Races are canceled, going to the grocery store requires planning comparable to an ultra, but running is more available than ever. Make sure you are fueling yourself on your runs to ensure great recovery and maintain a strong immune system.
In the early days of my career, I worked at PowerBar as a product developer. While we tested myriad ingredients, flavors, and performance with athletes, creating your own at home is pretty simple.
The key things to include in your fueling during and after athletic moments are: simple carbohydrates, electrolytes, and flavor. The best product in the world won’t do you any good if you can’t get it down. Keep in mind that endurance activity creates sweet sensitivity, so if it tastes too salty to you in your kitchen, it will likely be just right on the trail.
Coconut water has a naturally alkaline pH as well as naturally occurring sugars and electrolytes, allowing hydration and electrolyte replenishment on par with isotonic beverages. Because of the alkalinity, you may find it really easy to drink, or you may need to add a little bit of acid to allow it to taste more refreshing. Boost the flavor and functionality of coconut water by adding a bit more sugar, a little salt, and your favorite flavors.
2 cups coconut water
½ tsp salt
1 T sugar, honey, maple syrup, or agave (more to taste)
1 T lemon or lime juice (or cocoa powder for chocolate)
Optional: add mint leaves (mojito!), sliced cucumbers, crushed raspberries, a splash of pineapple juice or other flavorings. Get creative and see what tastes best to you.
Mix together, store chilled up to 5 days, enjoy during or following a run.
Much like an energy drink, the goal of a gel is to replace simple carbohydrates and electrolytes during and after a run. Gels are essentially concentrated beverages, so ensure you wash them down with plenty of water to avoid GI upset.
½ up dried fruit (apricot, cherries, blueberry, strawberry)
½ cup boiling water (plus more to thin to desired consistency)
1 tsp lemon zest
¼ tsp salt
1 T honey, maple syrup, or agave
1-2 T nut butter, optional
In a blender, combine the fruit and boiling water. Let sit about 10 minutes or until the fruit is soft and plump. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Add additional water if needed to reach desired consistency. Pack into a reusable gel flask and keep refrigerated until use, up to 7 days.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Recovery Shake:
¼ cup whey protein powder
2 T cocoa powder
2 T peanut butter
1-2 T sugar, honey, maple syrup, or agave, to taste
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
1 cup ice
1 cup frozen coffee (pro tip: freeze coffee in ice cube trays for easy recovery shakes)
1 cup water or milk
Combine in a blender until smooth. If heading out to a trailhead, blend this ahead of time and keep in a cooler to consume on the drive home.
2/3 cup nut butter
2 T coconut oil
1/3 cup honey, maple syrup, or agave
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 T chia seeds
1 T vanilla
2 T collagen powder or other protein powder
1 t salt
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
¼ cup chocolate chips
Melt together coconut oil, nut butter, and sweetener. Let cool slightly. Add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Scoop into 1” balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze the bites until set, about 1 hour. Transfer to an airtight container and store frozen up to 3 months.