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TOP 12 Best Recovery Drinks & Supplements for Runners with Reviews 2023

The recovery process is arguably as important as the training process itself when running is important to you.

The whole point of training is to get better, stronger, faster, right?

That means that after we stress our bodies, they have to adapt to cope better with that stress next time. This, in a sense, is recovery.

runner took break after running and drinking recovery drink

How Can You Recover as Quickly and Efficiently as Possible?

Recovery drinks and supplements can play an important role in the recovery process and allow you to push harder and further in successive training runs with better results.

The body is at its maximum capacity for absorbing restorative nutrients within the 2 hour window after finishing your exercise.

If you wait longer than this to refuel, you are slowing your recovery and hindering your successive workouts.

This article will explain what to look for when choosing the best recovery drinks for runners.

athletic young girl drinking pre workout after running

So, What is a GOOD Recovery Drink After Running?

Your body is put under different kinds of stress while running.

These stresses include dehydration, muscle soreness due to lactic acid build up, glycogen depletion and possibly minute muscle tears depending on the intensity of your work out.

Rehydration is easily the most important component of a recovery drink, but hydration alone won’t complete the recovery process.

You also need protein for muscle repair, and carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores. Protein and Carbohydrates also work together to maximize each other’s benefits.

For example, consuming protein with carbohydrates speeds the glycogen reuptake of your muscles and increases protein synthesis, resulting in faster recovery.

Consequently, the best post run recovery drink is going to have a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein and contain ample electrolytes including sodium, magnesium, potassium and calcium.

10-20g of protein is plenty, over-doing it will just stress your kidneys or waste your money.

So, in order of priority, what to look for in a recovery drink:

  • Ample water.
  • Electrolytes.
  • Carbohydrates.
  • Protein.

Lastly, bear in mind that the benefits you gain from any of the drinks below are going to be in proportion to the effort expended while running.

If you’ve just been for an easy 1 hr jog, a tall glass of water is going to do the job of rehydrating you just fine provided you eat a balanced diet the rest of the day.

Alternatively, if you’ve just run a marathon or done some gnarly hill reps, you’re going to want something a little more substantial!

TOP 12 Best Recovery Drinks for Runners Reviewed 2023

PacificHealth Endurox R4 Recovery Drink

PacificHealth Endurox R4, Post Workout Recovery Drink Mix with Protein, Carbs, Electrolytes and Antioxidants for Superior Muscle Recovery, Net Wt. 4.56 lb, 28 Serving (Chocolate)
  • Revolutionary patented 4:1 carb-protein ratio speeds up muscle recovery after intense workouts
  • Works with your body's natural recovery system to provide unsurpassed protein synthesis
  • Decreases muscle damage substantially when you use Endurox within 45min of after a workout
  • Increases endurance in subsequent workouts after using Endurox so you can always perform your best
  • Endurox is the only post-workout drink mix backed by science with over 18 peer-reviewed studies

Review: Designed for athletes and supported by 18 peer reviewed studies, Endurox R4’s 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio increases protein synthesis, glycogen uptake and endurance while decreasing muscle damage.

All natural ingredients include dextrose, maltodextrin, whey protein concentrate, soy protein and cocoa.

It can be mixed with water for a satisfying and great tasting post run drink that speeds muscle recovery and reduces muscle soreness.

Pros

  • 4:1 Carbohydrate to protein ratio.
  • All natural ingredients.
  • Includes glutamine for additional recovery benefits.
  • Includes electrolytes.
  • Includes vitamin C.
  • Great tasting.

Cons

  • Not suitable for those with soy or dairy sensitivities.
  • High sugar so only recommended after strenuous workouts.

Takeaway

The complete recovery package including carbohydrates, electrolytes, protein and the added bonus of glutamine, this is the best post run recovery drink providing you tolerate dairy and soy.

