Interview with pro athlete Ruth Croft
Ruth Croft is an extraordinary professional athlete and coach who has won several famous trail running races, such as OCC and Mont Blanc Marathon, and came 2nd at the 2019 Trail Running Championships. She is also an outstanding road runner with a Marathon PB of 2:34:16 at the Seoul Marathon in 2019.
Ruth is an inspiration and we are proud of having her as part of the BIX team. Thank you for taking the time for our interview!
PC: Yann Audouin
1. Tell us 3 things about yourself that might surprise others
I'm scared of seagulls, I'm currently studying naturopathy, and I'm not made for winter.
2. Tell us about your running journey - how did you start running?
I always ran in high school and represented NZ as a junior at worlds in mountain running, cross country, and athletics. I then took up a cross country and track scholarship at the University of Portland in Oregon. After 4 years of disappointing performances and injury, I gave up running and moved to Taipei, Taiwan. I did not have any intention of running there but after 6 months of partying, drinking, and putting on weight I got back into running to be healthier. I started going to hash harriers and then entered TNF 50km since the 15km was already full. It has been a progression from there.
3. Quick overview of your nutrition plan for a 50k trail race - before, after, and during the race
I have breakfast 3 hours before the start of a race. This normally consists of oats, banana, some form non-dairy milk, and black coffee.
During a 50km race, I would drink 450-500ml of fluid per hour as a baseline. I use Maurten gels and would have 2 of their hydrogels per hour which is 80grams of carbs. I then aim to get 30 grams of protein (I use whey protein) within 30-45min post-race. Any delay compromises tissue leucine concentration and enhances muscle tissue breakdown.
Then 90min after that I have a proper meal. I aim for some form of protein, carbs, etc, and will sip on a BIX throughout the rest of the day.
I am currently doing a course by Dr. Stacy Sims and have learned that for women the feedback mechanism for muscle protein synthesis starts in the brain and we need an increased amount of leucine circulating compared to men. If there are low levels of leucine then protein synthesis is dampened, so I have recently put a lot more effort into my post-training/racing nutrition.
4. Quick overview of your breakfast, lunch, and dinner during a typical training day
Breakfast: Glass of lemon water when I wake up. Fruits, quark, and some mixed nuts and honey or some oats, etc. Lunch: Glass of kombucha or water kefir (I try to have liquids an hour before or after I eat a meal to not dilute digestive enzymes), greens/salad, with goats cheese, eggs, salmon, or some form of protein, etc. Dinner: Roasted vegetables, some form of greens, avocado, quinoa, or rice, and again some form of protein. I normally throw it all in a bowl and add a dressing.
5. Your 3 most important recovery activities
Post-exercise nutrition & hydration, cold showers, or jumping in a cold river. Sleep.
6. Overview of a typical training week
It really depends on what part of the season I am in, whether I am base training or competing. If I am base training an average week is approx 120km but may vary and be up to 150km at most, approx 3,000m vert. Within that week I have 2 longer runs of 2-3hours, some steady-state work, and I also have 1-2 days where I will incorporate drills and strides. On top of that, I do two strength and conditioning sessions per week and approx 4-5 hours of road biking or MTB for cross-training.
7. What was your biggest running accomplishment?
Biggest/highest...Running (more walking) up to 6,200m, Mt Yuzhu, China
8. Your 3 running goals for 2020/ 2021
I would like to improve my marathon PB (if any marathons are taking place in 2021), run my first 100miler, and say "yes" to more running missions/adventures.
Describe yourself in 3 words: Loyal, open-minded, determined
Favorite race? Old Ghost Ultra on the West Coast of NZ
Favorite running shoe? SCOTT Supertrac RC
Your most important running gear? Garmin Inreach - especially when I am in remotes areas in NZ
Favorite snack/ gel during a run? Non-racing, some form of bliss ball
Are you a flat, uphill, or downhill runner? Flat
Run in the cold or run in the heat? Heat
Favorite racing distance? 50km-80km
Trail running idol? Jono Wyatt
Favorite trail? Paparoa Trail - West Coast of NZ
Strength workouts indoors or outdoor? Indoor
A quote that you would put on a T-Shirt "Don't be bitter be better"
PC: Lloyd Belcher