Sara Hall Interview

Many of you are probably familiar with Sara Hall, a professional runner who competes in events ranging from the 1500m to 5k. She is married to Olympic marathoner Ryan Hall and the two train together near Flagstaff, Arizona.

Sara Hall recently took the time to field some questions from ZOOMA ambassadors regarding her training (she is running the ZOOMA Great Lakes race with her mother). I thought I would share the questions and her answers with you!

1. How often do you and Ryan run together and how has running strengthened your relationship and how do you make each other better runners? -Bethany from Our Love On The Run (

We are fortunate to run together usually ever day. Fortunately our training run pace is the same, though our hard workout paces are vastly different! It’s been a great thing for our relationship to have that quality time together. As we all know, on a run conversation flows differently than anywhere else, and we love talking about our goals and dreams for the future as well as what God is doing in our lives in the moment.

2.  I have been following your Steps Foundation for a few years now after reading about it in a magazine.  I’m curious if beginning this foundation has changed your perspective on running and its potential impact on the world. – Nancy from Living the Dream (

Thanks for following Steps! Ryan and I feel very honored to have a community of supporters that are committed to running for a reason- bettering the health of underserved communities world wide. It has been amazing to see the tangible impact a race can have on a community halfway around the world, whether bringing basic health care or clean water. It’s added to our motivation and given our running more depth to have a cause we care so much about.

3.  What does an “average” in season training week look like for you? -Jessica from 30 Something Mother Runner (

An average week of training involves 80 miles for the week with 3 hard workouts and lots of easy training runs around 7-8 min/ mile pace. My hard workouts are usually some form of interval session on the track where I am running paces specific to my race, a tempo run that is at “marathon pace”, and a long run around 15 miles.

4.  You train with your Olympic Marathoner husband and you will be running ZOOMA Great Lakes with your mom, what do you think are the benefits of running with loved ones? – Amy Caine from Running Escapades (

Being able to share running with people you love is such a blessing! My husband and I have been able to travel the world together and explore so many areas, making life-long memories. It has really helped our relationship to have the consistent quality time together on runs. And now having my mom start running has been a fun way we can connect in a way that we never related before! All of a sudden she understands me so much better, as she goes through the same things. The health benefits of running are well known, and it’s always comforting knowing the ones you love are staying fit. Doing something that improves your health together is a great way to show love to your friends and family.

5.  How do you deal with race performance disappointment after training so hard to achieve a goal? – Michelle from Running With Attitude (

It’s definitely a process learning to deal with disappointment. One thing that has helped me is realizing just how much God loves all of us regardless of how we perform, and that we never have to perform for His love, that it is unconditional. I always knew this in my head, but getting a full revelation of it in my heart really helped me to no longer fear failure, and when I did failure, helped me keep my performance in perspective. I’ve learned to separate my identity from what I “do”, that is a part of who I am but my performance does not dictate my value as a person. I also love to be around friends and family after a disappointing race because you see how little changes when you’re around people who just love you for who you are.

I think it’s ok to be disappointed though when you’ve invested a lot in a goal. But after letting myself grieve for a bit I like to choose a new goal and start working towards that.

6.  What strategies do you have for getting past the discomfort of your hardest workouts and races so you can perform your best? – Kim from

The best way to work on pain tolerance for a race is talking yourself through it in practice. One mantra I like to use “Relax and Roll”. For some reason, that works for me to relax into the pain, but keep my legs rolling at a fast pace. My workouts often feel more painful than the race itself since I don’t have the race-day adrenalin and endorphins. I also get extremely deep and painful massage on a weekly basis that has made anything I do in running feel easy!

7.  What do you think about during your runs?”- Maggie from Mag Mile Runner (

Since I began running I have always cherished the time of letting my mind wander in a way that only happens when on a run. Often I am replaying things in my mind of note from the days prior, bringing up things that are weighing on me and praying about them. Sometimes I’m seeking God for a specific thing and trying to get His perspective. A lot of times I’m thinking about my training, how I’m responding to it, and what I need to change in the coming days. And I like to visualize my upcoming races!


Olympic Marathon Trials 2012 Recap

Wow! That about sums up my reaction to the Olympic Marathon Trials women’s race! I willingly admit that I was unable to refrain from checking Twitter for updates on both the men’s and women’s races. I just couldn’t hold out until 3pm (thanks NBC for making us wait 6 hours to watch the race!).

The women’s race had a really stacked field, and viewers were not disappointed. Although the women got off to a slower start, an eventual lead pack consisted of Desiree Davila, Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher and Amy Hastings.

Source (click on photo)

Very late in the race Flanagan was able to break away from Desi Davila and take first place with a record-breaking 2:25:38 (also a new PR!). Davila finished second in 2:25:55 and Goucher in third at 2:26:06. Shalane has had a lot of success this past year on the track and her speed clearly showed in the last mile of the race. Incidentally, Flanagan and Goucher are now team mates. How cool is it that they get to train for the Olympics together?

I am very happy to report that Wendy Thomas finished her debut marathon (yes it was her first!) in the 12th spot with a time of 2:34:25. That’s a pretty impressive time for a first marathon- go Wendy!

The men’s race pretty much went as predicted with Meb Keflezighi (2:09:08) and Ryan Hall (2:09.30) taking the number one and two spots. Although Meb barely missed breaking the Trials record for the marathon, he succeeded in becoming the first man to win both the Olympic Trials Marathon and the New York City Marathon. He also became the oldest man to win the Trials at age 36 (he’s also a father runner to 3 girls).

The heartbreaker in this race was Dathan Ritzenhein. He ran such a great race. He was with the lead pack for quite a while and dropped off towards the end. Trailing a clearly faltering Abdi Abdirahman for the third spot, he surged at the end and barely missed taking the third qualifying spot. You could see the tears and frustration on his face as he crossed the finish line and realized how close he was to making it to the Olympics. I was almost in tears myself—I can only imagine what that might feel like.

I really enjoyed getting to watch the Olympic Marathon Trials on national television–I just wish NBC hadn’t decided to air it so much later. There was way too much time for spoilers! Go Team USA!