Smoothies For Runners: 6 Healthy Recipes For Your Next Workout

Smoothies make a great pre-run or post-run snack for runners. They can provide the nutrients you need to fuel your workout or recover after your run.

If you find yourself in a smoothie rut in terms of what recipe to follow or if you’ve never made a smoothie before, keep reading for some delicious smoothies for runners recipes.

We’ve developed these smoothies for runners recipes to be as tasty as they are nutritious. We hope you love them just as much as we do!

In this guide, we will cover: 

  • Why Are Smoothies Good After Running or Working Out?
  • Smoothies For Runners: 6 Healthy Recipes

Let’s get started!

A variety of smoothies for runners, banana, strawberry, and blueberry.

Why Are Smoothies Good After Running or Working Out?

Most runners know that it’s important to refuel as soon as possible after you exercise in order to provide your muscles with the protein they need to recover, repair the damage from your workout, and replenish your depleted glycogen stores so that you have the energy you need for your next workout.

However, many runners say that they have no appetite after running or exercising. This is fairly common and thought to be due to the fact that exercise can suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin

Additionally, when you run, blood is diverted away from the digestive tract. Coupled with the jostling from the impact of running, this can lead to bloating and nausea

Finally, one of the primary reasons that runners lose their appetite after running is because the core temperature is elevated after exercise.

If you think about when you’re sick and have a fever, you can probably recall losing your appetite in that situation as well, and that’s because fevers and exercise both increase the body’s core temperature.

Mint smoothies.

Animal studies determined that the increase in body temperature from exercise can also increase the temperature of the brain. This, in turn, suppresses activity in regions of the brain that stimulate appetite.

As a result, you may not feel like eating after running or working out vigorously, especially in hot and humid conditions where your core temperature rises even higher.

This is where smoothies come in. 

Smoothies for runners are a perfect post-workout snack or meal because they check off the four most important boxes for post-run refueling: 

  • Smoothies for runners are often more palatable and appealing when you are hot and sweaty after running because you can drink them instead of having to eat something heavy.
  • Smoothies for runners cool you down so they can restore your appetite after exercise, helping you get the nutrition you need in a timely manner rather than pushing it off until your appetite returns hours later.
  • Smoothies for runners contain lots of liquid, so they help you rehydrate and refuel simultaneously.

Plus, smoothies are super versatile, delicious, and nutritious. Let’s look at some of the best smoothies for runners’ recipes.

Berry smoothies.

Smoothies For Runners: 6 Healthy Recipes

#1: Pineapple and Beet Pre-Run Smoothie

Many runners love a post-workout smoothie, but a smoothie can also be a great way to fuel up before your run.

Smoothies often contain lots of fruit, which is a great source of quick-acting carbohydrates for exercise.

In most cases, you’ll want to wait at least an hour after having a pre-workout smoothie to go running so that you have ample time to digest the smoothie.

Running too soon after eating or drinking a smoothie can leave you feeling weighed down and contending with the liquid sloshing around your stomach the whole run.

Here’s a recipe for this one of our pre-workout smoothies for runners:

  • 1½ cups (340ml) of unsweetened coconut water
  • 1 large raw peeled beet or 10–15g of dried beet powder
  • 2 fresh or 5 dried apricots, seedless and sulfate free
  • 3/4 cup (250 grams) of fresh or frozen pineapple
  • 1 banana

Blend all the ingredients in your blender. Add more coconut water or a splash of pineapple juice if it’s too thick.

Enjoy 1-2 hours before you go running.

This is a great pre-workout smoothie recipe because it contains the carbohydrates, electrolytes, nutrients, and fluids you need for running.

Pineapple smoothie.

Beetroot is high in natural nitrates, which are compounds that contain nitrogen bonded to three oxygen atoms.

Natural nitrates get converted to nitric acid in the body by the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Nitric acid, in turn, acts as a vasodilator, increasing blood flow, reducing blood pressure, and improving exercise performance.

In order to give your body enough time for the nitrates in the beetroot to get broken down to nitric acid and for the nitric acid to dilate your blood vessels, you’ll want to drink the smoothie at least one hour before you run though 90 minutes is ideal.