Vega Post Workout Recovery Accelerator

Sale
Vega Sport Recovery Tropical (20 Servings) Post Workout Recovery Drink for Women and Men, Electrolytes, Carbohydrates, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C and Protein, Vegan, 1.2lbs (Packaging May Vary)
  • Packaging may vary - You may receive our fresh new label, but it's still the great taste you love.
  • POST WORKOUT RECOVERY DRINK for women and men to help replenish your glycogen stores and get you back in the game, with 16g of plant-based carbohydrates. Vega Sport Recovery also includes electrolytes, zinc and B vitamins.
  • MADE FOR ATHLETES to help replenish glycogen with 16g functional carbohydrates, it also contains electrolytes, and B vitamins.
  • EASY TO MIX plant-based recovery powder. To power up after a workout, shake one scoop of Vega Sport Recovery into 1.5 cups (12 fl. oz) of ice-cold water.
  • CERTIFIED: gluten free, vegan, and Non-GMO Project Certified.

Review: This is another complete package. With its 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio, recovery is maximized through top quality plant based ingredients and the addition of turmeric, glucosamine, electrolytes, ginseng and maca.

Yellow pea and sprouted brown rice provide the protein while whole grain brown rice provides the carbs.

Pros

  • Top quality plant based ingredients so suitable for vegans.
  • Sweetened with stevia.
  • Ideal 4:1 carb to protein ratio for optimal glycogen uptake.
  • Includes electrolytes for hydration.
  • Includes turmeric to reduce inflammation.
  • Includes glucosamine for joint support.
  • Includes B vitamins.

Cons

  • Serving sizes are small at 4g protein and 16g carbs per scoop.

Takeaway

This is the best recovery shake for runners who want a vegan option.

Science in Sport Regio Rapid Recovery Protein Shake

Sale
Science in Sport Rego Rapid Recovery Protein Shake Powder
  • The complete recovery drink: rego’s blend of carbohydrates (23g), Protein (20g) and electrolytes with added vitamins and minerals, makes it the ultimate post work out shake. Consume immediately after your workout to replenish glycogen stores and kick-start muscle rebuild & recovery
  • Amino acid support: REGO rapid recovery powder contains soy protein isolate, which has a complete amino acid profile along with 2g of added Leucine to help support muscular protein synthesis and recovery
  • Lactose Free: Our Soy protein isolate formulation also means it’s ideal for lactose intolerant individuals. It’s also suitable for vegetarians and Coeliacs, as well as being gluten free, Wheat Free and nut Free
  • Informed Sport approved: Our world-class approach to banned substance testing makes us the nutrition partner of choice for world Champions and Olympians, including athletes at USA cycling, USA triathlon, canyonsram and team ineos

Review: With more of a 1:1 ratio of carbs to protein, this shake is a little protein heavy and carb light, but as soy provides the protein for this shake, this is a great whey alternative for those who can’t tolerate dairy.

Pros

  • Contains carbs and protein.
  • Soy protein for those who can’t tolerate diary.
  • Contains electrolytes for rehydration.
  • Includes a range of vitamins.
  • Great tasting.

Cons

  • Contains sucralose.

Takeaway

Mix with your favourite milk and some fruit for a perfect post run recovery drink.

Body Armor Sports Drink

BODY ARMOR Sports Drinks Variety Pack 16 oz bottle, 15 Count
  • Contains 3 flavors: Fruit Punch, Orange Mango, Strawberry Banana
  • Gluten free
  • No caffeine
  • Provides more vitamins than other sports drinks
  • Made in the USA

Review: Body Armor Sports Drink is a coconut water based rehydration drink with added electrolytes and vitamins.

It has no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners and tastes more like a (not too sweet) fruit juice than straight coconut water.

Its single serve packaging is convenient for those on the go (but not environmentally friendly). Users report a great taste and benefits including reduced cramps and dehydration related migraines.

Pros

  • 704mg of electrolytes + B vitamins.
  • No additives.
  • Only natural sugars.
  • Great tasting.
  • Caffeine free so ideal for recovery after evening runs.
  • Different flavors to choose from: fruit punch, orange mango, strawberry banana.

Cons

  • Doesn’t contain protein.

Takeaway

This is a great option for a refreshing, energizing, rehydrating drink post run, so the best post workout drink for runners if you’re going to be having a protein rich snack with it at some point during the 2 hour window.

