Running Fuel: How to make your own sports drinks

While training for my Ironman last year I did a lot of research on hydration. I’d heard all sorts of horror stories about people cramping up into balls on the run course and muscle spasms that left permanent scars. Then I read Dr. Tim Noakes’ book Waterlogged and felt more confident that I didn’t have to drink gallons of water in preparation for my race.

In the end I was out on that course for almost fifteen hours but I drank only water during the swim and bike. During the marathon run it was water and then Coca-Cola. I did take a precautionary Noakes suggestion of putting just a pinch of salt on my tongue at the first aid station of the run. My body had the signal salt was available if needed. It worked because I did not have a single cramp.

Dr. Noakes has it in for the sports drink industry, and rightly so. These days the ingredients in the plastic bottle of a supplementation drink is just a mix of sugars, water, salt with a dash of colour to match the flavour advertised on the label.

My own hydration plan these days is to have a half a litre of water upon waking and then drink to thirst for the rest of the day. I always bring water on my bike rides and even keep a bottle poolside for when I want to take a swig. But running is where I sweat the most and sometimes crave a little something more than water after a workout. With warm weather upon us I’ve started to mix my own post workout sport drink.

How to make your own sports drinks
Zingalicious lemon and lime

Homemade sports drinks are ridiculously easy to make. Plus, you can invent any flavour you want and customise the ingredient ratio.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups of water (I use filtered)
  • 1/8 teaspoon Himalayan salt or sea salt (for minerals)
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered magnesium
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of sweetener (I use powdered glucose if I need to reboot after a workout, but you can use honey, fructose or nothing).
  • Fruit (whole or juiced) of your choice
  • Ice (optional)

Just throw it all into a blender and let it whirl away for a minute, then serve in a glass.

My favorite flavors are:

  • Lemon/Lime – I squeezed half a lemon and half a lime into the blender.
  • Blueberries – love these for their colour and anti-oxidant power.
  • Strawberry – you only need two or three berries to give a lovely taste and gorgeous color.
How to make your own sports drinks
Strawberry goodness


  1. Tessa
    Thanks Julia, with the weather heating up that's a real good tip. I find when I put a little something in my water I hydrate better than with just plain water.
  2. 5kblog
    Yes, many thanks, Julia! I have down-loaded Waterlogged and am engrossed!
  3. 5kblog
    Woops, that was me, Carole, talking for the entire 5kblog!
  4. Julia
    Tess: Summer is supposed to hit this week! I love that you speak for the whole blog Carole! :-) Waterlogged is an interesting book, I love that he has no problem saying "I may have been wrong in the past, this is what I now believe..."