Recovery Drink: 7 Runner-Tested Picks to Bounce Back Faster

Looking for a recovery drink to help you bounce back after a run?

You crush a training run or workout drenched in sweat. 

You run fast, long, hard or all three, until there’s nothing left in the tank. 

Or maybe you cross the finish line feeling like you’ve left everything on the course.

All the hard work you put in to get from where you are to where you want to be makes a difference.

But what you do AFTER you’re done is just as important.

If you want to bounce back faster, rehydrate, and limit the amount of time you’re feeling tired, sore, or exhausted after a run or workout, add a recovery drink to your post-run recovery plans. 

3 things to look for in a recovery drink

So what makes a good recovery drink? 

Ask your running friends or Google for advice on a recovery drink, and you’ll get a pretty big mix of answers. Right?

How to pick a recovery drink

Think about the primary goal...You want to help your body recover faster after a workout so you can keep on training. 

There’s 3 things a recovery drink should include, according to the University of Wisconsin Sports Performance Program. Here’s what to look for:

  • Carbohydrates. For easy runs and workouts, aim for 25 to 40 grams of carbohydrates. For long runs, a recovery drink with 80 grams of carbohydrates will help you bounce back faster.
  • Protein. When you run or workout, your muscles take a beating. Consuming about 20-30 grams of protein afterwards can help stimulate muscle repair and recovery. It’s one reason chocolate milk is a popular recovery drink.
  • Electrolytes. When you run, you sweat out electrolytes (minerals like sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, etc.) your body needs for all your essential functions, including running. Everybody sweats at different rates, and warmer weather elevates electrolyte loss. But it’s essential that your recovery drink helps you replenish electrolytes.

Tip: You can also combine a recovery drink with foods (like bananas, berries, milk or Greek yogurt), to help you get the right mix of protein, carbohydrates, and electrolytes to speed recovery.

7 runner-tested recovery drinks to help you bounce back faster

How about a little help picking a recovery drink that works?

There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with recovery drink options to find out what works best for you.

But if you’re looking for a shortcut, check out these 8 runner-tested recovery drinks. 

The GU Roctane Protein Recovery Drink contains 30g of carbs, 20g of protein, and the right mix of electrolytes to help speed recovery.

This one checks all the boxes…

  • 30g of carbohydrates
  • 20g of protein
  • Electrolytes including sodium, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and more to speed muscle repair and recovery.

It’s also the go-to recovery drink for ultrarunner and GU-sponsored athlete Corrine Malcolm.

Shop GU Roctane Recovery Mix on Amazon  

Hammer Nutrition athlete Jason Poole uses Recoverite after long runs and tough workouts.

Never mind the fact that Hammer Nutrition Recoverite has all the essentials you need to speed recovery.

That’s only one of the reasons mountain runner and Hammer Nutrition-sponsored athlete Jason Poole uses this drink.

“I like Strawberry Recoverite SO much that I often daydream about drinking it when I’m in the middle of a training session,” says Jason.

Shop Hammer Recoverite at The Feed  

If you're looking for an organic, vegan-friendly recovery drink, Hammer's got you covered.

Hammer Nutrition athlete Victor Sheldon lives by a simple code:

“Live every day like it’s your last.”

And he does...riding mountain bikes, jet skis, surf board, road bikes, and more.

When he’s done, he tops off the tank with Vegan Recoverite.

It contains all the essentials to rebuild and repair muscle + wipe out soreness and fatigue

Shop Hammer Nutrition Vegan Recoverite at The Feed  

Marathon Maniac member Karen Gordon finished 6 marathons in six months fueled by Endurox to go the distance.

PacificHealth Labs put this recovery drink through 18 peer-reviewed studies involving hundreds of athletes, and they found that it:

  • Boosts muscle glycogen by 128 percent
  • Reduces muscle damage by 36 percent
  • Speeds protein synthesis by 400 percent
  • Improves performance by 55 percent the next time you run or workout

Runner Karen Gordon used Endurox to run 6 marathons in six months, even after knee surgery.

“I used Endurox for recovery,” says Karen. “I not only made it through...without injury, but I recovered really quickly after each one. In fact, I didn’t have any need to recover. I could just jump right into the next one the week after.”

Shop Endurox R4 at PacificHealth Labs  

Besides nutrition bars and energy gels, PowerBar also makes a recovery drink with carbohydrates, protein, and electrolytes to help you bounce back.

Looking for a recovery drink to help you keep cranking on the bike or running miles?

Eric Zaltas munched through his first PowerBar more than 30 years ago during a bike race in Texas. 

After a few twists and turns in the road, he started working there to help endurance athletes go even further.

And then something unexpected happened. His company Pivot Nutrition recently acquired PowerBar, opening the door to new avenues of marketing and product development, including PowerBar Recovery Max.

“It tastes like a chocolate shake...” Zaltas told SlowTwitch in a recent interview, “...while delivering 20 grams of high quality protein that will jump start the muscle recovery and rebuilding process.”

Shop RecoveryMax on Amazon  

Skratch Labs Sport Recovery Drink Mix helped world-ranked ultrarunner make a comeback, even after some major challenges.

There’s a reason Skratch Labs athlete Hillary Allen is a world-ranked ultrarunner.

She lives by the mantra: “Just show up.”

That’s how she’s made a comeback after a nearly-fatal fall that broke 12 bones (including her back), a biking accident that left her with more serious injuries, and a sexual assault.

Showing up helped her go the distance, along with meditation and fueled by Skratch Labs nutrition.

“I told myself to keep showing up,” says Hillary. “...On days when I didn’t feel like getting out of bed or facing the world and its unrelenting challenges, this mantra helped me to at least give myself a chance to be better.”

Shop Skratch Recovery Drink Mix on Amazon  

Tailwind Nutrition founders Jeff and Jenny Vierlink created this recovery drink to make Runner's Stomach a thing of the past.

You ever vomit mid-race or spew everything at the finish and feel terrible for days?

Jeff and Jenny Vierling were tired of training hard, showing up to race, and then suffering the curse of Runner’s Stomach.

After testing a long list of homemade recovery drinks, they founded Tailwind Nutrition almost a decade ago to solve a personal problem and help other athletes go the distance.

“I was fed up with fueling issues hijacking the blood, sweat and tears of my training,” says Jeff. “I wanted to find an endurance product that spared my gut, was easy to use and with a taste and texture that would propel me to the finish line.”

Shop Tailwind Recovery Mix on Amazon    

Choose a recovery drink to go the distance

If you want to be a better runner, choose a recovery drink to help you go the distance.

This list includes a few runner-tested recovery drinks that work. But there are many others to choose from.

Just make sure they include a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and electrolytes or complete your recovery with a drink + food. 

What’s your go-to recovery drink for running? Leave a comment or create a Weeview for your favorite recovery drink. 

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David Moore I always go for chocolate recovery shakes, but the GU Vanilla Bean sounds pretty good.

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