From Distance Running to Weightlifting with Ryan Hall

From Distance Running to Weightlifting with Ryan Hall

Ryan Hall, the unofficial American marathon record-holder, talks about leaving running behind to embrace weightlifting and other new challenges.

Ryan Hall left the pro running circuit in 2016. The U.S. half marathon record-holder and unofficial American marathon record-holder has a new passion these days — bodybuilding. From running a sub-2:05 Boston Marathon in 2011 to putting on 40 pounds of muscle, Hall found a new fulfilling way of expressing himself after his body told him his competitive long-distance running days were over.

The two-time Olympian joins Dirk to discuss the process of shifting disciplines, the challenges and benefits of coaching his wife Sara, and the coaching lessons he’s learned throughout his 20-year career and beyond.

Stand-Out Quotes

  • “For the first time when I decided to retire, I could just sit back and be very thankful for what running gave me, and for the level I was able to get at. And for the first time I could just appreciate everything and stop striving, and that felt so good to my soul and spirit.” 
  • “My goal is to get as big and strong as I can possibly get. So I’m just on this crazy experiment of someone who has all the wrong genetics.” 
  • “I think it can be helpful for people if they need to transition out of running to realize that it might not even be the running that they’re so in love with — it may just be that they love to express themselves through the running. So when I transitioned away from running, the question was how can I express myself in a way that I’ll enjoy it in a new activity that isn’t running? For me, weightlifting just ticked all those boxes and I just fell in love with it.” 
  • “What I learned from that experience is just how important it is for marathoners to stay close to their best ever 5K shape. The closer you can be to PR 5K shape, the better your marathon is going to be.” 
  • “Now seeing things through the coaching lens, it’s so important that we bend our training based on how our body is doing and how it’s adapting to the training. That’s when you’re going to get those optimal results.”
  • “It’s the most challenging coaching relationship I have without a doubt. You speak with your spouse differently than you speak with an athlete. There are little moments where it’s tough, but the majority of the time I feel so blessed to be able to coach her.” 
  • “I think the gold standard to coaching is being able to read athletes really well and to customize things according to them.” 

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