Vega One Plant Based Protein Powder

Vega Organic All-in-One Vegan Protein Powder French Vanilla (18 Servings) Superfood Ingredients, Vitamins for Immunity Support, Keto Friendly, Pea Protein for Women & Men, 1.5 lbs(Packaging May Vary)
  • Packaging may vary - You may receive our fresh new label, but it's still the great taste you love.
  • MEAL REPLACEMENT SHAKE, blend a serving of Vega Organic All-In-One Shake with your favorite nut butter or a serving of fruit to make a delicious plant-based meal replacement smoothie for people on the go.
  • 20 GRAMS OF VEGAN PROTEIN from organic pea protein powder, organic sunflower seed and organic pumpkin seed. Contains all nine essential amino acids.
  • MORE THAN JUST PROTEIN. 50% DV OF 8 vitamins & minerals per serving, plus 4g of fiber, 500mg of Omega-3 ALA, Antioxidant vitamin a and c to support the immune system and Probiotics (2 billion CFUs bacillus coagulans). From real, plant-based ingredients.
  • CERTIFIED USDA ORGANIC protein powder is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and Non-GMO Project verified. Vega Organic All-In-One Shake has no grains, no added sugar*, and no artificial flavors.

Review: A plant based options for the vegans out there looking for a protein boost post run.

Vega One is made of organic ingredients and provides 20g of pea protein per serve along with a good mix of fruits and vegetables including, just to name a few: kale, spinach, acerola cherry and acai.

It has 50% of the daily recommended intake of 8 vitamins and minerals and 2 billion CFUs bacillus coagulans probiotics for gut health.

It doesn’t include enough carbohydrates to hit the 4:1 ratio but this can easily be remedied by making your shake with your milk of choice or adding a banana or some brown rice syrup.

Pros

  • Perfect amount of post-run protein.
  • Easy to make a quick shake or add to smoothies.
  • Great tasting.
  • A good source of 8 vitamins and minerals.
  • A good source of probiotics.
  • USDA certified organic and GMO free.
  • Dairy, gluten and soy free.

Cons

  • Low carbohydrates.

Takeaway

An almost perfect vegan protein shake for recovery owing to its top quality ingredients and hefty concentration of vitamins and minerals, just add some carbs!

Labrada Nutrition BCAA Power Post Workout Drink

Labrada Nutrition BCAA Power Post Workout Supplement, Cherry Limeade, 417 Gram
  • LABRADA BCAA POWER is a delicious BCAA powdered drink mix made using highest quality, fermented BCAA amino acids, fermented L-glutamine, plus electrolytes
  • The 2:1:1 ratio BCAA blend (2 leucine: 1 isoleucine: 1 valine) contained in BCAA POWER has been shown to be the optimum ratio in providing both amino acids as building blocks AND taking advantage of leucine's role as an anabolic signal in the muscle cell
  • Taking this BCAA combination immediately prior to, or during exercise will prime your muscles to respond to your training
  • Vegan Friendly
  • Clean, refreshing taste - Delicious

Review: This is a recovery drink focussed on high quality branch chain amino acids (A.K.A. BCAAs), the building blocks of protein.

BCAAs are a true muscle tonic in supporting their recovery and growth, and as the human body can’t manufacture them, we need to obtain them from our diet.

Timing is important as they are most beneficial directly after strength workouts (think: hill runs) and interval training.

Labrada manufactures its amino acids through a natural fermentation process resulting in a good quality product with none of the allergens that result from the conventional chemical solvent process.

Pros

  • Naturally fermented
  • Optimal 2:1:1 ratio of Leucine, Isoleusine and Valine amino acids.
  • Contains L-Glutamine for extra recovery.
  • Contains coconut water for electrolytes.
  • No artificial colors or flavors.
  • Multiple flavors to choose from.
  • Supports muscle recovery.
  • Vegan-friendly.

Cons

  • Contains sucralose and soy lecithin.
  • Only 2 g of carbohydrates per serve.
  • A little pricey.

Takeaway

If top quality amino acids are what you’re looking for, with the addition of electrolytes and L-Glutamine, this is one of the best products to choose from.

However, needs to be combined with a carbohydrate rich snack for the complete recovery package. One of the best supplements to take after running.

