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December 14, 2018

Runcoach Success Story: Brian

Written by Neely Gracey
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Screen_Shot_2018-12-14_at_10.56.44_AMBrian took on a 28 day challenge to run a Personal Best Half Marathon. Brian works for Runner's World and we have partnered with them to bring Runcoach to people like you. Utilizing our program, He saw his fitness and confidence build as race day approached. He ran 1:20, over 2minutes faster than his previous PR, and shared his experience with us. 

Major milestone:

Running my 13.1 mile PR at the Rehoboth Half Marathon on December 8, 2018. 

What is the secret to your success?
Focus. Focus. Focus!I had been signed up for this race with the idea that it could be a PR type of race. Flat and supposedly fast. While I had been doing a lot of my standard training and logging my usual mileage, I felt really stagnant as a runner. I decided to see what I could do by truly focusing on increasing my speed for this distance with about a month out from the race. Though not ideal to overall training, I was hoping that all of my base training could be converted in a short amount of time. With Runcoach's algorithm seeing my recent runs and race times, it legitimately grabbed my training by the collar and gave me a few slaps in the faces. My speed workouts were longer and more challenging. An extra tempo session was throw into the middle of my training weeks to up my mileage, and my long runs stayed the same but felt more demanding because of the work I was doing during the week. In the end, hitting these workouts--or at least 90% of them--got my physically and mentally primed for my race. And I ran a 1:20:41 to take fifth place in the half. It was about two minutes off my half marathon PR... and I could have kept running after the race! 

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?
Seeing the schedule of workouts, and how it differed from my general training week, seemed daunting at first. But once I forced myself to get through the first week, I found that as long as I started any workout, I had the ability to finish it feeling strong. 

What is the most rewarding part of training?
Being able to bounce training feedback off the Runcoach staff to see where I could be doing something better. It always felt better when I wasn't sure about something to hear that I was way ahead of (the short) schedule and indicating that I was on a good track. 

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
Don't fear new workouts. They may seem intimidating, but they will break up the monotony of regular training and give you the assurance that you can run farther and faster than you thought possible. 

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?
Maybe some longer explanation in daily emails on what a specific workout will provide to the runner. What is it building, what is the benefit, etc.
Last modified on January 07, 2019
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!

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