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If I put anything in or on my body, I prefer it to be completely natural.  That also goes for sports drinks and my on-the-run fuel. 

When I first started long-distance running many moons ago,  I used Powerade and Gu, heavily. If you know these brands, you’d probably know that it’s not at all natural. 

Running was my drug of choice, but Gu and Powerade made long-distance running so much better.  That stuff did some amazing things for my energy.  Sometimes after 15 or 20 kms of running I’d throw back a bit of Gu and then, zoom, I was going faster than I had been for the first kilometers.  Anytime I felt a low on the run, my Gu or sports drink would pick me up. 

But I’ve changed quite a bit since then. 

Now, when it comes to running drinks and fuel, I make it at home or buy whole foods because that’s what works best for me. 

Making your own sports drink at home not only saves money, but it also allows you to tweak the ingredients to find a taste and formula that works best for your belly and your taste buds. Plus, by making a homemade drink, you’re more in tune with what you’re putting in your body and you can choose natural, healthier ingredients. 

Here’s a tasty recipe that I prefer, with no artificial ingredients, flavors or colors.  Just the way I like it!

Recipe: Laurie’s long-distance juice


  • 1 cup fresh apple juice
  • Pinch of natural sea salt or Himalayan salt (I use freshly ground Himalayan salt for high mineral content but any natural seas salt is also fine)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • Juice of two lemons

Add all ingredients and mix in a container.  Adjust the ingredients to your preference and taste.  It will last one or two days and can be used before, during or after exercise.


  • No time to squeeze lemons or only have one, add some lime or orange juice
  • Add honey for extra fuel (quick-energy carbohydrates) or sweetness
  • Add 1/2 cup of coconut water and only 2 1/2 of water
  • Replace the apple juice with pear juice or other fruit juice
  • Add more a pinch or two more of salt if you’re a “salty sweater”

Some other easy and refreshing homemade sports drink alternatives:

  • Coconut water with honey, lemon and a pinch of salt
  • Beet juice, lemon, water and a pinch of salt

Do you have a favorite sports drink or a recipe that works for you?  Please share in the comments below.  I’d love to hear from you!

Laurie Villarreal

Laurie’s an accomplished endurance athlete and has been running since 1998. She’s the founder of House of Running and a professional Running Coach, a certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, and Health & Wellness Coach. Laurie’s trained and worked with nearly 1000 runners since 2010. She’s a master in her field with over 10,000 hours of run coaching experience. Laurie helps ambitious professionals make running part of their healthy lifestyle through on-on-one online coaching and fun group training programs. She has a unique holistic approach to running, helping her runners think beyond running to realize their running dreams. Click here to find out how to work with Laurie in one-on-one online coaching.

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