This homemade citrus sports drink will give you the energy and hydration you need to finish your run or workout strong.
It’s hot out, so that 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.
Long Run Fueling Tips
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.
What Makes a Good Homemade Sports Drink?
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.
If you’ve got a long/tough workout on the schedule this weekend (or anytime this summer!), give this homemade citrus sports drink recipe a shot!
It’s a great real food variation on commercial citrus sports drinks and in my opinion is much more delicious. I hope you love it, too. And be sure to check out my Tart Cherry Sports Drink recipe while you are at it!
Interested in learning more about sports nutrition, fueling right without driving yourself crazy, and getting additional sport-specific recipes? Check out my Nutrition for Runners Program. It also includes training plans!
I’ll leave you with some related information/posts:
- Intuitive Eating for Runners
- Nutrition Q&A Myth Busting <— my Nutrition for Runners co-author and I recorded this – it’s free to download and we discuss a lot of typical hot topics and frequently asked running nutrition questions!
- What to Eat During Long Runs
- What to Eat Before and After a Long Run
- How to Fuel for a Marathon or Half Marathon
- Nutrition Mistakes Made by Runners
Homemade Citrus Sports Drink Recipe
Below is the full recipe.
Please let me know how you like it by sharing a comment, reviewing the recipe, and/or by tagging me in a picture @fANNEtasticfood on social media!
- 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.
You guys know I’m normally extremely anti-calorie counting, but for the purpose of sports nutrition, it’s important to know that you’re taking in enough calories/carbs during a workout. For that reason, I’ve included the nutritionals for this recipe below. It’s really hard to eat intuitively when you’re in the middle of a super long run. 🙂 Nutrition information based on recipe using 2 cups of water.