So, remember how I’m training for a half marathon?


(My last half marathon – it was very epic!)


Well, I’m still chugging along with my training plan.  It’s challenging to stick with it when it’s so cold outside, but I’m doing pretty good. I’m excited to do a long race in Charlotte, as I’ve never raced a half in my hometown before!


When I trained for the Half Ironman, I did everything Coach Marni told me to do.  I trained as she instructed, and I fueled as she instructed.  Although I’ve always been decent about fueling for endurance events, Marni really helped me take it to the next level in terms of 1) being very precise about what I ate and when; and 2) focusing more on liquid calories than solid food (which I was not used to doing for triathlons and think helped my stomach during the run).


I had a lot of success with Marni’s plan, and for this race, I thought I’d take everything she taught me (which really was a lot!) and build on it.


A few weeks back, I was contacted by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, who told me about their new FIT MAPLE program.  Their goal is to make active people like you and I understand that pure maple syrup is an excellent source of workout fuel.


Why is pure maple so great for athletes?


  • It’s a great natural endurance booster for pre-workout meals.  Unlike other sources of fuel, maple syrup is a pure, unprocessed, and 100% natural energy source (I love you, HEED, but you are definitely processed).


  • It contains more manganese and zinc than any other sweeteners, two minerals vital for muscle recovery


  • A 1/4 cup of maple syrup contains as much antioxidant activity as a raw tomato or broccoli.


  • Maple syrup contains potassium, which helps regulate fluid balance and assists with normal muscle function.


YES.  It is true.  Maple syrup is good for you. 😉


The FIT Maple website has several great recipes, but I was most intrigued by their Maple Cranberry Sports Drink.


This all-natural homemade energy drink provides a great tasting mix of carbohydrates to fuel your muscles. It also contains electrolytes (sodium and potassium) to help replace what your body loses through sweat. The added bonus is what it doesn’t contain– artificial flavors, colorings and preservatives.



  • 3 cups cranberry juice (100% juice)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 star anise, optional

Directions: Mix together all the ingredients. If using star anise, leave to infuse for one hour then strain. Refrigerate.

Yield: 4 portions


Per portion (16 oz.): 114 calories; 0 g protein; 0 g fat; 30 g carbohydrates; 0 g fiber.


For the exact recipe, click right here.  Recipe reprinted with permission.


Verdict?  Totally delicious AND functional.  Especially for long runs!  I have had so much energy during my longer workouts, and I credit this fuel.  Plus, I really like the taste (you could easily sub in other juices, too, like pomegranate or apple!).  And I love that I can make it with ingredients that I already have in my fridge.


Have you ever created your own sports drink?  What did you put in it?


This post was sponsored by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers.  Thank you all for the continued support.



  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs January 12, 2014, 7:04 pm

    Sounds delicious! I can’t wait to try it out!

  • Marie-Santé January 12, 2014, 7:17 pm

    That is so cool to see the name of my province here! Québec represent, lol!

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun January 12, 2014, 8:56 pm

    Wow this is awesome! Natural sugars and not all the unnatural sugar overdose that many of the normal sports drinks provide.

  • Cathy January 12, 2014, 11:20 pm

    Wow! I didn’t even know that was an option!
    I’ll have to give this a try 🙂

  • Aurora@Fitness is Sweet January 12, 2014, 11:34 pm

    This is such a great idea! I’ve made a similar homemade sports drink before, just with lemon juice and sugar in place of maple syrup!

  • Steph January 13, 2014, 2:45 am

    Woo Canada represent! Did you hear about the attempted maple syrup heist a year or two back? I thought it was a joke but it was millions of gallons and dollars worth. Totally random fact. Glad it was found so we can all still afford to buy it still! Thanks for this I will. Try it post hot vinyasa !

  • Di January 13, 2014, 6:40 am

    Never thought of taking maple syrup, definitely trying this now 🙂

  • Ksenija @ With An Open Mind January 13, 2014, 7:27 am

    I just started out on my half-marathon-training and I feel like this post was heaven-send (kind a 😉 ). As soon as I run for more than an hour I need to bring something to drink and this all-natural energy drink sounds awesome. Now I’ll only have to hit the French grocery stores and hope for some maple syrup.

