April 17, 2014
The fastest marathoner in US history, Ryan Hall, hasn’t finished a marathon in over two years. After finishing second at the 2014 US Olympic Trials in Houston in January of 2012, Hall dropped out of the Olympics and then pulled out of three straight marathons that he was committed to running- 2012 New York, 2013 Boston and 2013 New York.
If you think that’s been incredibly depressing for him, think again. Hall told LRC, “The last two years have been the best two years of my career.”
Hall’s response was one of many he gave us to a slew of questions we sent him last week via email and which he answered this Wednesday afternoon (we’ll see him at the media day as well this week).
As for Monday’s race, Hall who spent a month, from March 10th to April 10th, training at 9,000 feet in Ethiopia with his wife Sara, is very excited.
“My training has been great. I have never felt so sponge-like, just absorbing everything I am doing and recovering very fast,” wrote Hal. He said twice a week in week in Ethiopia he did a 50 minute fartlek on the track of 5,000 and 10,000 world record holder Kenenisa Bekele. Then once a week he banged “out super long and hard tempo runs on the roads, by far the hardest tempo/long runs I have done.”
“I am 100% healthy and really excited to run,” wrote Hall. “Be ready for anything, expect nothing. Listen to my body and run accordingly. Love God and love other people. Leave it all out on the race course. “
The full Q&A with had with Ryan Hall appears below.
Q&A With Ryan Hall
Ryan Hall: The last two years have been the best two years of my career. I learned a lot about myself and how to train properly. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I believe that without these last two years I would have never realized my full potential which I expect to be coming soon and I believe will be a very significant improvement to my marathon running and more importantly to the longevity of my career.
In the low moments there are always doubts but I have learned to never make any decisions when I am going through either extreme lows or highs. It’s all part of the journey.
We know you’ve been training in Ethiopia. What made you choose Ethiopia versus Kenya where you’ve been before?
Sara had been in Ethiopia before we went to Kenya last fall and raved about it. I was stoked to have the opportunity to check it out for myself. Also, where we stayed in Ethiopia (10k outside of Addis at the beautiful YaYa Village) is at 9,000 ft, which is significantly higher in altitude than Kenya, which has its place in training in my mind. But don’t get me wrong, I love Kenya as well.
Ethiopia was amazing. I was there for a month from about the 10th of March to the 10th of April. I felt like my fitness increased exponentially during that time. Where we stayed at Yaya Village is at 9,000 ft and is a very nice, peaceful, tranquil setting. The rooms were spacious and comfy, the staff was super friendly and the restaurant offered amazing food and drinks (their Yaya machiatto’s were amazing). The running was great, especially for easy days. I spent 2 days a week doing 50 minute farlek running on Bekele’s super nice, super soft, all-weather track and then one day a week banging out super long and hard tempo runs on the roads, by far the hardest tempo/long runs I have done. Then the recovery days were all done on the satellite field, which is a 5 mile around grass field that is super soft and feels like you are massaging your legs. I felt like my recovery was amazing up there. I had lots of support from the YaYa staff, especially the owner Joseph, who drove alongside of me and gave me fluids on my long road days and met other local runners for an occasional easy day run. There were other foreign athletes there that I really enjoyed doing some easy running with and hanging out with in the down time. I also made a friend at Yaya (Tigini) who accompanied on almost all my easy running. I ran almost all of my hard sessions on my own.
How has your training been? Have you been 100% healthy? When didyour training cycle for this race begin? Has your training been similar to what it was like for past marathons or have you made changes in an effort to stay healthy?
My training has been great. I have never felt so sponge-like, just absorbing everything I am doing and recovering very fast. I talked about it above. I am 100% healthy and really excited to run. I’ve done a traditional 12 week marathon buildup with an emphasis on speed during the week and extremely high quality long tempo runs on the weekend. It has gone great but I expect to keep growing a lot from here. I am not at the height of where I will one day get but I am on my way and in a very good spot. I train much smarter now.
What are your expectations for Boston? Have you done anything that is a real fitness indicator or similar to something you’ve done in the past? Or do you purposely avoid those type of things?
My training has been different so I can’t really compare. Plus being at 9,000 ft doesn’t give you great indicators or where your fitness is at, you have to go based on how you are feeling and I am feeling great.
What do you think your race plan will be?
Same as always. Be ready for anything, expect nothing. Listen to my body and run accordingly. Love God and love other people. Leave it all out on the race course. I won’t have anything more tangible than that on my mind in Hopkington.
You were only added to the Boston field at the beginning of March, 6 weeks isn’t close to a full marathon buildup. Were you planning on running on Boston all along but simply not announcing until you were healthy of has this been a shortened buildup?
N/A (Editor’s Note: Hall above indicated he’s done a traditional 12 week buildup so he clearly started training for a spring marathon, presumably Boston before it was announced).
Was Sara with you in Ethiopia? She had a good 10 mile run last week at the US Champs. What did you think of that?
Yeah. She was. Yeah, she ran great at Cherry Blossom. That gave me a huge shot of confidence that the preparation we have put in in Ethiopia is paying off and will continue to pay off.
More: LetsRun.com Messageboard Discussion About Hall and Boston 2014: Ryan Hall eliminated JUNK MILEAGE.