If you know me in real life you likely know that I am a runner. I started running when I was 13 years old and pretty much never stopped. I went out for the track team in junior high because “everyone was doing it” and the coaches didn’t cut anyone. I chose distance running over sprinting because I wanted to be different. And the rest is history.
The past few months I have been training for a couple races that are coming up in May, the main one being a half marathon. It may sound crazy to some, but I really love long-distance running. I really look forward to my long runs on the weekends. I enjoy the planning and anticipation, the actual running and the recovery. This year as part of my recovery I’ve been drinking a homemade sports drink made out of tart cherry juice.
I’ve never been a big fan of Gatorade or other commercial sports drinks. They are too sweet for me, not to mention full of artificial colors and other garbage. If I drink them I usually cut them in half with water, but generally I stay away. (In long races though I do drink them towards the end when I need more calories and electrolytes. I take whatever the aid stations are offering.)
I think in my search for homemade energy gels I stumbled upon some recipes for homemade energy drinks on Daily Burn. I decided to try an easy one that was made out of tart cherry juice. Tart cherry juice has been shown to aid in muscle recovery due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Here’s what I’ve been mixing up for my post-long run recovery on the weekends:
Tart Cherry Juice Sports Drink
- 8 oz tart cherry juice
- 1 tbsp honey
- Scant 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 12 oz cold water
Combine all ingredients in a 20 oz water bottle and shake to combine. I usually mix it up pre-workout and leave it in the fridge so it’s nice and cold and ready for me when I get back.
I upped the amount of cherry juice from the other recipes I saw because the recommendation on the Choose Cherries website said to drink 10 oz before your workout and another 10 oz after. So the 2.5 oz in the other recipes just didn’t seem like enough to me. Bring on the cherries I say!
I can’t really say one way or the other whether this drink has helped my recovery. Maybe if I drank it for every workout I might notice a difference, but I am really only drinking it after long runs on the weekends. I can say though that it is really refreshing after working hard and it is a nice change of pace from water. And way better than commercial sports drinks!
The first time you try it the tartness of the cherries takes some getting used to. You can up the honey or decrease the amount of juice to start. Then adjust the proportions as you get used to it. Same with the salt. After I made this a couple times I stopped measuring and now I just guesstimate and pour everything straight into my water bottle. First the juice, a squirt of honey, a dash of salt and then fill the rest up with cold water. Done!
I’ll be mixing this up this morning before I head out for a 10-11 miler sometime today. Miles are getting higher as the race day is getting closer!