Legion Recharge Post Workout

Legion Recharge Post Workout Supplement - All Natural Muscle Builder & Recovery Drink with Creatine Monohydrate. Naturally Sweetened & Flavored, Safe & Healthy. 60 Servings. (Watermelon, 60 Servings)
  • 100% NATURAL POST WORKOUT WITH CREATINE MONOHYDRATE. Recharge is a naturally sweetened and flavored muscle builder that helps you get bigger and stronger faster.
  • BOOSTS MUSCLE & STRENGTH GAIN. With this post workout recovery drink, you're going to gain more muscle and strength after very workout thanks to clinically effective doses of creatine powder and L carnitine L tartrate.
  • ENHANCES MUSCLE RECOVERY & REDUCES SORENESS. Recharge decreases post workout muscle damage and soreness and improves muscle repair by boosting your body's ability to produce cellular energy.
  • GUARANTEED RESULTS OR YOUR MONEY BACK. If you're not 100% satisfied with this sports drink, just notify us and we’ll give you a prompt and courteous refund on the spot. No complicated forms and no return necessary.
  • THE MAN BEHIND THE BRAND. Tired of the exaggeration and lies of the supplement industry? So was Mike Mathews, international bestselling fitness author with over a million books sold, and that's why he created Legion Athletics.

Review: 3 key ingredients target muscle soreness and recover: Creatine monohydrate, L-carnitine L-tartrate and Corosolic acid. Creatine (formed from the amino acids arginine and glycine) is the primary draw card of this product, with its benefits for restoring energy at the cellular level.

For runners, creatine has benefits for lactate threshold and glycogen storage (increasing both) while also improving muscle hydration and acting as an antioxidant.

Pros

  • Naturally sweetened with stevia.
  • No artificial colors or flavors.
  • Vegan-friendly.
  • Contains a whopping 60 servings per container.
  • Significantly decreases post-run soreness.

Cons

  • Negatively affects some people’s digestive systems.
  • Minimal carbohydrates.

Takeaway

A great quality supplement to add to your recovery routine if creatine is something you are considering including. This is the best supplement for recovery after running.

GU Energy Recovery Chocolate Smoothy

GU Energy Recovery Protein Drink Mix, Chocolate Smoothie, 1.86 Pound
  • Designed to help athletes refuel, recover, and rebuild after training or races
  • Dual source carbohydrates (maltodextrin and fructose) to replenish glycogen stores; 10 grams of whey protein isolate to rebuild muscle fiber
  • Convenient powder mix makes one serving with 8 oz. of water, milk, soy milk, or almond milk
  • Amino acids blend: 1000mg of leucine, 2,800mg of l-glutamine, and 1,400 of l-arginine
  • Canister with 15 servings of great tasting nutrition

Review: Another great all in one package with a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein.

Each serving contains 10g of whey protein, 30g of dual source carbs: maltodextrin and fructose and a good serve of BCAAs.

GU’s smoothy powder can be added to your favorite milk with or without other ingredients.

Pros

  • 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein.
  • Includes BCAAs.
  • Includes magnesium, iron, calcium and sodium.
  • Contains arginine and glutamine for circulation and immune system support.

Cons

  • Doesn’t contain potassium.

Takeaway

The best recovery shake after running with the perfect amount of carbohydrates and protein to begin your begin your recovery and the added benefits of some BCAAs and minerals.

Gaia Herbs Turmeric Boost Restore

Gaia Herbs Turmeric Boost Restore Supplement, 5.29 Ounce - Healthy Inflammatory Response, Prebiotic Blend, No Added Sugar
  • [PACKAGING MAY VARY] Turmeric with Black Pepper supports a healthy inflammatory response
  • Prebiotic blend supports healthy digestive flora
  • No added sugar or flavorings
  • Add to your favorite mix or smoothie
  • Packaged in Earth Bottle Canister

Review: This herbal turmeric mix contains a prebiotic blend for added benefits to your gut flora, as well as other delicious chai spices such as cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, cardamom, holy basil and star anise, each with their own benefits.

Add it to warm almond milk for a cosy, restorative latte, or into a smoothy with ice and coconut milk for a refreshing shake.

