Friday, October 1, 2010

Ryan Hall explains

TimeOut Chicago reports
When did you start to feel like Chicago might not be in the cards this year?
It was a gradual process. I guess it started when I began to start to do some longer tempo runs. While my long tempo runs—12-18 miles run at marathon pace that I use as a key indicator of my fitness—usually are not all that impressive when I first start them, eight to 10 weeks prior to the marathon I usually see a lot of improvement. However, as the weeks passed by I saw a gradual decline in my ability to be able to run long tempo runs. Even with the decline I was optimistic things would turn around. It wasn’t until after a very poor run at the Philly Half [where Hall finished 14th] that the thought first entered my mind that I might not be able to get my body where it need to be to be able to give Chicago an honest run.

Was there one race or workout that solidified your feelings that it wasn’t the right time to race?
There were a series of bad workouts over the past weeks that certainly challenged my mental toughness, however I would always get up for the next workout believing it would be the workout that would begin to trigger a change in the right direction for me. I did feel like I was on an emotional roller coaster as I got up for the workouts then had to work through the disappointments of having the workouts not go well. In the end, it wasn’t one workout that told me I wasn’t ready it was looking back at the entire buildup and perpetual fatigue I had been feeling for the past six weeks. I can shake off a couple of bad workouts, but I also know when my body is ready to perform and when it’s not, and after taking a good honest look at the past couple of months there is no doubt in my mind that my body is telling me it needs complete rest if I’m going to ask it to perform at even higher levels in the future.

You mentioned that you need to let your body recover…how will you go about doing that? Will you take a complete break from running or back off the tough workouts or what?
Yeah, I am going to take a good break from running. I usually take two weeks of no running after a major marathon. I am going to be praying about it, but I am thinking I will take at least two weeks completely off, maybe more.

Since you already have a solid build-up under your belt, are you eyeing another fall or winter marathon?
No. I was so excited about running the Chicago Marathon and invested so much in my training for the event over the past six months I cannot imagine running anything else. Also, my body is tired and prolonging my training is the last thing my body is telling me to do. I am going to take a good break and get a fresh start for 2011.

What have you learned—mentally and physically—from this particular training period?
Running is a constant experiment yet it is also a art because there are no formulas. There are principles but no formulas. I think one of the big things that I learned was what works for me in particular. After the Boston Marathon I was so excited about how that race went and the potential that Chicago held that, even though I took two weeks off, I came back into training hard pretty quickly and didn’t put on the weight that I customarily do in the off season. In hindsight I think I may have been too lean for too long. Mentally, I would say this has been a good process for me to go through. I now know that I can mentally handle weeks on end of poor workouts and races and still be joyful and excited about life, which is a challenge when you invest as much into your sport as I do. It’s good for me to know that I can handle the worst so now I can run free from the fear of failure allowing me to go after my goals with a new lightness and passion.

How are you feeling emotionally about the decision?
It’s been an emotional roller coaster the past six weeks and it was hard to finally pull the trigger on not running Chicago. It was the death of a vision. I was expecting something amazing to happen in Chicago so it was an emotional let down to have that slip away from me. Now that I’m on the other side of the decision I feel like I have dealt with the disappointment and now I’m excited to move on.

I imagine it’s a mixture of relief but sadness after investing so much in this one race. How do you deal with those emotions?
I don’t necessarily try and change my emotions as I know we all go through a range of emotions in life. I just try and make sure to keep the right perspective. I find that if I have the right perspective my emotions usually follow suit.