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Neely Gracey

Neely Gracey

Neely was born into this sport, literally. Her dad (Steve Spence, 1992 Olympic marathoner and 1991 World Champs Bronze Medalist) was running the Boston Marathon on the day she was born. She grew up in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and in 8th grade set some big goals for herself.

While running for Shippensburg University, Neely broke Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) records, won 17 PSAC titles, and was named the conference athlete of the year for every season while at Shippensburg from 2008 to 2011. She is an eight-time NCAA DII Champion and still holds two NCAA records.

In 2016, Neely debuted at the Boston Marathon and was the first American finisher in 2:35. Later that year, she took it a step further with a 2:34 and 8th place finish at the NYC marathon. In 2017, Neely clocked victories at Rock ‘n Roll’s Arizona, New Orleans, and Chicago Half Marathons and was Runner-Up at the USA half marathon and 25k Championship races. She is excited for what the next year will bring as she pauses from her running career to start a family. She ultimately hopes to build towards the 2020 Olympic year.

Today, Neely lives in Boulder, CO with her husband Dillon and their Vizsla, Strider. They are happily entrenched in the running community. Between training, and competing, she enjoys coaching and helping other runners chase their goals!

Joseph ran his first 26.2 mile race at the Columbus Marathon this fall. He loved the feeling of setting a goal, working hard, and achieving it! We are thrilled to have been a part of his first marathon and believe his message on being consistent in training helps all of us who are reaching for our goals.

Major milestone:Screen_Shot_2018-11-13_at_4.08.49_PM
Completing my first marathon!

What is the secret to your success?
Consistency, Runcoach app, and the support of friends and family.

What is the most rewarding part of training?
The most rewarding part for me was seeing how each week I was hitting new distances and new times.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
Stay consistent with your training, don't let a bad training day ruin other days, and just keep going.

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?
The app was great for my training, It helped keep me consistent and really helped me stay on track towards my goal. The speed and threshold workouts were great.

  • I have two that, to me, I would see as my biggest milestones. Loosing weight, and in my first year of running, I am proud to say I completed my first marathon in Dublin, Ireland.
  • I find the secret to my success is creating a balance to my daily and weekly life. I set a weekly plan based on my work schedule and how I will spend my time on days off. Training for races and what types of training I do both in the gym and outside of the gym. I also set myself weekly/monthly goals that I aim to achieve and how I aim to achieve these goals over time.
  • I find that one of my biggest obstacles is training alone, I tend to do my training alone. I do plan on joining a local running club soon. I have noticed it is great to run with others and it can be great motivation for not just yourself but others too.
  • I can be honest and say in the past year I never realised how much stronger I could become both physically and mentally. I become more positive and driven to achieve your goals.
  • The best advice I can give is don’t be afraid to talk to others in the community, and the trainers from Runcoach are always happy to give some great advice. Always remember to tell yourself "I can and I will" and instead of saying to yourself one day I will do this and that, you allow yourself to say "today I will achieve my targets I set out for myself".
  • I find the support from the coaches here is amazing. They are so easy to talk to and share your progress with. A huge thank you to everyone at Runcoach who have supported my training and my progress.
  • I think one of the great things about Runcoach is not only the support and advice they offer personally, but their posts on Instagram can be very inspiring too.

1-Wash your hands! It’s simple, takes one minute, and can protect you from germs that hand sanitizer can’t kill.staying-fit-winter 

2-Get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise 5 times per week. Getting the blood flowing re-oxygenates your body and helps boost your immune system.

3-Stay well hydrated. In the cooler weather, we forget that hydration is still important!

4-When you travel, change your clothes and take a shower after every flight to get rid of the germs you encountered en route.

5-Don’t skimp on sleep! Rest is essential for your health.

6-Mediatation, yoga, or a short walk to start your day and put your mind in the right place can significantly improve your day.

7-Cut back on sugary foods and increase your vegetable and protein intake to boost your energy and your immune system.

8-Spend time outside getting fresh air on a daily basis. 

9-Avoid sitting down for long periods of time. If you get up every hour to get a drink, walk around, or stretch, your body will thank you.

10-Smile, laugh, and be happy. One of the most important, but easily forgotten, components of health is happiness!

Uma is a story if inspiration. She shares the importance of consistency in training, and how following a training plan canScreen_Shot_2018-11-05_at_3.03.46_PM help everyone remain accountable in the pursuit of their goals. But most importantly, Uma shares the benefit of the coach-athlete relationship and we at Runcoach are grateful for all of the runners we get to support.

Major milestone:
Marine Corps Marathon 2018 - Ran it in 5:06, which is almost an hour faster than the last two times I ran the same race. 2016 - 6:01 and 2017 - 6:05

What is the secret to your success?
Following the schedule given to me by Runcoach, which consisted of speed work, cross training and yoga.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? Consistent training and training alone combined to form the biggest obstacle for me. I trained alone for the most part, and was lucky enough to run with my local running group for a few of the final long runs. I tried to get over it by committing to reporting my workouts to the coaches at Runcoach and uploading my workouts through the app.

