The first thing I learned is just water wasn't cutting it on anything over 3 miles for me. This is when I bought my Nathan Speed 4R. It can carry up to 32 oz of fluid or gel. I just fill them with water for now. I haven't bought gel to fill the 8 oz flasks yet but I just found the 26 serving jugs of Hammer Gel I am going to try. I think I'll give a single serve pack a taste first before I commit to a 26 serving jug though. I know I like the taste of Gu Energy Gel but it only comes in the single serve packs of which apparently the Nathan flasks can hold 5 of but I really don't want to open and squeeze 5 packs into a flask.
The next thing I tried was a pre run fuel. I tried the Gatorade Prime. I liked it and used it at first. It was a lot of liquid to get down pre-run but it was very helpful. Then I bought the Gu Energy Gel. So much easier to get down pre-run. I have yet to try them during a run but I should try it soon. I use Clif Shot Bloks right now and I like them. After 2-3 miles I put one blok in my mouth, bite it in half and keep it in my cheeks. Then when I drink water, it slowly dissolves into my system. So easy!
I also really like the Gatorade Recover. I definitely feel better from the moment I start drinking after an intense workout especially.
I found a great resource: Optimal Recovery Nutrition for Relays. This is where I'm learning to tweak my nutrition for a relay so I can stay strong, run, recover, and run again and have fun! I've read that I need to "consume high glycemic fuels during and immediately following a leg, and low glycemic the rest of the time." Read about it at the link above. I'm thinking I'll need to pack veggies, yogurt, peanut butter and nuts and definitely enough fuel for before and during a leg and recovery for after. I never thought about eating between legs! I don't want to over do it and not be able to run each leg strong. So much to learn.
It's a lot of fun to learn about all the aspects of running. I am learning what my body can tolerate and what I need to do to perform strong. It's not just about running. Maybe it's the engineer in me that has to make sure I study everything in detail but I want to enjoy my new found hobby, not be frustrated by it and I want to be able to enjoy it for a long time to come.