Beets are also high in glucose, which is your body’s preferred carbohydrate source during exercise. About 10% of the gross weight of a raw beet is glucose, so if you have an 80g beet, you’ll get about 8 grams of glucose, along with 6 grams of other sugars.

Beets also contain iron, which is helpful for preventing iron-deficiency anemia.

Apricots are a great fruit for pre-workout smoothies because, unlike most fruits, which are relatively high in fructose and low in glucose, apricots have the opposite ratio.

The high glucose concentration provides a readily-available fuel source for your muscles without needing to undergo conversion prior to use.

Apricots also contain more than three times as much potassium as bananas. This electrolyte can help prevent muscle cramps during exercise and will aid in the absorption of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Bananas provide additional potassium, as well as magnesium and carbohydrates, for energy.

Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which can improve digestion and reduce inflammation, helping you feel more comfortable and energized on your run.

Finally, coconut water is a rich natural source of potassium, so it will help hydrate you before you run and may reduce the risk of muscle cramps.

Blueberry smoothie.

#2: Berry and Spinach Post-Workout Smoothie

In terms of how to make a post-workout smoothie, there aren’t really any rules.

One of the perks is that it’s pretty much a blank canvas.

Here’s a good basic smoothie recipe that you can doctor up depending on the fruit you have on hand and your preferences: 

  • 1 frozen banana, chopped 
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 cup unsweetened milk (almond, soy, dairy)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup baby spinach 
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter 
  • 1 teaspoon flax seeds

Blend everything together. Add ice if you like a thicker consistency, and add more milk if you like more of a juice-like texture.

Other fruits that work well in smoothies include pineapple, mango, melon, and peaches. 

You can also use orange juice or fruit juice if you don’t like any type of milk. This will give you a carbohydrate-rich option.

Post-run smoothies for runners can have a higher fat and fiber content than pre-workout smoothies because you don’t have to worry about potential digestive issues during your workout.

Healthy fats like nut butters, avocados, and seeds will help increase satiety.

Chocolate smoothie.

#3: Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

This is a delicious, satiating post-workout smoothie packed with a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana chopped
  • 1/2 cup of plain or chocolate almond or oat milk
  • 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 scoop of your favorite chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder

#4: Refreshing Post-Workout Watermelon Smoothie

This is a light, refreshing smoothie after running on a hot day.

You can even pre-freeze the watermelon chunks if you want an ice-cold post-run smoothie.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped watermelon
  • 1/2 cup low-fat Greek strawberry or blueberry yogurt (vanilla or plain also work)
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup of ice if the watermelon isn’t frozen

Add a tablespoon of honey if you are using unsweetened yogurt.

This is a lower calorie smoothie than most others, so it’s ideal for after shorter runs or to help with your immediate post-run rehydration and refueling, and then you can have something else to eat in an hour or so when your appetite returns.

Watermelon smoothie.

#5: Post-Workout PB&J Smoothie

This post-run smoothie recipe is great for those who love the classic peanut butter and jelly combo.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk, other plant-based milk, or dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 cup of frozen raspberries, strawberries, or mixed berries

#6: Pumpkin Pie Post-Workout Smoothie

This tasty post-run smoothie recipe uses canned pumpkin, but you can also use baked sweet potato with the skin removed.

You’ll get lots of vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber, and complex carbs, and the almond butter provides vitamin E, which can reduce muscle damage.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) or 1 large sweet potato baked and peeled
  • ¾ cup of almond milk or oat milk
  • ½ tablespoon of cinnamon 
  • ¼ teaspoon of allspice
  • 2 tablespoons of almond butter 

Experiment with different recipes and combinations. One of the beauties of smoothies is that there are endless possibilities, which prevents palate fatigue.

You can also add protein powder, super greens powders, and other nutritional powders to boost the nutritional content of your smoothie without greatly altering the taste.

Looking for smoothies packed with a bit more protein? Check out our 10 Protein Shake Recipes.

Fruit and honey smoothie.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, and contributes to several fitness, health, and running websites and publications. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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