Natural Sports Drink from Thrive

Whew!  I just got back from my 20-miler this morning, that which was postponed due to my feeling like crap when I woke up yesterday.  All better today though!

I did it in 2:38:54, a 7:56 minute-per-mile pace.  This is a little slower than the 7:45 I was shooting for.  My temptation is to list a million excuses about why it was slow, but I’m resisting the urge and just leaving it at that.  No excuses.  Hopefully I’ll be faster next time.

I brought along a Thrive raw energy gel, which worked well again, and a lemon-lime Thrive sports drink as well.  I’m really starting to love making my own sports drinks and gels.  If I don’t eat processed food normally, then why would I eat it when I’m running? Since my Thrive 30-Day Challenge is over and I don’t want to abuse the privilege of posting recipes that Brendan has so nicely granted me, I’m going to make this the last one I share on the blog for a while. Smoothies, sports drinks, energy puddings, energy gels, recovery drinks, vegan pizzas, energy pancakes, crackers and dips, salads, desserts… all vegan, high-raw, and energy-dense.

Ok, here you go.

Thrive Homemade Sports Drink Recipe (raw)

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Juice of 1/4 lime
  • 3 dates
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • sea salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  This makes about 16 ounces, so I usually make a double recipe to fill up my Nalgene bottle.

Alright, I’m out!  You’ll get a double-serving of me tomorrow, since I’ll be guest-posting on another blog as well.

For more posts (and recipes) on natural sports nutrition, check out the Running Fuel page.



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  1. Thanks for posting the recipe:) I am a little proud that I was able to suggest a meal that is NMA approved!!

  2. that drink sounds great! I love the idea of making your own instead of buying the ones with ingredients you can’t pronounce.
    .-= brandi´s last blog ..Healthy Snack Ideas =-.

  3. Glad you are feeling better today and made it through the run. How yummy do those stuffed peppers look? Great dinner! Hope class goes well today!
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..Turkey Meatballs & Lots of Veggies =-.

  4. Happy to hear your feeling better! Feeling horrible in the summer stinks. How’s the foot blisters? Hopefully better too. Looking forward to another hot run tonight. It’s in the 90’s here with what feels like 100% humidity. Should be fun, but no where near a 20 miler! Love the looks people give you when you go cruising by them. Some look at me like I’m nuts. Oh well! Happy running.

    • Hey Traci, thanks for asking about my blisters :). I forgot to mention it, but I wore my old shoes for this run. Still I had some irritation, but it was very tolerable. Plus I changed socks halfway through the run; I’ve found that really helps a lot.

      Yeah I get those baffled looks sometimes on really hot days, even just running around the neighborhood. When someone looks at me like that though, it inspires me to run even harder.

  5. that’s an excellent 20 miler! i wouldn’t worry too much about being off your target as it was still a very strong run.
    .-= lindsay´s last blog ..cutback of champions =-.

  6. I’m totally with you on the stuffed peppers – they just don’t work for me. Stuffed mushrooms are nice though!
    .-= Hanlie´s last blog ..Who could hang a name on you? =-.

  7. I make quinoa stuffed peppers pretty regularly based loosely on a recipe I found at the Outdoor Journey:

    It’s pretty good and has no meat base.
    .-= Blaine Moore´s last blog ..3rd Annual Maine Coach & Athlete Cross Country Clinic is Tonight =-.

  8. Hey! You are a machine! Glad you’re feeling better So I am intrigued – to me, you run at an incredibly fast pace and so I am just wondering if you really push yourself super hard every time you run or does a faster pace come quite naturally to you? I’m always thinking I could be running faster, as you said up there but for whatever reason I just… don’t. Just intrigued (and mega impressed 🙂 )
    .-= Angharad´s last blog ..Yoga newbie in the house =-.

    • Angharad, thanks! Trust me, I’m not THAT fast. But I am much faster than I used to be, so I’m proud of that.

      Anyway, I am following a training plan to qualify for Boston, and it specifies the times that I am supposed to run my three workouts per week in. On those three days each week, I am going close to as fast as I can maintain for the given distance. But this doesn’t mean that I feel like I’m pushing hard for the whole 20 miles. It’s a pace that feels comfortable at first, but by the 15th mile it becomes quite a struggle to maintain it.

  9. good work on the 20 miles – that is coming up for me in a couple weeks and no lie, i am a bit nervous! however, i am making some good progress on the domain change – i am hoping to have it finished by this weekend. i have a couple more q’s to send your way.

    loved your last post too – so funny about the role reversal in your house 🙂

    the quinoa peppers look DIVINE!
    .-= Holly (The Healthy Everythingtarian)´s last blog ..Walkin’ On =-.

    • Thanks Holly! Yeah, 20 is a scary number isn’t it? I’m not sure what comforting advice I can give you; you just need to get out there and do it, and don’t try to go too fast. Are you going to do it with anyone?

      Great to hear about the domain change stuff. I think you’ll be so glad once it’s done and you get do a few things to make search engines notice you more. My Google search numbers just keep climbing; it’s amazing! For the past few days, searches for “gnocchi recipe” have had mine #1, followed by Mario Batali’s and Michael Chiarello’s, among others. Funny.

  10. I got the Thrive book and love it. However, I haven’t made any of the sports drinks yet b/c I don’t carry my own drinks during a marathon and therefore don’t want to train with something I won’t be using on THE day. Just curious – do you plan on carrying your own drinks and gels during your marathon?

    • Hey Dena, that’s a good point you make. For some people it’s really important to train with exactly the same stuff you’ll have on race day. I’ll just drink the sports drink and water that they have at the race. My stomach is pretty good about handling different sports drinks, but maybe it would be a good idea for me to drink regular Gatorade on a few training runs just to make sure. As for the gel, I’ll definitely bring my own rather than eat the commercial stuff, because I hate it! RaceReady makes shorts that have lots of pockets, so carrying it won’t be a problem. Or maybe I’ll give it to a family member who will be there supporting me to hold.

