2000 Foot Locker Finalist Ryan Hall shares his thoughts on the taper, qualifying and Ritzenhein's "fast" start.
Q: Can you please describe some of the most important memories from your FLCC experience?
A: Getting put up in the nicest hotel I had been in at that point in my life.
Having lunch with Alan Webb and others after the race. Watching all the
guys hit on Sara. Having everyone hype up how fast Dathan was going to go
out, only to see him jogging the first mile. Trying to run down Alan in the last half mile of the race but coming up a little bit short. All in all it was the first time that I had been treated like a king for being a runner. In a culture where running isn't as highly esteemed as others sports, it was nice to get a taste of what if feels like to be a professional athlete in a sport where people care.
Q: Can you provide some tips for runners preparing for the regionals?
A: I would say to those who have a good shot at making the team to be patient
the first mile. A lot of kids are going to go out hard and put themselves
in the mix for picking up a spot on the national team but the team is really
decided in the last mile, half mile and even final meters of the race. Make
sure to finish strong. You don't want to be the hunted in the homestretch.
Q: Do you have any tips for runners who qualify and have one or two weeks of downtime between their regional race and the Nationals?
A: If you qualified a couple of weeks early, make sure to not totally go into
rest mode for the next two weeks. Cut down the quantity of your weekly
mileage and the actual volume of your workouts, but make sure to keep some
short, hard efforts in until the last week before the competition. Also,
strides go a long way in keeping my legs feeling sharp for the competition.
Q: What are some race strategies for the runners at the National Finals?
A: In the race, be ready for everything yet expect nothing. Meaning, no matter what everyone is saying around you, don't get one vision for the race stuck in your head. Keep an open mind to a variety of ways the race could play out. Be ready for it to be slow, fast, or anywhere in between, but at some point make sure to assert yourself and run your race regardless of what
everyone is doing around you.
Do what has been working for you all season. You are at Foot Locker for a
reason, because you are one of the best high school runners in the country-
obviously what you’re doing is working, so don't try something new for the first time just because you see someone else doing it around you. Most
importantly do enjoy every minute of your experience because it is going to
go by way too fast, and don't beat yourself up over the outcome of the race.
This is just the beginning of your career as a national caliber athlete;
don't sweat mistakes along the way, just learn from them.