I can run two miles before I'm out of commission. (Not to brag).
Sara Hall can run a little bit farther — 24.2 miles more to be exact — and she can move with the best in the world.
Hall starred at cross country for Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa, California. Then, she ran track at Stanford University, where she competed in long-distance events in addition to helping the cross country team win a national championship in 2003.
Distance running has always been a part of Hall's DNA, but it was taken to another level when she met her husband Ryan Hall during her days in Palo Alto.
Ryan introduced Sara to marathon running. Since, she's broken the record for the fastest women's half-marathon in American history. Now, she's taking on her biggest challenge yet:
Breaking the American marathon record.
Sara Hall Looks to Break Women's American Marathon Record
Ryan and Sara are more than just a husband and wife who reside in Flagstaff, Arizona with four daughters. They're coach and runner. Ryan, the American record holder for the fastest men's half and full marathon, has hung up the running shoes, but now he spends his time helping Sara reach her goals.
"Ryan doesn't run anymore, but he's now my coach," Hall said. "It's been really fun to have something to work on together. He made it look so fun throughout his career and obviously brings a lot of expertise, but he also just knows me really well as a person. Bringing that into it, it's been fun to have a project to work on together."
Hall finished in 22nd with a time of 2:48:02 in her first marathon in Los Angeles in 2015, which she proclaims was a disaster. Over time, she's gotten better and better and seems to be hitting her stride in 2022.
She broke the American women's half marathon record at the Houston Half Marathon in January with a time of 1:07:15 that beat the previous record by 10 seconds. At the Tokyo Marathon in March, she finished in eighth with a time of 2:22:56 — only three minutes off Keira DAmato's record of 2:19:12 set in early 2022. Hall attributes her improvement to getting over her fear of failure.
"For a long time, I was really fearing failure because I had so much success in the sport at a young age," Hall said. "Once I started having some failures, I started getting less excited about competing and more worried about failing. Once you start doing that, you're more limited in your potential. For me, it took a process of getting an identity a part from running. Running is just something I do, and it's not my self worth and belonging on the line every time out. Once you're rooted in that mindset, you can be free to take risks and fail."
With her reshaped mentality, Hall figured the marathon record was within reach a couple of years ago.
"It's something I started to feel capable of back in 2019," Hall said. "I just tried to improve my long-tempos and my long-runs by a couple of seconds each build up. As I've gotten older, I've focused on training smarter, not harder. That includes recovery and staying healthy. You know, getting the right kind of therapy as well as the proper protein supplementation like the MusleTech Pure Series and getting those in at the right time."
MuscleTech, who Hall has a partnership with, has also helped her adjust her nutrition and diet plan.
"Protein supplementation is huge," said Hall. "We're constantly breaking down our bodies with those 130-mile weeks. I like to start my morning with a pancake where I add in MuschleTech Pure Series Protein powder. Throughout the day, I also mix in the protein powder. I make sure to get it in within 30 minutes of finishing a workout because that's a key recovery period as well. I'm also a big proponent of organic vegetables and grass-fed meats. Carbs are just as important, too, and I take MuscleTech 8-hour Protein before bed because it's a slower-burning protein that your muscles will feed on while you sleep."
Hall's new nutrition plan could make the difference for the rest of her 2022 campaign. The distance runner came within a minute of her ultimate goal at The Marathon Project in Chandler, Arizona in 2020 by finishing with a time of 2:20:32 — only 56 seconds behind Deena Kastor's then record of 2:19:36. Win, lose, break the record or not, she won't be calling it quits on marathons anytime soon.
She sat out the 2022 Boston Marathon because of a knee injury but has her sights set on the World Athletics Championships in July.
"I'm so addicted to running that I have a hard time taking time off," Hall said. "It takes a lot getting over the hump, but I always tell people to stick with it. Once you get over the hump, it becomes much easier and it's a lot of fun. Then, you start getting those runner's high feelings."
With the support of her husband (and coach), four daughters and a revamped nutrition plan, Hall is certainly capable of putting her name in the record books for a second time. If she doesn't, you can bet she'll try again.
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