muscle from your run.

Be sure to add a scoop or two to your water bottle or post-workout smoothie.

2. Collagen Supports Tendons

Running puts quite the load on the body, and your tendons (and ligaments) are the key players in keeping it mobile and stable.

However, if they’re not well-oiled with collagen, then injuries like tendonitis can arise [11].

Here’s the good news:

  • Physical training like running increases collagen turnover in both tendons and muscles, making them more load-resistant [12].
  • Collagen and elastin are the two major components of tendons [13].

Thus, taking grass-fed collagen daily will keep your tendons strong and reduce their risk of tearing [14].

3. Collagen Provides Cushioning  

Tired of that nagging joint pain from those long runs of yours?

Collagen may be your long-lost answer.

In a recent study, 147 varsity athletes were analyzed for 24 weeks. One group received 10 grams of collagen daily while the other group received a placebo. As expected, the athletes receiving collagen experienced a decrease in joint pain when walking, standing, running a straight line, changing direction, and at rest [15].

This is because of two things:

  1. Cartilage is a rubber-like cushion that covers and protects the ends of long bones and joints (think of your elbows, knees, and ankles) [16].
  2. Collagen makes up 60% of cartilage. When your collagen levels are sufficient, the collagen surrounding your joints is restored, decreasing your joint pain.

Wear and tear is inevitable, but getting ample amounts of collagen (10 to 20 grams daily) can significantly reduce cartilage deterioration.

The Bottom Line

Collagen is winning the race, yet again.

It enhances flexibility and mobility, gives support to your tendons, and provides cushioning—all essential things to optimize your running ritual.

As you celebrate Global Running Day, add a scoop or two of Wild Berry Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides to your water bottle, give it a good shake, and enjoy.

As always, be sure to consult a health care professional before adding anything new to your diet, supplement, or exercise regimen. NativePath and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any diseases. All NativePath material is presented for educational purposes only.


  2. Skin anti-aging strategies 
  3. Emerging trends in nutraceutical applications of whey protein and its derivatives
  4.  Associations Between Dietary Protein Sources, Plasma BCAA and Short-Chain Acylcarnitine Levels in Adults
  5.  Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in humans: myth or reality?
  6.  Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix - Molecular Cell Biology - NCBI Bookshelf
  7.  Roles of dietary glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline in collagen synthesis and animal growth
  8.  https://archive.org/details/incrediblemachin00nati/page/306/mode/2up
  9. Physiology, Muscle - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf
  10.  Structure and Function of the Skeletal Muscle Extracellular Matrix
  11.  Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Combined with Calf-Strengthening Exercises Enhances Function and Reduces Pain in Achilles Tendinopathy Patients
  12.  Role of extracellular matrix in adaptation of tendon and skeletal muscle to mechanical loading
  13.  Structure of the tendon connective tissue
  14.  What are tendons and tendon sheaths? - InformedHealth.org - NCBI Bookshelf
  15.  24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain
  16. The Basic Science of Articular Cartilage: Structure, Composition, and Function 



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Medical Disclaimer
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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