Ryan Hall is the fastest American marathoner on the road today with a personal best of 2:06:17. He won the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2007 and owns the American half-marathon record. For Ryan, running is spiritual, and is part of an overall holistic lifestyle. If you had to pick a professional athlete as a role model for your son or daughter, Ryan would be a slam-dunk.
We talked to Ryan about everything from his tips for first time marathoners, his thoughts on nutrition, visualization, and even his Steps Foundation, which aims to end global poverty.
MindBodyGreen: What's the biggest life lesson you've learned from running?
Ryan Hall: Ironically, one of the biggest life lessons I've learned is not to compare myself to others. In a sport where the name of the game is all about how you stack up to the rest of the world I have found that I run my best when I am focused on what I am doing and not caught up in how I stack up to the guys around me. Over my career as a marathoner I have been able to not get discouraged when other runners throw in surges and still manage to come back and finish very high in the race, largely because I didn't get discouraged because other people were (at the time) doing better than me. I try and find satisfaction in the completion of the journey rather than what place I come in.
MBG: Any tips for someone who's running their first marathon?
RH: Along those lines I would say run your own race. Pay attention to your body and run accordingly, but at the same time you must believe that your body is capable of even more than you believe. Stay focused on the task at hand, not the miles ahead or the miles that have past. Stay in the moment. Pray.