July 18th, 2012
03:24 PM ET
By Alicia Tarancon, CNN
“I’ll just be straight forward, my coach is God,” the 29-year-old Hall told CNN.
Last year, after finishing second in the 2011 United States half-marathon Championship, Hall was told to do a routine drug test. The form with the test had a space to fill in the name of the runner's coach.
"I saw the line, it said coach, it was blank, and I said, 'Well you know I have to be honest,' " Hall said, "So I put 'God' down and it turned into a big controversial thing."
"Now whenever I see that line I just leave it blank. I'll just let it slide by," he added.
Hall calls his method of training “faith-based coaching.” In London, he'll be putting his training to the test in the men's marathon.
Instead of running with a trainer, he runs alone. While he runs, he prays. On some days Hall says he will ask God, “How far do you want me to run today?”
“I’m still figuring this thing out myself,” Hall told CNN's Kyra Phillips.
Hall counts himself a Christian and attends Bethel Church in Redding, California, a non-denominational evangelical church with roots in the Assemblies of God denomination.
For now Hall's faith based coaching seems to be working. Hall is the No. 1 ranked distance runner in the United States and says he doesn't see the need to add a professional running coach.
“I’m just doing what I feel like God’s telling me to do," he said.
The 2011 Boston Marathon was his personal best with a soaring time of 2 hours 4 minutes and 58 seconds. Hall said with God on his side, he is hoping to to take home the gold in the London Olympics.
He knows with just nine days until the start of the Olympics, he may run into skeptics of his "faith based coaching" on his way to the competition.
“I love the skeptic and God loves the skeptics-– it's OK for people to disagree,” Hall said.
He doesn’t pay much attention to the reactions from his peers. He says he is able to stay focused and motivated on what he’s doing.
For Hall, running is more about the experience of peace and joy he gets from training. At times he says he does feel down and in said in the past he blamed God for not doing his best in a race, but now he said that has changed.
“I don’t think God causes me to fail in races," he said.
If he doesn’t get the results he hopes in the 2012 Olympics, Hall said he won't blame God this time around.
“Medals are things I would love to achieve, but it's all icing on the cake,” says Hall.
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.