Last month, Mappy Hour Cleveland gathered at Goldhorn Brewery to talk trail running with Amy Ruszala. Amy, an ambassador for Dirtbag Runners, began running to relieve stress and has been scaling her distances since her first half-marathon. She has trained through stress fractures and injuries, completed numerous 50k races, and crushed a 100k.
Amy’s love for trail running is contagious. If you’ve caught the bug and want to start training for a long race, from shoes, to training, to food, she’s got some advice for you:
- When buying your first pair of shoes, try a local shoe store that will let you run down the block. It’s great to start with a brand that already works for you. You’ll also want to find shoes with a rock plate and go a size larger than your current size because your feet will swell.
- Google training schedules and change them to fit your schedule and abilities. For example, you can set a weekly mileage goal that you achieve with smaller runs during the week, plus a larger one over the weekend.
- Build in a weight lifting program that includes hard weights 2-3 months before you start a running program. Then incorporate it into a running regimen as you ease off weights, which could mean you have double workout days.
- Find a go-to running crew for training motivation and mutual support.
- Practice what you will eat race day while you train.
- Hydrate by using salt tabs on hot days and trying electrolyte mixes during training. Amy uses Skratch.
Even for the non-runner, Amy’s enthusiasm for just getting out there and enjoying the run was inspiring. If you’re ready to start training for a race, she recommends Western Reserve Racing for local races, or browsing by state on UltraSignup if you’re interested in making a trip of it.
Last weekend, Amy upped her game once again and ran in the Laurel Highlands 70-Mile race. You can follow her adventures and races at @amyau8.