Ryan's golden rules for successful marathon training
1 SLOW DOWN ON RECOVERY DAYS
"For a long time, I lacked the confidence to back off on easy days. As a result, my body couldn't absorb all the great training. Now I have the confidence to run easy on recovery days, so I can bring the fire for hard workouts and race days."
2 EAT SMART
"I never have a problem consuming enough calories, one reason why I think I am a good marathoner. But I make sure each meal or snack has protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Here's my favorite breakfast: Cytomax pancakes made with one scoop Muscle Milk, a half-cup Trader Joe's pancake mix, and topped with Smart Balance butter." (Hall and his wife, Sara, demonstrate the meal, below left.)
3 GIVE YOUR RUNS A PURPOSE
"Running for a charity—in my case, World Vision—has revolutionized my running. Nothing compares to the feeling of going out on a training run knowing that I'm part of an effort that's touching thousands of lives. I hope to build this into a legacy that outlives my records. I think everyone should run for a cause."
"I'm not the best at sitting down for long prayer sessions, but I do short prayers as often as I can. I pray when I do the dishes in the morning before I run. Whether I win a race or not, I always find that prayer gives me perspective and opens up a world of possibilities."
5 GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Everyone else seems to call their afternoon shuteye 'naps.' I call them 'business meetings.' On my easy days, I schedule two hours for these meetings. When you're sleeping, your body absorbs all the hard work. It's ironic: one of the best ways to get better is to do nothing."