Consuming a natural anti-inflammatory like turmeric is also far more beneficial that synthetic anti-inflammatories in pill form such as ibuprofen, as the anti-inflammatory effects are wide spread and gentle on your stomach without necessarily targeting the localized inflammation that may actually be beneficial in moderation.

The body usually knows what it’s doing so natural alternatives typically come with less side effects.

Pros

  • No added sugar or flavourings.
  • Easy to add to smoothies or just mix with your favorite milk.
  • Concentrated turmeric extract contains 42mg of curcumin (active ingredient in turmeric) per 1.5 teaspoon serving.
  • Great tasting.
  • Versatile, can be drunk warm or cold.

Cons

  • Doesn’t contain fat which can play a role in turmeric absorption.
  • Doesn’t contain protein so would need to be combined with a protein powder to form the ideal recovery shake.

Takeaway

This is a fantastic option for a recovery drink if used in combination with a protein source, speeding recovery through reducing inflammation.

Skratch Labs Matcha Hydration Sachets

Review: For a refreshing hydration focused drink, green tea is becoming as popular as chocolate milk for recovery purposes due to its high concentrations of catechins, antioxidants that help repair muscle damage.

For those looking for a recovery drink with caffeine to follow their morning run, a study has shown that green tea is a fantastic choice for supporting endurance and preventing decreases in iron levels.

However, a decaffeinated version will provide the same benefits sans the caffeine!

Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Mix with Matcha and Lemon provides the benefits of green tea along with electrolytes and carbohydrates for optimum hydration.

Pros

  • 380mg sodium with magnesium, calcium and potassium.
  • All natural ingredients.
  • Great tasting.
  • Easily digestible.
  • Less sugar than conventional sports drinks.

Cons

  • Doesn’t contain protein.

Takeaway

For hydrating drink, this ticks all the boxes with electrolytes, carbohydrates and the added benefits of green tea.

A great refreshing choice to combine with a protein rich snack for optimum recovery. This is best recovery drink after long run to rehydrate before you add a protein rich snack.

Coconut Water

Review: Coconut water is another fantastic option for a recovery drink especially if you’ve been running in hot weather and are looking for some help rehydrating.

It contains huge amounts of potassium together with other essential electrolytes and a good amount of carbs for immediately replacing your used glycogen stores.

Paired with a protein rich snack, coconut water is nature’s way of providing you with the perfect recovery drink.

Pros

  • All natural, unpasteurized.
  • No added sugar.
  • High concentrations of potassium and other electrolytes.
  • USDA certified organic.

Cons

  • Doesn’t contain protein.

Takeaway

Coconut water is a fabulous rehydration tool with a delicious, refreshing taste and more electrolytes than most sports drinks.

Pair it with a protein rich snack for the perfect post run routine.

Low Fat Chocolate Milk

Organic Valley, Chocolate Milk Boxes, Shelf Stable 1% Milk, Healthy Snacks (Pack of 12)
  • 12 shelf stable, individual organic milk boxes of chocolate 1% lowfat milk with straw
  • Ultra pasteurized (UHT) dairy milk, sweetened with fair-trade Dutch cocoa and unrefined cane sugar
  • Single serve milk boxes for kids. Perfect for lunch boxes, snacks, and on the go
  • Delicious, nutritious, organic milk from pasture-raised cows on small family farms
  • Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth, gluten free, non GMO, and Kosher with no preservatives, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, rBGH, or rBST.

Review: Finally, I couldn’t resist including some good old chocolate milk.

With its roughly 3:1 carb to protein ratio, chocolate milk makes a nearly perfect recovery drink and on a much smaller budget.

This brand in particular provides top quality organic milk from happy, pasture raised cows.

Pros

  • Contains calcium and vitamin D.
  • Natural milk sugars may be more readily absorbed than processed sugar.
  • USDA Certified Organic.
  • Milk from pasture raised cows.
  • Made with fair trade Dutch cocoa.
  • 20g of carbohydrates and 7g of protein per serve.

Cons

  • Small serving size.
  • Limited other nutrients such as electrolytes and BCAAs.

Takeaway

If you want something quick, cheap and easy, can tolerate dairy and eat a healthy balanced diet the rest of the time, chocolate milk is a great post-run option.

That’s all for today, as always, be sure to comment and subscribe!