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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!

We want to introduce you to your coaches! At Runcoach, we strive to provide you the best virtual coaching experience possible, and that starts with having some of the best coaches! Tom, Hiruni, and Neely are all certified coaches with World Class running credentials. They are here to support you because they understand first hand the highs and lows of running, and now, you can utilize their expertise to help you towards your goals.

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Tom is the founder and CEO of Runcoach. He is a lifelong runner, 3 time Olympic Trials Qualifier and respected coach. In short, Tom is passionate about running and more specifically, helping runners improve and achieve their personal goals. He wanted to build a tool that adapted with the infinitely changing needs of each athlete. Armed with a set of principles inspired by his time as a professional runner and his firsthand knowledge coaching Nike Farm athletes, Tom created Runcoach.

Through Runcoach, Tom has helped thousands of runners set new PR’s. He has trained marathoners ranging from 2:15 to 8:15 and remains convinced that anyone can improve their running and avoid injury with the right approach.

As a Runcoach gold member, you’ll be able to ask our coaches, like Tom, questions about your training, race preparation, injury prevention, and nutrition and get expert level advice and guidance to help you get to the next level.


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Hiruni is the first to point out that we all have one thing in common. Regardless of fitness level or accomplishments, we are all trying to become the best version of ourselves. At a quick glance, you might not think you have much in common with Hiruni. Between her 10 national records for her home country of Sri Lanka and her impressive collegiate career at the University of Kentucky, she has accomplished things many of us may never achieve. Yet, Hiruni is a huge advocate of personal development through goal setting.

At Runcoach, Hiruni helps our runners set realistic goals, manage hectic schedules, avoid injury, and get the most out of every run. Each runner is different, and Hiruni loves unlocking the potential of runners just like you.

As a Runcoach Gold member, you will have access to people like Hiruni, coaches who know exactly how to help you become the best version of yourself.


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Neely started running competitively in her early teens and just kept getting faster. She won eight NCAA DIV II Championships in college, and continued on to represent Team USA in five international competitions. In 2016, she was the first American finisher at the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:35. She is a master at juggling a busy life; rigorous training, wife, full time coach, and mom. She’s fought through illness and injury along the way but knows what it takes to persevere and stay mentally strong and focused.

As part of the Runcoach team, Neely shares her love of the sport and affinity to helping runners like you persevere through challenges all while balancing the many demands life throws your way. She is passionate about coaching athletes as well as offering up some of the insight she’s learned along her journey on the Runcoach blog and social media channels.

As a Runcoach Gold member you will have access to coaches like Neely who can help you balance your hectic lifestyle with the rewards that come with improving your running abilities.

Runcoach is thrilled to provide an easy-to-access Support tab as an update on the app. Now you can find answers to your questions quickly and efficiently, and then get back to your training.

How to get to the Support tab:

In-app: Go to the hamburger menu on the top left, select Support, then choose the category for which you need help. 
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reward-screenIntroducing our new Rewards program!

It’s important to have big goals, but don’t forget to celebrate the small achievements during your training. We are bringing you a new rewards program so you remember to pause, pat yourself on the back, and be proud of your hard work.

How does the rewards program work?

You will earn promotions for useful running related products based on miles run and workouts completed. These exciting rewards will pop up on your app screen, and be sent via email so you don’t miss out on these great offers.

Six years ago, my husband and I went to Cabo for our Honeymoon. Screen_Shot_2018-06-29_at_8.02.59_AM
I was in full force training with the USA Championships which were only one month away.  It was stressful finding the balance of running, rest, and relaxation. Each vacation since, I have tried new tactics to be able to enjoy running while on the road. Here are some of the things I've learned that may help you:

1-Do Your Research
Contact local running stores or clubs in the area you will visit. Inquire about the best running locations and open group runs. There is simply no better way to experience the best local running routes than from the experts themselves.

2-Plan Ahead
Rearrange your training schedule for a lighter week. If more convenient, replace your easy runs with cross training activities. If you get aerobic stimulus with other activities for a week, and still prioritize your workouts and long run, you won’t lose fitness.

 3-Run Early
Don't wait until the end of the day to run, especially while on vacation. Get up early and make that run happen so you can move on and enjoy the day without the weight of a run assignment on your shoulders.

