the best recovery drinks for runners

This past weekend, in preparation for my long run, I picked up a chocolate milk at the grocery store. With eight miles on the schedule, I really craved the comfort of a good recovery drink, and chocolate milk always does the trick for me.

best recovery drinks

Today, let’s talk about the best recovery drinks for runners.


First and foremost, we have good ol’ H20. If you read my blog, you probably know that I loathe plain water, but honestly, it’s just good for you. Water rehydrates you after exercise and exertion. It also helps flush out toxins that can lead to soreness. It’s your first defense in the recovery battle, and runners are well-served making use of this tool in their arsenal.

recovery drinks for runners

Coconut Water

Next up, we have water’s big sister, coconut water. Coconut water has a very distinctive flavor, but it also packs a bit more of a punch than water. It’s all natural and has the same rehydrating power as water, but it also has plenty of electrolytes, potassium, and magnesium. These attributes make it enormously helpful to recovery after workouts.

recovery drinks for runners

Nuun Sport

Nuun Sport is the sports drink/electrolyte replacer I always turn to when I need a little bit more than hydration. It’s fizzy, it’s flavorful, and it comes packed with the minerals you need to recover. There’s also a little bit of sodium in there, which is great for replacing the salt athletes lose when they sweat. That sodium depletion is what leads to cramps, so replacing that loss is extra important.

Chocolate Milk

Funny story. I have never liked chocolate milk. Once I reached adulthood, I never drank any kind of milk, other than in cereal or coffee. In fact, one of the tells I was pregnant was a sudden, insatiable need for milk. Once A was born, it went right back to being disgusting. However, someone suggested chocolate milk after at the end of a half marathon (which I initially thought sounded vile on all counts), but man, was it the answer to a prayer. Chocolate milk (post-run) is cold, creamy, delicious, and full of calcium and carbs to help build up and restore those tired muscles.

recovery drinks for runners


Which brings us to beer. So many races, from 5Ks to ultras, offer a celebratory beer at the finish line. Sure, it’s part of a social celebration, and it’s fun to toss back a cold one, but beer also has some restorative properties that are great for post-run recovery. While alcohol can lead to dehydration, beers with lower alcohol content shouldn’t negatively effect you too badly. They also have some electrolytes and some carbs, both of which are essential to recovery. Cheers!

recovery drinks for runners

What’s your favorite recovery drink?

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12 Responses to the best recovery drinks for runners

  1. Kim G says:

    I usually drink chocolate milk after a long run and beer after a race. I’ve tried to enjoy coconut water but I have never been able to get into it. Maybe I should try a few different brands?

  2. I’ve never been a fan of plain water, either, but seven months with Invisalign (ortho treatment) and I can handle it now. Coconut water, I probably need to revisit that option…it didn’t appeal to me in the least the first time I tried it. Still cannot fathom beer after a race LOL But, the chocolate milk? Yes, ma’am, and can I have a refill? 😉

    • runswithpugs says:

      Invisalign would totally have you drinking lots of water. I am all for Nuun and Buble (not a recovery drink, but I like fizz).

      Coconut water is a hard one. It’s just so distinctive, and I can’t think of a time where I was just “Hey. I NEED a coconut water.” unless there was a healthy shot of malibu rum in it 🙂
      runswithpugs recently posted…5 running goals to end 2020 strong!My Profile

  3. lately I have been doing milk with protein powder. Recovery fluid with extra protein

  4. I used to always drink chocolate milk after a long run. I haven’t done that in awhile! Its such a quick easy drink. I usually drink water and Nuun after I run. And sometimes beer:)

  5. Debbie says:

    I don’t care for chocolate milk but I’ll take a chocolate Smoothie for recovery! I also use Nuun and plain old water.

  6. Catrina says:

    Chocolate milk sounds so good right now!

    I don’t like the bitter taste of beer, but I agree it has some good post-run properties.

    I should try Nuun! Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Laura says:

    Nuun is my favorite recovery drink, although more than once I’ve reached for a beer after a long run!

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