Run The Mile You’re In, by Ryan Hall: Review and Highlights
Never run alone.
Ryan Hall knew this from his first run in the eighth grade: a 15-mile jaunt around a lake, prompted, he says, by the Holy Spirit. From that day forward, he’s led an incredible life in running—Olympic athlete, world-record holder in the half-marathon—chasing the vision God gave him as a teenager.
Hall never ran alone—his faith was always with him—but that doesn’t mean his path was easy, or always clear, or without devastating setbacks.
“Run The Mile You’re In” is set up in 26 chapters, one for each mile of the marathon. Each conveys a hard-earned lesson in faith, seasoned with the time and perspective to look backwards to see how God was always leading him forward and deeper in relationship with him.
Hall’s book is loaded with insights and inspiration. Here are key lessons I took away.
Small promptings by the Holy Spirit can lead to big things—if we respond
We shouldn’t ignore intuition and shouldn’t be afraid to act on it:
If I hadn’t acted on my God - given vision to run around the lake, I never would have had the opportunity to run at Stanford, meet my wife, compete on two Olympic teams, travel around the globe, and live out all the amazing experiences I’ve had as a result of running. And all of this came from a God - inspired seedling of a thought, one that I could have easily dismissed.
Moving forward with the prompts we receive can be life-changing.
God is more concerned with the posture of our heart than the outcomes of our actions
Hall was discouraged when he fell short of his performance goals. Eventually, he felt prompted to move to another kind of goal: setting the correct attitude and mindset, and maintaining that through training and competition regardless of outcomes.
I shifted my focus from performance goals that I couldn’t control to heart goals that I could control and live out every practice, every race, every day. I discovered that for me to perform at my highest level, I needed to believe that anything is possible with God — and that I could trust Him completely with the outcomes of my competitions — but that my focus needed to be not on my performance but instead on my heart.
Find peace by releasing your expectations of how God will move
Anyone with faith struggles with this. We want God to move in our lives in a specific way and right now.
God has other ideas. Other lessons to teach us. So we fail to trust him, getting frustrated and disappointed because he’s not doing what we want, when we want.
But what he wants is for us to trust him. To trust him above our own desires. To trust him above our circumstances.
At times , frustration led me to focus not on what God was doing but rather on what God wasn’t doing that I expected Him to be doing. It can be very easy for me to build a case against God , and when I do that, my relationship with Him isn’t very healthy.
Hall’s shift matured him and deepened his faith. He held fast to this idea:
no matter what happens, have a heart that is unoffendable toward Him.
God knows better than we do.
Build monuments to the times God helps and leads us.
One way to build trust in God is to remember all the times God has stepped in and helped us.
My collegiate career, as well as my entire running career, endured because of a few glimpses of hope, glimpses that I felt God gave me to encourage me to keep going and pursue my vision and my dream of one day running with the best runners in the world. I felt that God was clearly instructing me to build “monuments” around these glimpses of hope much in the same way He instructed Israel in the Old Testament to build monuments (a pile of rocks, in this case) at places where God did remarkable things for Israel.
When things don’t go our way, it’s important to remember the times God has helped us. Personally, I do this with journaling. I started a “3G Journal” this year, recording moments of growth, gratitude, and grace.
At the end of this year, I’ll be stunned by how often God showed himself in my everyday life. And I’ll have stronger faith for having noticed, recorded, and reviewed those moments.
Many ways to build monuments. Journaling is a great one.
If you’re a person of faith who is into fitness, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this quick and powerful read. Even if fitness isn’t your thing, though, Hall has much to share about how to navigate this race called life—and how to never run it alone.