Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Text of Ryan Hall's training for London Marathon 2007 pasted below:
By Brom Hoban
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Americans have not had a reputation as great marathoners since the heyday of the 1970s and '80s. Back then, runners like Bill Rodgers and Alberto Salazar racked up multiple wins at both the Boston and New York Marathons. And let's not forget Frank Shorter or Joan Samuelson, who picked up gold medals in the Olympic marathon.

That was a generation ago.

Ryan Hall, left, ran the fastest time for an American and finished seventh in his first London Marathon in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 24 seconds.

But now it looks like we are staging something of a comeback.

Deena Kastor, who set an American record last year with her 2:19:36 win at London and won the bronze at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, is one of the top female marathoners in the world. Meb Keflezighi earned marathon silver in 2004 — the first American man to medal since Shorter took silver in his second Olympic marathon 30 years earlier.

And on Sunday morning, running in warm conditions at the prestigious London Marathon, Ryan Hall ran the fastest debut marathon ever by an American. His 2:08:24 (seventh place overall) eclipsed the 2:09:41 debut record shared by Salazar and Alan Culpepper.

Kenya's Martin Lel won the race in 2:07:41, while China's Zhou Chunxiu won the women's race in 2:20:37.

Hall, who popped an amazing 59:43 to set an American record at the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon in January, trained specifically for the London Marathon after his Houston win, which was also his debut for that distance. And unlike Dathan Ritzenhein, another great up-and-coming young American marathoner, who had a disappointing debut at New York this past fall (2:14:01), Hall got it right the first time.

What's interesting about Hall, a 24-year old Stanford graduate, is that he trains with Kastor out at Mammoth Lakes, Calif. Obviously, they've figured out a successful approach to the 26.2-mile monster that has stymied so many young American hopefuls.

Coached by Terrence Mahon, who also coaches Kastor, Hall set about preparing for London about a month after his impressive run in Houston. Highlights of Hall's 12-week buildup for London included five tempo runs of 12 miles or longer, five runs of two hours and 15 minutes or longer and four marathon simulations running eight to 10 miles at a moderate pace and then putting in eight to 10 miles at marathon pace.

For Hall, a "marathon simulation" run means a 23-mile run as follows: 10 miles at 5:45 pace, 10 miles at marathon effort (4:55 pace) and then a three-mile cooldown. His 15-mile tempo runs were also done at 4:55 pace.

And here's a nice touch. Many marathoners consider 20 miles plenty of distance for their furthest long run, but three weeks before London, Hall ran a full 26 miles at a moderate pace — a practice recommended by Jeff Galloway, who has coached thousands of marathoners.

"It gave me a lot more confidence that miles 20-26 aren't something to be scared of, just respected," Hall wrote on his blog.

But beyond the sheer talent and smart training, maybe it's Hall's positive attitude that serves him best.

A few days before London, he said, "I will step to the line knowing that I have done everything I could do to be ready for this, and then the fun part begins. 26.2 miles testing my body and celebrating all the hard work that has gone into this one moment, and it all happens on two hours one Sunday morning."

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