(07-Dec) -- American half-marathon record holder Ryan Hall has decided to make a coaching change. The two-time Olympian, who used his strong Christian religious faith to help guide his training since leaving coach Terrence Mahon in 2010, will now be trained by Italian marathon coach Renato Canova. Hall's coaching change was first reported by reporter Scott Douglas at RunnersWorld.com.
"I have been really blessed to work with many great coaches over the years, beginning with Dad when I was in high school and then Irv Ray came on board to help before I moved on to college and had the opportunity to be coached by both Vin Lanana [sic] and Andy Gerard," Hall wrote on his blog at InnovationForEndurance.MSN.com. "Then, as a professional, I learned from Terrence Mahon."
He continued: "Now I feel God bringing me under a new coach to learn from and work with. In my study of training I have been drawn to the training methodology of Renato Canova. His system is different than anything I've been exposed to in the past and his athletes are flourishing under it. So I'm very excited to begin this new season of my professional career working with Coach Canova. I find his training to be most intriguing, challenging, but most importantly fun. I am very optimistic for the year to come."
Hall, 30, who has a career best time of 2:04:58 set at the Boston Marathon in 2011, has not completed a marathon since finishing second at the USA Olympic Trials Marathon last January in Houston. He dropped out of the Olympic Marathon last August in London after feeling a pop in his knee. He had planned to run the ING New York City Marathon, but withdrew from the later-cancelled race last September when he did not feel his knee, or fitness, were coming around quickly enough.
The fast-talking Canova always draws a crowd when he talks about training from behind his trademark sunglasses. His marathon training methods emphasize marathon-specific workouts over training volume (mileage), with a focus on hard tempo runs and a big contrast in effort between hard and easy days. He coached Kenyan Moses Mosop to world 25,000m and 30,000m records in 2011 (although he no longer coaches him), and saved the flagging career of Kenyan marathoner Abel Kirui, coaching him to two world titles and an Olympic medal.
"While this is certainly a new chapter in my career I don't feel like it's a huge departure from how I have operated in the past," Hall continued. "I take all the lessons I learn with me every step I take, whether it is from my Dad, Irv, Vin, Andy, Terrence, or God. It's impossible to separate any step in my journey, as it is all related and leading me to what I believe is my big breakthrough that is coming sometime in the future."
Hall has not raced since the London Olympics and has been training on his own in Redding Calif., where he lives with wife, Sara, a 3000m steeplechaser. He has not announced any racing plans for 2012, but is widely expected to run a spring marathon.
PHOTO: Ryan Hall speaks to NBC Sports prior to the 2012 Olympic Marathon (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)