Using an energy drink for running can be surprisingly beneficial. When most people think of energy drinks, the first that come to mind are typically the those with high sugar and caffeine contents, such as Monster or Rockstar.
However, most energy drinks for running are specifically designed to support stamina and provide long-lasting energy. These running drinks are made with more natural, wholesome ingredients than standard energy drinks designed to provide an instantaneous boost in energy.
What are the best running drinks?
The best running drinks are those that provide a boost in energy that is long-lasting. These drinks provide energy for high intensity workouts as well as long distance runs and events.
Drinks that are sweetened naturally, with minimal added ingredients and caffeine are the most effective for runners. Some of the best energy drinks for running are the following.
- Nuun Energy
- Tailwind Nutrition
- Generation Ucan
- Gu Roctane Drink Mix
- Powerbar Endurance Drink
- Your Super Energy Bomb Mix
What is a running energy drink?
In truth, an energy drink for running might be defined very similarly to a regular energy drink: a drink that provide some sort of mental or physical stimulant. However, the purpose of these drinks vary slightly.
Most regular energy drinks are designed to provide an immediate, significant boost in energy. In contrast, running energy drinks are designed to provide a moderate boost in energy that is long-lasting.
Regular energy drinks are usually packed full of caffeine, while running energy drinks usually utilize more natural stimulants. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning that it can actually cause you to become more dehydrated. Because of this, most running energy drinks utilize minimal caffeine – if any at all.
Will an energy drink help my running?
Most endurance athletes can benefit from some sort of supplemental energy drink – runners included. While running drinks are not always necessary, they can certainly be beneficial.
However, the key is to find the right energy drink for running. Endurance events cause runners to sweat excessively and lose a great deal of electrolytes. In addition to providing energy, most running drinks also serve the purpose of replenishing electrolytes.
Should I drink before, during or after running?
The best time to consume a running drink depends greatly on the drink itself. Most energy drinks for running are designed to be consumed either immediately before a run or at some point during the run.
Some running drinks are designed to refuel and replenish, in which case are best consumed after a run. These drinks are typically not energy drinks, but rather, just classified as a sports drink.
What to look for in a running energy drink?
Finding the right energy drink for running is key to maximum success. Experimenting with a few different brands of drinks can help runners find one that prevents bonking, helps replenish lost electrolytes and provides sustained energy for long periods of time.
Here are a few things to look for when searching for a running energy drink.
- Higher carbohydrate concentration
- Minimal added sugars
- Minimal (or no) caffeine
- Avoid artificial sweeteners and added colors
- Combination of electrolytes: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium
Energy drinks have the potential to help sustain higher running performance for longer periods of time. In long distance events, this can prevent bonking or “hitting the wall” as well as dehydration or cramping due to loss of electrolytes.
Try one (or all) of these 7 best energy drinks for running to increase your stamina and encourage high performance for running!
7 Best Energy Drinks for Running
- 80mg of caffeine derived from organic green tea mix
- Blend of B12 and B6 vitamins
- Vegan, Non-GMO and Gluten Free
- Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and more electrolytes
Price: $8 per tube (each tube contains 10 servings)
- Sodium, Magnesium, Potassium and Calcium electrolytes
- Maximizes your absorption of water for optimal hydration
- Enhanced with organic caffeine for an energy boost
Price: $2.50 for a single serving // $30 single serving 12-pack
Generation Ucan Energy Powder
- Natural ingredients: no sugar, no stimulants
- Contains SuperStarch – a low glycemic, complex-carbohydrate
- GMO free, Vegan, Keto, Gluten Free
- Provides sustained energy and stable blood sugar
Price: $62.95 per tub (30 servings)
Gu Roctane Energy Drink Mix
- Carbohydrate mix for maximum absorption
- Sodium plus a blend of other electrolytes
- Branched-chain amino acids
- Additional caffeine to boost energy
Price: $30 per canister (12 servings)
- Vitamins B12 and B6 for antioxidants
- No sugar or artificial ingredients
- Naturally derived caffeine to boost energy
- Blend of electrolytes
Price: $37.99 for 20 tubes
Powerbar Endurance Drink
- Blend of electrolytes to maintain performance
- Mix of natural sugars to promote optimal absorption
- 7% concentration of simple and complex carbs to maximize energy
Price: $25.49 per tub
Your Super Energy Bomb Mix
- Blend of superfoods to provide natural energy
- Acai, banana, lucuma, maca and guarana
- Natural source of energy and sugars
Price: $34.90 per tub (40 servings)
With so many running drinks on the market, it can be difficult to narrow down those that are designed to provide energy – let alone those that are actually natural and healthy. These 7 energy drinks for running are perfect for long distance and high intensity efforts.
Each energy drink contains different ingredients, different amounts of caffeine, and different blends of micronutrients and electrolytes. Taking the time to experiment with a few different energy drinks during training will set you up for optimal success on race day.