Ryan Hall Answers Runners' Questions
I am always curious what questions other runners have, so it’s a pleasure to take some time and answer your questions from the Innovation for Endurance community. I hope that my answers can help you in some way. I should mention that we are all unique individuals with different needs and things that will work for us, but at the same time I still believe there are principles that can be helpful to us all regardless of our individual needs. I hope some of these principles come out in my answers and you are able to apply them to your unique self:
Natali Niente asked: During training, which supplements and endurance fuels do you take?
Ryan Hall: I like to use Cytomax Performance Drink. They have portable, easy-to-travel-with, single-use packets that are made with all-natural ingredients (e.g., stevia for a sweetener), which taste great. I typically take in 4 to 8 ounces of this electrolyte beverage every 15 minutes or so, depending on the duration of the workout and the temperature I am running in.
I think the thing to remember when it comes to fueling in practice or racing is listening to your body. For example, in my last marathon (the Olympic Marathon Trials), I was having stomach problems because I was taking Aleve to help me with some pain I was having because of plantar fasciitis, so rather than continuing to take in my usual amount of electrolyte beverage, I had to listen to my body and not take in as much as usual. My body was telling me that if I took anything else in I was going to get sick so I listened and was able to manage my stomach problems.
Linna Fang asked: When the going gets tough during the marathon, what mantras or things do you think about that gets you through the mile(s)?
Ryan Hall: It varies a lot. Sometimes I like to think about my family that I know is watching me and pulling for me. I like to think about my wife at the finish line waiting for me. I sometimes picture myself back at my home on one of my familiar training routes and put myself back there. Then there are times when I am not really thinking too much about anything, I just have my head down and am running hard, just trying to put one leg in front of the other as fast as I can.
Patrick Meade asked: From all your training what would be your best running advice?
Ryan Hall: Make your running fun. Sometimes I get in a routine of repeating the same workouts over and over again, which can at times make running rather dull and boring. I have found that if I am having fun I am usually also running well. Don’t be afraid to mix up your workouts or routes so that you are having fun on a daily basis. I would also say to make rest a big part of your training. Emphasize big workouts and then take enough recovery days to absorb the training.
Nathan Inkman asked: Do you ever think about getting back into some track races, and taking a break from the marathon/half marathon?
Ryan Hall: The marathon comes very naturally to me and honestly it’s where my heart is. With that said, I always leave the option open to hop back on the track. Watching my wife and others running fast on the track looks fun and I believe I could run fast if I focused on it, but I think it would take me a very long time to get back in 5k/10k track shape and right now trying to win a major marathon is much more exciting for me to think about.
Scott Hambly asked: What exactly is in your “every 5k” bottle? How much, what, and why?
Ryan Hall: I use Cytomax Performance Drink. I drink 4 to 8 ounces depending on how warm it is. I also take two gels during the race that I’ve pre-mixed into water. The goal with the bottles is to stay hydrated as long as possible without overhydrating. I try to take in a little extra early, as I know how difficult it can be to take in fluids towards the end of the race.