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Running With Ryan Hall: His Top 6 Marathon Running Tips

Because there is so much fun stuff going on in New York City when it comes to fitness (and because Erin has a super-cute little one at home making traversing the Big Apple a touch more complicated), FBG has added Raquel Guss as our “New York correspondent.” Below Raquel goes On the Scene to cover a yoga class that was part of a weekend-long NYC Marathon event sponsored by Nissan Leaf. —Jenn


I laced my running shoes for a not-so-usual jaunt around Central Park.  Nope, I wasn’t prepping for the 26.2 miles race of my life (like many runners were). I was getting ready to race Ryan Hall, the fastest American runner, to the finish line of the ING New York City Marathon—well, kind of.

Ryan had just finished congratulating his wife, Sara, on her first place rank at the Dash to the Finish Line 5K when he joined me for a run in the park. Since running the Chicago marathon in early October with a time of 2:08:04 (!), he planned to sit this marathon out—and he deserved it. A native of Big Bear, Calif., Hall’s running career started as a junior in high school after the 2000 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, where he placed third. He has since broken American records many times over and still thinks there is so much more to look forward to.

But since the marathon was in the air, many avid and newbie runners (like myself) wanted to know how to create a plan of attack for one of the longest runs of their lives—so I asked him for some marathon running tips. I mean, who would know better how to run a marathon than the one and only Ryan Hall?

Ryan Hall’s Top 6 Marathon Running Tips


When not running with bloggers, Ryan Hall lives in Big Bear, Calif., with his wife Sara and his two Siberian Huskies—his other “running partners.”

1. Do not try anything new. If you know oatmeal in the morning gives you the energy to haul ass, Hall says then you better eat your oats on race day. (We like this guy.)

2. Attack one mile at a time. The key? Stay in the moment, he says.

3. Get comfortable with the course so you know what to expect. If you don’t have the opportunity to run the course, do what Ryan did for Chicago: Virtually run through the course on YouTube a thousand times over until it feels like you’ve actually run it.

4. Get most of your nutrition in the first half of the race. Yes, you’ll need the energy. When it comes to race drinks, make them diluted in the beginning because you still have energy from your pre-run meal, strong in the middle because you’ll need a pick-me-up, and diluted at the end. Hall promises you’ll still make it to the end.

5. Avoid fibrous foods—or anything that will cause your stomach to go “ugh.” Not only will it ruin your run, but the guy or gal behind you may pass out…and it won’t be from exhaustion.

6. Rest! Hall always takes one day off a week and two weeks off after a marathon. This means it’s okay to sit on the couch. You’ve earned it.

And then after you run your first race, you can get ready for the next one! Ryan runs two marathons (max) per year, and he has three favorites. Boston is the most historic with tons of energy, New York City has the best start and is most scenic (you run through all of New York City’s five boroughs), and Chicago is the quickest.

The finish of our jog ended at breakfast, and his last word of advice: “Go out hard—it’s easier to slow down than speed up!” Which I took as, “Give it all you got.”

Isn’t he the best? Do you have a favorite marathon? Which is it? —Raquel

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