about

Run Free Training


Run Free Training was born out of the collaborative efforts of Ryan Hall and Jay Stephenson. Ryan’s career as a professional marathoner came to a close in 2016 after having career highlights of setting the American Record in the half marathon (59:43), becoming the fastest American to ever run the marathon (2:04:58) and competing in two Olympic Games (Beijing and London). In this transitional period after retiring, Ryan learned the death of one season is the birth of another. His efforts turned from trying to maximize his own physical performance to serving his newly formed family (Ryan and Sara adopted 4 biological sisters from Ethiopia in 2015) while also beginning the process of sharing the lessons he learned throughout his career with others. Ryan began his journey as a coach by coaching his wife Sara, who was and is currently competing as a world class marathoner, and eventually this organically grew into coaching other pro, elite, and recreational runners. It was in this new season of life that long-time friend, Jay Stephenson contacted Ryan about considering starting an online personal training business. Back in his day, Jay was a stud runner who was previously a top 10 finisher at the US 10k road championships. Shortly thereafter Jay transitioned to coaching, eventually at the collegiate level as the head coach of Shorter University. After finishing his stint as a college coach Jay continued coaching individual athletes and opened his own running store, Gogo Running, which remains a runners favorite in Rome, GA. Jay’s passion is to make his elite-level training philosophies accessible to the everyday runner, while Ryan had a strong desire to create a holistic approach to training that places an emphasis on developing an inner fortitude that would serve runners well in both running and life. The two dreams eventually merged and Run Free Training was born focusing on developing programs based on high performance holistic principles customized to allow the athlete to become the best version of themselves both inside and out.



Why are we so focused on the inner game?

We have experienced through our own journey as athletes that what we believe about ourselves and the thoughts we cultivate ultimately manifest themselves physically in our running. Simply put; what is going on inside of us is manifested in our performances. So, while dialing in all the foundational elements of training is essential, if what is going on inside isn’t strengthened, the physical results won’t be optimal. At Run Free we want to be a part of you realizing everything you need is already within you, it just needs to be cultivated. We will embark on a journey together through the Run Free podcast, dealing with everything that comes with strengthening our spirit, mind, and emotional health.

Story from Chad:

“As an athlete, I always knew that mental preparation for performance was crucial, but I didn’t really understand how my thoughts and emotions could produce physical effects in my body until I had an experience that opened my eyes. While in high school, I did some testing at a local gym that included a VO2 max test and a blood panel analysis. Putting out a maximal effort didn’t scare me in the slightest, but getting my blood drawn for the blood panel had me freaked out for days in advance! My mom is a registered nurse so she offered to do the draw in hopes that it would ease my nerves. Sitting in our kitchen, my Mom prepped everything to do the draw, I could feel the my heart begin to quicken as the nerves built. I vividly remember her holding my arm, needle poised, then waking up a moment later with her holding me up in my chair. Groggily I realized that I had just fainted despite the fact that I had not even experienced the prick of the needle yet. I’m quite embarrassed about the fact that the sight of a tiny needle can knock my lights out, but I learned a valuable lesson that day: your thoughts carry a tremendous value and will manifest in your body in a real way. Every time I race, I consider my thoughts and how to orient them for the best possible result. While my epiphany was derived from a negative experience, on the other end of the spectrum it can produce an equally positive experience. Fix your thoughts on those things that drive out fear!”

Addressing the psychology of an athlete is certainly not a new idea, but our approach is unique in this emerging world of remote coaching. Our goal is to fill your thoughts with so much light that there is no room for the darkness. Imagine yourself experiencing full freedom and the capacity to use every ounce of energy to pursue your desires! The pursuit of that experience has driven our athletic careers and is what drives us to excellence in our coaching!