What is the most rewarding part of training?
Self awareness - Realizing that I am stronger than I thought - physically and mentally.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?

Stick to the schedule that the Runcoach app gives you. Report back to the coaches via email. It creates a commitment. Don't skip out on speed work. It was very challenging for me, and I had no track nearby where I felt safe to train alone in the dark hours of the morning. I tried to get in as many speed workouts as I could and that helped a lot to improve my pace.

Anything else you would like to share?

I would like to say that the timely encouragement from Coach Cawood and Coach Hiruni went a very long way to help me PR my race. I felt like they were my personal coaches. During a difficult phase during the race, when I wanted to walk the bridge, I told myself that I would not let Coach Cawood and Coach Hiruni down, I would run that bridge. And I did it!

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?

The overall experience was very awesome. I will do it again. The app needs some upgrades. For tempo workouts, I reported warm up, cool down, drills+strides, speed run and cool down separately so coaches could see my pace, but the app did not total them correctly. So I had to delete all of that and enter one aggregate number which did not show the effort I put into the workout.


Share your story here!

October 30, 2018

Winter Running Gear

There’s no denying that winter will be here soon.. and while we are all enjoying the awesome fall weather, it’s good to getIMG_3855 prepared for the not-so-fun winter miles that are ahead. Having good cold weather gear is essential, and here are some of my favorites that allow me to run unrestricted outside all year round!

Thermal Top
This lightweight top is surprisingly warm. Layered with a wind proof shell, and you can run in sub 20 degrees comfortably with full range of arm motion. It comes in both Men’s & Women’s styles.

Running Tights
Good tights make all the difference! These ones are lined and designed to keep our muscles warm despite winter’s efforts to thwart our ability to train outside. They come in both Men’s & Women’s tights.

Wind Jacket
Cover up that thermal top with a wind proof jacket. This one comes in both Men’s & Women’s, and will hold your body heat in, the wind out, and it’s reflective for safety!

Tall Socks
A must! Tall socks are my go-to in the winter to cover up the ankles… for some reason cold ankles make the rest of my body cold too. Unisex based off shoe size.

Mittens & Hat
Mittens are the way to go! If it is under 20 degrees, hot hands are good to have around to keep your mittened hands warm through all your miles.

You can also go through my store on the AthleteBiz website for more apparel ideas.

We reached out to new mom Lauren Stroud, a Texas native, who is aiming to return to marathon racing this January at the 2019 Chevron Houston Marathon. Her preparation for this race will be different than what she is used to, as she rebuilds her endurance and mileage, Lauren will utilize the  adaptive Runcoach training to help take her fitness from where it is now to where she wants it to be in January. With a new baby, Lauren needed a progressive plan and a supportive coaching environment, and we at Runcoach, are thrilled to work together towards her goals. She loves to race, and has her sights set to qualify and compete in the 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon. We wish her the best in this journey.

Hello everybody!
Screen_Shot_2018-10-01_at_2.39.53_PM
I am so excited to run my first Chevron Houston Marathon! I will have a little extra challenge this year, as I gave birth in August, and I'm learning how to manage my time wisely as a mom. My last marathon was in 2016, and while I love to race and get after shorter distances frequently, the marathon is a whole different challenge. 

I had never heard of Runcoach, but I absolutely love how convenient and easy the app is to use! Runcoach is an app that tailors training for you as an individual. As difficult as it is, I know I have to be patient with my body and my fitness and I believe that using Runcoach this year will help me ease into my training as I balance life as a working mom and runner.

I started my transition back into training at 3 weeks post partum, and my first run back felt amazing because I missed running so much. I was fortunately able to run up until the day I delivered, but most of my last month of training before delivery consisted of run/walk intervals.

Here's an example of how last week's training looked:

Sunday - Long run
Monday - Easy run
Tuesday - Short leg turnover workout
Wednesday - Easy run 
Thursday - Medium long run
Friday - rest day
Saturday - Easy run

I can't wait to take my fitness to the next level with Runcoach!

You can follow Lauren's road to the Houston Marathon (and see cute pictures of baby Sadie) on her instagram @Laurun123Screen_Shot_2018-10-01_at_2.40.07_PM

You may have heard it, but we will say it again: The long run is the most important run of your week.

rcpic Personally, the long run is my favorite run of the week too. It doesn’t always feel good, but I am always proud of myself once it’s completed because I know fitness was gained and mental strength too. But why is the long run so important? Why does the training plan have up and down weeks with total mileage/minutes? Is it really possible to finish a marathon if my long run never covers the entire distance in training? Here are our answers.

First, the importance of the long run stems from the cells. Runs exceeding 60 minutes help create more capillaries within the system, the more capillaries in your body, the more efficient oxygen can be transported and delivered to your muscles. Thus, increasing your endurance level and ability to run faster and further. As you feel stronger, and you accomplish mileage you never thought possible, you gain confidence.  You start to learn that you can push harder and longer than ever before, and that is huge for the mental game come race day.

