Nutrition and Fuel Tips from Ryan Hall
When it comes to long distances, Ryan Hall runs away from the field. The champion distance runner established himself at Stanford University as a 3-time All-American leading the Cardinals to the 2003 Cross Country Team Championship and winning the NCAA Championship in the 5000 meters. After his stellar collegiate career, Hall remained a force to be reckoned with by winning the 2007 US Olympic Team Trial with a time of 2:09:02, shattering the 1980 record in the process. He is also the Co-Founder of The Steps Foundation, a growing community of radical runners stepping together to end global poverty. If you’re looking for the next great American distance runner, look no further.
When I first went to Stanford in the fall of 2001 I knew very little about nutrition. My nutritional plan in high school included eating whatever food my mom put in front of me. Lucky for me, my mom was a healthy cook and her food fueled me to a then state record in the 1600 meters (4:02) and a personal best of 3:42.7 in the 1500 meters (equivalent to a 4:00.5 mile). Once I was in college and eating in the dorms I continued to eat “whatever was put in front of me” but that didn’t work out very well for my athletic career (as I am sure you can imagine). Not only did I put on 10 quick pounds but I also was not fueling my body properly to achieve my goals in running.
Since my days in the bay area (I now train in Mammoth Lakes, Ca) I have since learned a lot about nutrition, thanks to my wife and personal nutritionist (Dr. Clyde Wilson) not only about how to eat proper meals but also about the importance of meal timing. I have been using CytoMax and Muscle Milk since I graduated from Stanford and began my career as a professional runner in the Summer of 2005. Muscle Milk has become a tasty staple in my diet ever since, as my performances have improved year after year culminating in an American Record for the Boston Marathon course this past April (2:08:41).
I included Muscle Milk in my pre-Boston marathon breakfast, which included three pieces of sourdough bread, one tablespoon of olive oil, and Muscle Milk. Then I immediately put down another Muscle Milk at the finish line to begin the recovery process. I continued to sip on a Muscle Milk shake for the remainder of the day to have a steady flow of small amounts of protein to continue to restore my body.
On a daily basis, one of my wife and my favorite staples is Muscle Milk Pancakes. We have them almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Muscle Milk pancakes are quick, a great source of protein, sit well on our stomachs, and taste amazing. We mix one scoop of Muscle Milk Light Cake Batter with a 1/2 cup of our favorite pancake mix (Kodiak Cakes) and put Smart Balance Light on top. They don’t even need syrup! Just writing about them makes my mouth water.
I have learned the importance of taking in protein consistently throughout the day. I make sure to include it in all my meals and especially after hard workouts. I take a Chocolate Muscle Milk immediately after my workouts, and then I learned from Dr. Clyde, to have another shake to sip on throughout the rest of the day prior to my second run. Whereas, when I was in college I would put down a pound of meat in one sitting (far more than my body could absorb) I have learned to spread my protein intake out over the duration of the day and to make sure to take in protein when my body needs it most: directly after workouts. Hopefully you too can learn to give your body what it craves most, when it craves it.