Homemade Citrus Sports Drink
This homemade citrus sports drink will give you the energy and hydration you need to finish your run or workout strong. Want konw more? how to fuel a long run, and what to eat before and after a run.
The summer heat is officially on its way, and many of you will soon be ramping up training for fall marathons. This means it's the perfect time to share one of my favorite recipes from my Nutrition for Runners Program (<-get started for free!): this easy homemade sports drink recipe.
If you'll be running over about an hour, it's important to fuel during your run, ideally in the form of simple carbohydrates that are quickly and easily digested and turned into energy. As you exercise and sweat, you lose fluids and sodium, so it's also important to replenish these while you're working out, especially if you'll be running for well over an hour. For a quick rough estimate of how many carbohydrates you should take in while on a long run, divide your body weight in pounds by 4. This will give you a good starting point for the grams of carbs you should aim to take in per hour (for runs over 1 hour).
In the winter months, I tend to stick with water and gels/gummies or real food fuel to meet my needs, but in the summer heat, a good sports drink can really hit the spot – and help to avoid any uncomfortable GI situations or dehydration and muscle cramps.
There are three key components to an effective sports drink: fluid, electrolytes, and carbohydrates.
To stay adequately hydrated, you'll want to take in about 16 to 20 oz. (~475 to 600 mL) of water/fluid per hour. This number will vary based on how much you sweat and how hot it is outside, but it's a good starting place and you can adjust as needed. Depending how heavy and salty your sweat is, you may also need to take in some sodium; there's a little added to this recipe to keep you covered on that front. (Most energy gels/gummies also include some sodium.)
All the ingredients in this recipe work together to keep you hydrated and energized during your run. Orange and lemon (or lime) juice provide fluid and simple carbohydrates that are easy to digest, resulting in a quick blood sugar boost for immediate energy. Pure maple syrup ranks low on the glycemic index, so the carbohydrates from maple syrup are digested at a slower rate, resulting in longer-lasting energy. Water and coconut water both provide fluid, and coconut water is also a source of potassium, which helps maintain fluid balance and cell function, along with sodium. I'd suggest adding the optional coconut water for particularly long runs or hard workouts because of the extra carbs and electrolytes.
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 cups water (or 1 cup water + 1 cup coconut water)
1/8 tsp salt
Add all ingredients into a large bottle and shake vigorously until combined.
- Bruce Gao