Monisha's Minute: Running…I'll Drink To That

What makes us drink? Sometimes we drink water to quench our thirst? Or we might choose a soda just to have a flavored beverage with a meal. I’m not a coffee drinker but I have many friends who drink a cup of joe to wake them up a little. And we can’t leave out the adult beverages that some people drink in order relax and/or escape the stresses of life.

Aside from feeding a bad drinking habit, all of these reasons are legitimate reasons to turn up a glass, bottle, cup, chalice, or goblet of your favorite beverage.

However, as a running coach I find myself having to share another reason to drink: to hydrate and refuel. Many new runners are surprised when I ask them to run with a water bottle once we pass running for 30 minutes or 3 miles. Earlier this year I asked a lady to keep her water bottle with her while we ran. She replied “So what do I do with it?” I simply answered “Well, you hold it. And periodically you drink from it.” Once she realized I wasn’t being sarcastic she asked me why can’t she just take a few good chugs, go for her run, and come back. I realized then that someone who doesn’t run has probably never thought to drink just to stay hydrated even when they’re not hot or thirsty.

As we run, we sweat. Sweat consists of water and sodium. During an extended workout, there is a need to replenish both of these. Hydrating while running can be very tricky for a new runner. Most are tempted only when thirsty and just water at that. Unfortunately, if one waits to rehydrate when they feel thirsty, the first stage of dehydration is already in progress. When it comes to running, dehydration is the Devil!

So what should you drink when you run? There are so many drinks and powder mixes on the market I could spend all of 2013 doing product reviews. When shopping for a rehydrating mix remember the 4:1 rule. 4 parts carbohydrates and 1 part protein. In distance running, it is very important to drink a beverage that rehydrates and replenishes your carbohydrate stores. There’s not one drink in particular that I swear by. A lot of times my choice between the following drinks depend on my budget and where I’m grocery shopping for the week. Here are my top favorite drinks to run with:

Zico Coconut Water (Passion Fruit)

Pro: It’s all natural

Con: Carton portions are awkward for me

The taste is good. Given its straight from the plant you don’t worry about artificial stuff flowing through your body. I always end up having to drink a large amount before I run because it takes about 1 and 2/3 bottles of Zico to fill the bottle on my running belt. In the past I have added a pinch of salt to get an adequate amount of sodium. I’ve completed half marathons drinking only coconut water.

FRS Drink Mix (Orange)

Pro: It tastes pretty good

Con: It’s hard to find

I’m not going to lie, when I go to races, I look for the FRS truck. The people are so friendly and I usually plead my case that I can’t find the drink mix in my local grocery store, which is true. The liquid concentrate is good as well but I prefer the mix. I feel energized and intact when I drink it. I really like the FRS powder. I decided to be a caring coach and gave one of my runners a generous portion of my powder mix stash I received at the last race I attended. Now I’m out. And I’m sad…

Accelerade Drink Mix (Orange or Fruit Punch aka Red)

Pros: This stuff gives me wings

Con: High as giraffe butt

The only place I have purchased Accelerade has been at specialty running stores. The two factors that keep this drink mix from being my favorite mix of all time is A) I don’t feel like driving across town each time I need to purchase a few packets. I guess I could stop being cheap and just buy a canister. B) It’s high a kite compared to the other three drinks on this list. Out of the four drinks on this list, I have the best muscle recovery with Accelerade.

Curt Tea

Pro: It gets the job done

Con: No cons so far

Curt Tea is actually a drink concoction created by one of my running pals named Curt T. Get it!? It took us months to come up with the name. LOL. Think of this drink as a base model pickup truck. Nothing fancy, inexpensive, and it gets the job done. That’s not a picture of Curt Tea. Just some stock photo I found. If you decide to make it, it comes out a bit more clearer. Kudos to Curt for creating his own drink! Here’s the recipe.

1 QT water

4oz orange juice

1 tsp salt

8 tsp sugar

You probably said “Ouch!” to the amount of sugar. But you’d be amazed how much sugar is in an 24 oz bottle of your leading sports drink found next to the soft drinks in your local grocery store. Feel free to use truvia or stevia instead of regular white sugar. Also, I bump the orange juice up to 6-8oz and decrease the water to compensate.

What’s your favorite drink to run or workout with? Why? I’d love to get your feedback. To my newbie runners, I really hope this information was helpful. Let me know if it was. If there are any questions you would like me to answer in detail feel free to post them. Be blessed everyone. And drink up!

Love, Peace, and Sweat,

Monisha R.

Monisha Randolph is a RRCA Certified Distance Running Coach, motivational speaker,  and the author of Runner’s Revelations: How Running Changed My Walk. To learn more about Monisha or to purchase a copy of her book please visit Feel free to follow her on Twitter and join her Fan Community on Facebook.


  • Treasure says:

    I just love plain water! Every now and then I’ll drink the vitamin water zero or Gatorade. But I always return to that handy dandy canteen of plain ole water. I feel clean when I drink water. I don’t run much but I do zumba, kickboxing, power walking, elliptical, etc.

  • Try a long run without any liquids and see what happens. You may not need to drink as much as you were “always told”. It may just make you go to the bathroom more often, and wash all of the electrolytes out of your system.

    For an experiment, I recently ran the entire Steamtown Marathon without drinking anything at all. The temperature was in the 50’s and I suffered no ill effects at all.

    When I had my body fat measured a few weeks ago, my Total Body Water was 72.5%. I am always well hydrated.

    When I was a kid, I lived in the rural South in the 50’s and early 60’s. Our houses, cars and schools had no air-conditioning. We did not carry water bottles and there were no sports drinks. In the summer, we ran around all day barefoot, rode one-speed bikes and rarely went inside for a drink. No one took salt tablets and no one got hyponatremia. None of us ever ended up in the “medical tent”. Our “coaches” even told us that drinking too much water would give us cramps. None of us were allergic to peanuts either.

  • RoadRunnerGirl76 says:

    I am preparing for my first 1/2 marathon, so I’m experimenting with rehydrating & refueling on the go. So far I’d have to say, my favorite is a mix of half water, half ONE coco water with guava splash, it keeps me going during a long run. I also like a version of Curt Tea (1/2 water, 1/2 oj with a pinch of salt). I plan to continue experimenting because I haven’t evaluated what I drink in terms of recovery.

  • alexandria says:

    Zico now comes in 1.5 liter sizes. so you don’t have to buy the small individual sizes anymore. 🙂

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