Next, the up and down weeks of mileage may look random, but we have a plan. We train you to run 2 weeks hard, 1 week easy. This cycle of training prepares the body as you work to build up fatigue, push through fatigue, and then recover. The adaptations that build fitness come when we soak up the training during the down week before increasing the mileage higher than before. For our marathon runners, these two challenging long run weeks back to back can help simulate the second half of the marathon with the accumulation of fatigue.

 Last, the long run is more about time on feet than actual miles covered. Exceeding more than 3.5 hours of running during training has been known to have diminishing returns. Meaning that running longer than 210 minutes can negatively affect your body’s ability to have quality in training and could leave you sick, overly fatigued, or injured. Depending on your pace, any run 16 miles and over will allow you to successfully finish the marathon distance. It’s important to trust the process and know that with a taper, you will feel strong and ready to conquer 26.2 miles at the peak of your training program.

If you’re like me, you can’t wait for the next long run to get out the door and increase your body’s efficiency now that you know the goal of your most important run of the week.

    Ali's story represents so many of us. Learning from mistakes, growing as runners and people as we create our goals and then journey towards them along the never straight path to success. Ali has learned what his body needs to complete over 165 races: Consistency in training, a healthy diet, enough rest, and access to experienced coaches who can guide him along the way. 

    Major milestone: Screen_Shot_2018-09-10_at_9.14.31_PM

    Completed 165 races.

    What is the secret to your success?
    The secret to my success is being able to get in my training as much as possible for every marathon. Also, eating a healthy diet and continuously exercising keeps me fit.

    What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?
    The biggest obstacle to reaching my goals was getting dehydrated during the 2017 LA Marathon. This was overcome by changing my diet and exercise routine.

    What is the most rewarding part of training?
    The most rewarding part of my training is being able to take rests. Also, getting medals after races is rewarding.

    What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
    Keep as close to running your assigned miles as possible.

    Anything else you would like to share?
    Runcoach is an excellent training program. It gives runners a sense of life outside of just training. It is a way runners can keep better track of their training schedule. It has many experienced runners who work for the program.

  • What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?
  • The Runcoach website has been built very carefully. The live chat's have been a way to keep my training at a efficient level. The website has many features that are helpful.
"You're only as good as your training, and your training is only as good as your thinking." -Lauren Olivertrust_the_process

If this is your first race ever, or your 1,000th race, in running, there are times where it gets tough while racing. Especially in the longer races. The doubts, negative thoughts, and emotions can sneak in and take over. Training your mind to focus on positive things will keep you moving forward towards your goals. The mantra you need today may change or evolve, or perhaps you need a few to get you through different parts of the race. Here are some ideas to get you started! 

Stronger Every Mile

Run Grateful

Chase The Dream

Attitude Is Everything

Every Mile Is A Gift

I Can, I Will

Fit, Fast, Fierce

You Are Strong

Focused Every Step

Embrace The Struggle

Breathe

Trust The Process

Be Strong

Attitude Determines Direction

Focus Ahead

Never Give Up

Relax

Be Fearless

Run Hard, Be Strong, Don't Quit

Chase Progress

Run With Ambition

Feed Your Focus

Run Inspired

Believe In You

Focus Determines Reality

One Foot In Front Of The Other

Conquer From Within

Relentless Spirit

Tough Times Don't Last

Enjoy The Journey

Strive For Progress

Positive Mind, Positive Outcome










July 25, 2018

Tips for the Taper

Tips for the TaperScreen-shot-2013-04-17-at-9.48.03-AM-519x421

In running, the final phase of training is where you get sharp, peak, and taper. The last 1-3 weeks prior to a big race is where the emphasis is on all the fitness coming together at the right time. This part of training helps your body to mentally focus,  gives you time to hydrate, fuel, and rest in preparation for your big goal. Here are some tips to maximize the final phase of training to get the most out of yourself on race day!

Training

Cut back some of the miles, but still keep some turnover workouts in the training that final week. This will keep your muscle tension in a good place so you don’t feel “flat” or heavy legged on race day.

Psychological

Take some time during the taper weeks to get your mind in the right place for race day. Look back at all the training you have done to prepare for your goal, and gain confidence in yourself and your fitness.

Hydration

Start an emphasis on hydration during your taper. This will help your body perform on race day!

Fueling

It is important to not over eat during the taper phase. However, be certain to get in good nutrients the few days leading into the race. You want to have all your energy stores filled and ready to carry you to a strong finish.

Relax

Focus on sleep, propping the feet up, and encouraging your muscles to repair and freshen up prior to race day.

When you put all these tips together, it can bring you more confidence knowing you are trained, mentally prepared, hydrated, fueled, and rested… the key components to taking your goals from a dream to reality.

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