  11. Way to go on the 20-miler!! Just goes to show that listening to your body and running on days when you feel refreshed is the most important thing. 😀
    .-= Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)´s last blog ..Satisfying the beach cravings…:) =-.

  12. This totally gives me an idea for a recipe I can create using the jar of TVP I have had sitting around for months 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!
    .-= Caleb´s last blog ..Longs Peak, North Face Cables Route – Colorado trip report, part II of III =-.

    • Caleb, when Colleen sent me this recipe, she suggested that I could use TVP in place of the ground beef. I don’t think TVP is unhealthy per se, but since it’s highly processed soy, I’ve recently not been using it except in dishes where it really would be nice to have that ground beef texture. And maybe this is one of those dishes. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!

      • Haha, well one of the reasons it’s been sitting there so long is because I have heard it’s highly processed. I still may eventually give it a try.

        I just made the energy drink sans the coconut butter and limes since I don’t have any at the moment and even without it’s still great. It even almost tastes like lemon/lime Gatorade, perhaps it would have had it had the lime.
        .-= Caleb´s last blog ..On starting to run… =-.

  13. Just to comment: I LOVE THRIVE! One of the best books I’ve read regarding training raw, or meatless. It’s my bible at the moment. So many great recipes. I highly recommend it!

    Thanks for the great post again! I’m only at mile 14 (of my marathon training) and I can’t get past this due to a VERY VERY VERY SORE shin (around mile 12) and sore hips… any advice? 🙁
    .-= Lori´s last blog ..Raw Food =-.

  14. (Is agave nectar really a raw food?)
    .-= Alex Lewin´s last blog ..The Case Against Dogmatic Veganism: A Short Reading List =-.

  15. Did you hear about the FDA recognizing the Bisephenol in plastics such as your Nalgene bottle may not be so safe?
    Tricky when running to carry stainless steel but why are we running if not to be healthy?

  16. Which one of Brendan’s books has the recipes for the raw sports drink and gel?

  17. Fishback Boy says:

    Made a double batch for my run today, the little date bits left in the drink after blending were a bit strange but I easily adapted, taste was good and it seemed to work well for me. Curious what the coconut oil is for in this one? And my son got a kick out of helping me make it. Thanks for posting this Matt.

    • Great! I don’t have the book with me right now, but Brendan writes that coconut oil “acts like” a carbohydrate in some way, in that its especially good at releasing energy that’s easy to use. He puts it in a lot of sports drinks and bars for that reason.

      • A fat is a fat to the GI system, regardless of the source. Whomever said it “acts” like a carb, is using some wishful thinking perhaps because it’s from a coconut (imagining too many almond joy bars with sugar). Fat is always harder to digest, digests more slowly than a carb, but it’s high calorie so a great energy source. The amt. added isn’t that much to cause GI problems though.

  18. Hi, I have a question, maybe kind of dumb. Does anyone have a rough estimate as to how much salt they put in the drink. I tried making it for my first time, and maybe overdid it. But don’t most sports drinks have a heaping portion of salt/sodium? So, pinch, spoonful, what worked for you?

  19. Hey – question for you. On my 20 milers i usually hydrate via a CamelBak backpack but would love to carry just a bottle – plus the camelbak is going to get awful hot in the summer time..
    The Nalgene 32 ounce you mention would probably cut it allowing for the 4-6 ounces per 20 mins of fluids needed..
    How do you carry yours? -seems like a stupid question i know but do you have a backpack along or do you simply hold it for 20 miles?

  20. Matt,

    I have a question for you. What is your opinion on the FRS healthy energy drink? I’m looking at the newest version which is non carbonated orange with 90 cals in the 11.5 oz can.


  21. How do you keep the coconut oil from solidifying? I just tried this recipe and when I went to rinse my water bottle I had a pretty white lump.

  22. If you don’t have coconut oil is there an alternative? What is the purpose of the oil?

  23. Hi,

    will be trying this out but had a question if I can replace water & salt with just coconut water? I read in other article that coconut water has electrolydes, is sea salt serving the same purpose ?

  24. I just made this…yum! I thought it would make me gag…the idea of coconut oil. But it’s actually quite tasty! Thanks for posting:)

  25. What a wonderful idea… however in my part of the world I haven’t been able to find agave nectar. Any idea what a good substitute would be?

  26. I’m vegan and am considering using either this recipe or the chia gel recipe as my primary source of fuel for my next marathon (NWM in San Francisco next month). I’ve figured out that I’ll need about 130 calories/hour. The page for the gel with chia seeds says it’s 110 calories. Do you know how many are in this gel?

  27. Michele Siconolfi says:

    30 Day Thrive Challenge – cool! I’m actually doing something similar, not so formal to call it a challenge, but been eating nothing but Thrive foods for my 3 meals for the past 2 weeks and plan to keep it up at least until my July 20th Oly triathlon. I only just tried the lemon-lime sports drink this weekend on a long bike ride, and I swear it gave me super powers! I can’t believe I waited so long! I haven’t tried BB’s gels yet, only because I can’t figure out an easy way to carry it, so commercially bought gels continue to win. How is the ziplock bag? Also how many servings of the gel is that in your picture? After my tri, I get back into serious running mode, and plan to be better with only whole-foods training foods for my next training cycle.

  28. Claire Clark says:

    Have made this drink twice now as a post run hydration. Only thing is that coconut oil is just not working in this climate. I live in NE Scotland and the oil is just not combining and just sticks on the sides for the bottle so I will leave it out next time.
    I am doing my first 10km on Sunday will have this waiting for me at the end

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