Running Rules from Olympian Ryan Hall
Running Rules from Olympian Ryan Hall
The U.S. marathoner breaks down which running rules to follow—and which to break
Photo By ASICS America
If you’re a runner, you’ve probably been told to find a running training plan, drink tons of sports drinks, and eat a heaping helping of pasta the night before a race. Here’s the thing: These running “rules” you pick up from friends and pros may be passed on with the best of intentions, but by no means do you have to follow them. In fact, sometimes breaking them is the best thing you can do. Two-time Olympic Marathoner Ryan Hall, 29, knows a thing or two about unconventional training methods. “I like to keep things fresh and new,” he says. “Experimenting can be messy, but I believe it will eventually lead to a breakthrough if I stay with it long enough.” We got Hall’s expert ruling on these common running guidelines.
Training runs should be at your goal race pace
Ryan says: “I really agree with this, but not more than two or three times per week. The other days of the week should be casual and fun.”
Refuel with carbs and electrolytes on runs longer than one hour
Ryan says: “The best time to take in carbs is right after you run. Even if I don’t feel like eating because my stomach is a little saucy, I still put down a pancake or some other carb so I can start the recovery process right away.”
Replace your shoes every 300-500 miles
Ryan Says: “I am big advocate of getting the best footwear possible and keeping your shoes fresh. My favorite training shoes are the Asics Gel Cumulus and my favorite racing shoes are the Asics Gel Hyperspeeds [Hall is sponsored by Asics]. I usually go through three pairs of shoes per month because I run so many miles.”
Speed and hill work are a must when training for a longer race, like a half or full marathon.
Ryan Says: “Both hill and speed work are very important, and I implement both of them when I train for marathons. Hill work can be a great replacement for weight training, but I don’t recommend running down hills (it can beat your legs up for weeks).”
Wear a GPS watch every time you head out for a run.
Ryan Says: “GPS can be your best friend or your worst enemy. When I am first beginning my training, I’d rather not know how slow I am going, but once I get in good shape, it can be really encouraging to realize how fit I’m getting, so sometimes I wear one and sometimes I don’t.”
Train Every Day
Ryan Says: “I think taking one day off a week is a good way to maintain a healthy balance in training and life. I take my watch off on my day off and wear normal clothes and try and pretend like I am not a runner.”
At least one 20-mile (or longer) long run is a must before a marathon
Ryan Says: “You don’t have to run as much as you would think in your training leading up to the race. It has been said that it’s better to be 100 miles under-trained than one step over-trained. Half the battle in a marathon is getting to the starting line healthy. If you are smart and gradually increase your mileage and work up to one 17-20 mile run, you will have a great time.”
Follow it… to an extent
Always stick to a training plan
Ryan Says: “It’s a balance here. I have learned to be more in tune with my body and do what my body is telling me to do over what is written in a training plan. However, on certain days I ask my body to go through some pretty grueling workouts.”
Have a mantra and use it
Ryan Says: “Mantras can be very effective. I like to practice what I want to be thinking in races when I am practicing. One of my favorites is ‘if its not fun, its not worth doing it.'”
Eat carbs the night before a long run or race Ryan Says: “Absolutely, but do it in smaller portions. I eat five to six small meals the day before my marathon but I limit my carb intake to 400 calories per meal—so no monster plates of pasta for me.”
Get at least eight hours of sleep a night during training
Ryan Says: “Listen to your body—everyone needs different amounts. I typically sleep nine hours a day plus an hour and half nap but my wife, Sara [also a professional runner], only needs eight hours and doesn’t nap. I think the principle here is to make sure you are prioritizing recovery.”
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