The aim of this study was to examine sensory perceptions towards different formulations of sports drinks when consumed before, at various points during, and following exercise. Following familiarisation 14 recreational runners underwent four trials in a single blind counterbalanced design. Each trial utilised one of four different solutions: 7.5% carbohydrate, 421mgL -1 electrolyte (HiC-HiE); 7.5% carbohydrate, 140mgL -1 electrolyte (HiC-LoE); 1.3% carbohydrate, 421mgL -1 electrolyte (LoC-HiE) and water. Subjects were provided with 50-ml samples to ingest and then rate (using a 100-mm line scale) the intensity of sweetness, saltiness, thirst-quenching ability and overall liking before (-30min), during (0, 30 and 60min) and following (90 and 120min) treadmill running exercise. Ratings of sweetness for all energy-containing drinks were higher during exercise relative to pre- and post-exercise conditions (P<0.05); ratings also increased with duration of exercise (P<0.001). Sweetness ratings for LoC-HiE increased during exercise (P<0.05) but remained the same for other beverages. Ratings of saltiness decreased for all energy-containing drinks during exercise relative to pre-exercise (P<0.05); ratings decreased with duration of exercise in these drinks (P<0.05). Ratings of thirst-quenching ability (P=0.039) and overall liking (P=0.013) increased with duration of exercise with all beverages. Significant changes in sensory perception occur when consuming sports drinks during exercise relative to non-exercise conditions. Temporal changes also occur during exercise itself which leads to enhanced liking of all beverages.