  • Dennis January 13, 2014, 7:55 am

    What are your thoughts on research that suggests many recreational runners over estimate their carbohydrate needs? One article I’ve seen:

    Likewise, I’ve also heard interviews with Professor Tim Noakes about over consumption of fluids in runners being a bigger problem and causing the mineral imbalances.

    My performance (up to half marathon) has improved with reducing my intake of sugars and shifting more of my fueling towards dense vegetable starch sources pre-event. Many of these are also rich in the minerals needed for performance.

    It’s something you need to train with and experiment for – but it’s possible to train your metabolism as much as your aerobic and muscle performance.

    • Angie January 13, 2014, 3:06 pm


      I am interested in your fueling with “dense vegetable starches.” I have always fueled with Gu or Shot Bloks during races and often had stomach issues. I have recently been experimenting with a paleo diet and was trying to figure out some all-natural fueling. I have read on a triathlete’s blog that she ate mashed sweet potato during a long bike ride. What do you typically eat?


      • Dennis January 13, 2014, 9:46 pm

        I fuel for several days pre race – sweet potatoes, hard squash, plantains, fruit. But the real key is keeping your pace where you can keep your blood sugar in good shape and not exhaust your glycogen right away.

        Train low and you can race low. My last half marathon I had a couple apples early in the day (it was a night race) and a box of raisins in mile 11. No sports drink, no gels, no sports beans.

        There’s also super starch powders that work for athletes who are fat adapted like ucan.

  • Heather January 13, 2014, 9:17 am

    Great post, I HATE sports drinks, they taste like junk to me but I need to take in calories when I’m climbing really hard. I am totally going to try this! Thanks!

  • Eleora Sills January 13, 2014, 11:17 am

    Hi, Caitlin. Your post reminds me of something that I almost forget: my grand grandmother maple syrup. It’s so good. She always has this syrup when we went to her old Canadian house. I love it. And it’s healthy too. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Kristen@Change of Pace January 13, 2014, 12:46 pm

    This drink sounds delicious! I’ve never been a fan of drinks like gatorade :/

  • Cristina January 13, 2014, 7:08 pm

    Hey ! Cool post, i love your DIY posts on healthy stuff. I just read your post on what to eat during your run and I am trying things out. You are such an inspiration, I am training for a full marathon in Atlanta in March. I want to do one here in Charlotte but dont know of any cool ones coming up. Do you have any suggestions or something close? I wish the DIVAS in Myrtle beach had a full marathon.

  • oldmotherrunner January 14, 2014, 8:51 pm

    While I certainly endorse using real foods and agree that maple syrup has a better nutrient base than plain sugars be aware that the syrup does NOT have a significant amount of potassium. In addition, cranberry is a low potassium fruit choice. Readers may want to switch out the juice for orange,grapefruit ( or an orange blend if the citrus is not well tolerated), pineapple blend or even a prune or carrot juice. All will be tasty in this recipe. A runner/RD

  • Lauren January 17, 2014, 2:40 pm

    This sounds absolutely delicious! Cranberry juice is amazing. Good luck with your half marathon!

    If you are free next monday at 7.00 gmt please come and join in with our #nltwittertalk where we’re talking about healthy breakfasts, I think your input would be super valuable! Please check out @nlproducts / for more information 🙂 x

  • DessertForTwo January 22, 2014, 7:58 am

    I love making my own ‘gatorade.’ This is a great recipe, thank you! 🙂

  • Kristal February 3, 2014, 12:39 am

    I’ve used maple syrup during the Master Cleanse juice fast. It is definitely good stuff and will help keep you going.

  • Victoria May 21, 2014, 2:03 am

    I use Pure Sports Hydration, their products are made with Freeze Dried Fruit and contain no artificial colours or flavours I highly recommend it!

  • Mary September 1, 2014, 1:46 pm

    I used this this summer, riding my road bike. The weather was on the hot side some of those days, and I felt better after a nearly 50 mile ride drinking this than Gatorade. I do add a touch of No-Salt for added potassium. I love maple syrup and cranberry juice, so it’s a great fit for me.

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