Friday: Expo daySoooo, as I was interviewing Elite Marathoner Ryan Hall at the expo… I asked him what differences he has experienced with new coach Dr. Jack Daniels. He said that Jack is very down to earth, but very detailed and prescriptive in his training plans. Jack’s VDOT system is very interesting. As Ryan likes to experiment, Jack will work with him to make adjustments and monitor the performance changes. Jack is very humble and will say “I don’t know”, when he doesn’t know. An example was when Ryan did not do very well in a race and it surprised both Ryan and Jack. When Ryan asked Jack what he thought went wrong, Jack replied “I don’t know”. Ryan appreciates the honesty and the humility in the coach. I also asked what did not work so well from Jack – he said that Jack wanted to have 3 easy days between each hard workout, but Ryan found he works best with just 2 easy days between, or he feels sluggish.
Other Ryan stories:
He was about 15 minutes late for the interview, and when he arrived he shared his story: He just spent 2 days flying back from Ethiopia and had a short run this morning. He was catchingup on his jet lag, so he set the alarm for 3:15 in his hotel and had a nap. His phone starts ringing at 3:30 – he set the alarm for AM and not PM – so don’t let that happen to you on race day! 🙂 He knows a lot of running routes from airports when he has layovers – he especially likes LAX as there is an In-N-Out Burger, one mile from the airport and he runs there to eat. Frankfurt has some amazing wooded trails next to it.
He LOVES coffee and is very particular in how it is made – he does not allow his wife to make it as she just throws the stuff in… Ryan roasts his own beans and uses a pour-over coffee maker. He has a special tea pot that heats the water to precisely 204 degrees F (the perfect temp to properly make coffee) and he has a precise ratio of coffee to water. When Ryan is heading to a city, he searches Yelp for the best coffee shop in the area. He only allows himself caffeinated coffee on hard workout days (so having 3 easy days between hard workouts deprived him ofanother day without coffee…).
Ryan also talked about his mother-in-law running her first marathon at age 55. She got a plan of the web (her daughter and son-in-law are elite distance runners… I assume she didnt’ want to bother them) and she said things were going well, even with her longest run being 13 miles… Ryan thought to himself (oh my), but said that she should focus on enjoying the experience (OMG). Thankfully things worked out well for her and she had a great day. [Take away – don’t kill yourself in training and limit your long runs to something acceptable. Note that the elites rarely go over 20 miles, and they are still done in about 2 hours]
Ryan talked about his bout with Plantar Fasciitis and trying to run through it with race obligations and the Olympics coming up. It ended up causing more problems in his hamstring and knee due to the compensations. He finally had to take some time off. [Take away – even the Elites with all their support, have to deal with these types of injuries]
When asked about how he deals with “lows”, he said that when you get to the start line, it is a new day for everyone and the slate is clean. Regardless of some bad warm-up races or some rough training periods, there is still the opportunity for greatness.
…and Ryan said he had to get a selfie with me!