For me, the warm season means trail running season is kicking up into high gear. Call me crazy, but running is one of my favorite things, and there’s absolutely no problem in my life that can’t be fixed by a handful of mountain trail miles, a pair of running shoes and my dog by my side.
I’m sure most of us you have your likewise summer activities, and it’s an unspoken Jackson creed that these athletic passions create much of what is the community in our valley.
These outdoor adventures usually entail a lot of physical activity, under-the-sun time and sweating. It’s easy to forget how much water your body needs in the arid climate that is Jackson Hole, as opposed to let’s say Louisiana, where the stick-to-your-back sweat factor rages in high humidity effect, helping to constantly remind you of your need to replenish your body’s water stores.
Dry climate or not, I know that at the end of a dehydrating 8 mile trail run, a glass of water simply will not suffice. It’s at this point that I turn to electrolyte-replacing drinks, my favorite as of late being coconut water. But as any coconut water or sports drink consumer knows, said beverage habit can turn fairly expensive fairly quickly, with the $1.50 to $3 bottle price point racking up in short order for the dedicated athlete—not to mention the fact that I feel a little uncomfortable and consumerist sending new cans and bottles through the system on a daily basis. So what to do? I started making my own sports drink replacements.
It’s a simple formula, which is great, because it’s easy to concoct at home. To start, you’ll need some kind of calorie-containing sweetener (raw sugar or honey, agave or maple syrup, whatever), salt (use sea salt, which is much higher in electrolyte-replacing trace minerals than it’s processed table salt counterpart), and some kind of juice (I prefer fresh-squeezed citrus fruits, as they help to offset the taste of the salt in the water and also carry a myriad of trace vitamins and minerals). The especially ambitious sports drink composer can also throw in some calcium magnesium tablets, although these tablets do usually come in some kind of flavor form, which will affect the taste (for better or worse on your palate) of your natural sports drink.
The following formula is a guideline, as always. Play around with the basic idea until you’ve figured out what works best for your taste preferences and body’s needs. Save some money, feel proud of yourself for refusing to needlessly consume individually packaged drinks, and treat your body to a healthy, all-natural, thirst-quenching glass of homemade sports drink.