Sports Drinks and Recovery Drinks What’s The Difference?

Running Sports Drinks Vs. Recovery Drinks

What is the difference between sports drinks and recovery drinks? Once we drunk only water during our marathon training, then came the sports drinks which everyone gulped during their running. In recent years the recovery drinks have been more popular by long distance runners. Are they all the same thing? Which drink do you need during your run? How to tell the difference between them? Read below to find more about the difference between running sports drinks and recovery drinks.

Here is a short explanation of the main difference between sports drinks and recovery drinks, brought by Nancy Ling, RD from the Road Runner Sports:

What’s the difference?
Sports drinks, also known as hydration beverages, are completely different animals from nutrition drinks, or recovery beverages. While sports drinks such as Gatorade, All Sport and Powerade provide hydration, nutrition drinks are designed to help your muscles recover from exercise-induced stress. Sports drink formulations have carbohydrate (in the form of glucose, fructose and maltodextrin), electrolytes (in the form of sodium, potassium and magnesium) and a lot of water, adding up to a dilute solution that is easy for the gut to handle during exercise. Nutrition drinks, on the other hand, are made of protein (often whey protein), carbohydrate (including glucose, sucrose, fructose and maltodextrin), fat and extras including vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, amino acids and herbs.

Note that sports drinks are diluted, whereas nutrition drinks are relatively concentrated. Sports drinks usually deliver 50-70 calories per 8 ounces, while nutrition drinks may provide 200-300 calories in an 8- to 16-ounce serving. Sports drinks are usually described as a 7% solution, a concentration that is optimal for absorption of fluid in the gastrointestinal tract. This is approximately half the concentration of juices and sodas. Read more from this article..


Sports drinks are like premium gas for your car. Running sports drinks have glucose and sodium complexion which allow them to absorb better into the blood stream and send the necessary energy for the muscles. Marathon running sports drinks ‘inject’ valuable carbohydrate for better muscle performance while running a marathon.

Recovery drinks are like oil and water check for the car after a long drive. Training for marathon means squeezing every drop of vital energy out of the body, and the recovery drinks helps to replace the lost reserves faster than waiting for the body to extract it back from the foods at the hours later.

More on Marathon Running Recovery Drinks

There are differences between the components of recovery drinks and sports drinks. Recovery drinks are much more nutritious than sports drinks which are more fluid than recovery drinks. Here is an explanation by First Endurance website for the need of recovery drinks after marathon training. In fact recovery drinks can be useful for every athlete which trains hard for over 60 minutes of constant workout.

“Work is done during training, and almost every system in the body is involved with that work.  Aside from the obvious muscular, circulatory, and respiratory systems, the nervous system, skeletal system, integumentary system, and digestive systems are all hard at work during training.  Calories are consumed, heat is generated, fluids and electrolytes are lost, free-radical oxidative stress is generated, and tissues are broken down.  All of these systems need to be restored before the next training session.  If training continues without adequate recovery, then overtraining results and the athlete’s performance begins to decline.  The length of time it takes to recover properly can be minimized if the appropriate nutritional building blocks are consumed immediately following a training session (within 30 minutes has been supported as the optimal timeframe by the literature). Nutritional deficiencies may even prevent recovery from ever happening, and thereby an optimal performance is never attained.” Read here more..

How To Make  a Home Made Recovery Drink

If you do not have the time and effort to begin brewing your running recovery drinks (I know I don’t have the time..) then there are plenty of recovery drinks which are nutritious and tasty.

Because taste is a personal matter, you better try the small mix before you buy the JUMBO powder cartridges. Here are some of the running recovery drinks to fuel your body after a marathon training session.

Pacific Health Accelerade (click to order) – ACCELERADE, the only sports drink that contains carbohydrate and protein in a patented 4:1 ratio, provides rapid rehydration and helps athletes perform better and recover faster.

GU Recovery Brew Drink  (click to order) – Protein: GU Recovery Brew relies on whey protein isolate not cheaper whey protein concentrate. Amino Acids: Arginine and Glutamine promote recovery by mitigating the effects of intense training.

Read More:

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  2. Uphill Running Mental Tricks
  3. Is Marathon Running Safe During Pregnancy
  4. How to Select A Marathon Running Coach
  5. Cheap Disposable Jackets For Marathon Runs
  6. What To Wear For Cold Weather Marathons

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