4-Sitesee As Part of Your Run
Decide on the places you want to explore, check them out on foot, and then return the next morning to enjoy them if certain spots peak your interest. The Google Maps earth view is also an excellent way to identify fun routes and you can cover so much more ground running than walking!

5-Plan Vacation Around Training
Choose to plan a vacation the week after your goal race. Then there is no running necessary (unless you want to of course), and you can relax and enjoy the trip fully without the stress of a schedule. 

Happy travels, and happy training!


  • We are so thrilled to be a part of Melinda's Marine Corps Marathon success.
    IMG_0781Her attitude of setting big goals that are scary, and then putting in the work to make them reality by pushing herself beyond her comfort zone, is what the journey of running is all about! From those who just ran their first mile ever, to the greatest Olympian, every runner goes through these same emotions so we wanted to share this story with you so you know you're not alone!

  • Finished the Marine Corps Marathon 2017
  • Patience with myself, discipline & I trusting my training. I put my training in the hands of others that know better than I do.
  • The mental challenge!! I have a busy life makes it pretty normal to have days where you just don’t want to...(enter whatever here. Run, Gym, Work, Clean the house) Getting over that goal defeating monologue that can run through my head. I remind myself daily I am pretty sure that is just part being human. It’s Okay to feel that way but I am not going to achieve what I want if I give into it.
  • Sense of personal achievement. I am a slooow runner, I am never going to win any races, get any trophies...I am okay with that. Running has always been a challenge for me, I have to push myself daily physically & mentally to do it. There is nothing more satisfying than completing something that I don’t think I can!
  • Be gentle with yourself & Trust your training. Take each workout as it comes and do your best at that moment. It’s cliche but if this was easy everyone would be doing it, so embrace that fact, celebrate it, celebrate your training!
  • I have always had a image of what a runner is. I don’t fit that picture. I am super slow, I am not skinny, I have thick legs, I carry extra weight. I like sweets and pizza...I can go on and on with my “doubts” on the fact that I am a runner. What’s the truth is I have completed a marathon & 10+ half marathons. I have logged thousands of miles in training and I love to run. That is what makes me a runner.

  • Runcoach has been an awesome tool for training. It takes the guesswork & “my way” out of the equation. Left to my own devices I would probably over or under train. Last year was a great experience.

    Tell us your story!
Do you drink coffee each morning without realizing the impact it could have on your performance? There are certainly pros and cons to caffeine, and the benefits can really boost your training and racing if established in practice. 164d52712849102aa6f81b5ba60aa41d

Pros of Caffeine
1-Increased mental alertness and desire for more effort and stronger performance. You are more awake, alert, and ready to tackle to the run mentally and physically.
2-Enables your body to burn fat more easily while running long distances, which is essential for the marathon. 
3-Can help your body be more efficient while running in heat and humidity by improving temperature regulation within your system.

Cons of Caffeine
1-Coffee can mess up your stomach if you're sensitive, thus, it is recommended to practice and find a source of caffeine intake that works for you. Tea, gels, tablets, chews, gum, drinks, etc. Once you find a product that works, stick with it!
2- It can be challenging to get consistency in a cup of coffee. Light roasts contain more caffeine, dark roasts contain less, and early morning races make it difficult to get coffee
2-3 hours beforehand. Everyone responds differently to caffeine and you may only need one small cup, or you may need more. The recommendation is 3-6mg of caffeine per kg of body weight. Learn what the perfect amount of caffeine is for you.
3-Potential dehydration is something to be aware of when consuming caffeine. This will not happen if you take in fluids with your caffeine. Remember to always drink 16-24oz prior to a run or race, if you do this, you won't risk dehydration.

The Caffeine Taper
Try cutting back caffeine during training to just workout days and long run day. Drink decaf, or a caffeine free tea as an alternative on the recovery and off days (if you still feel like you want and enjoy the routine). This will help you feel more energized to crush your hard training and will prepare you for race week when it is recommended to refrain from caffeine the 4 days leading into your race. Removing caffeine before an event helps create a heightened sensitivity, and when you have caffeine on race day, you will feel great!

The pros outweigh the cons as long as you practice to determine which source of caffeine and how much of it works for you. Once you develop a routine of incorporating caffeine into your training and racing, we look forward to hearing how you feel your performance has increased both with fitness and proper application of the ergogenic aid of caffeine!

Why does it always seem that spring is such short a season? smoothieThe adjustment to heat training is not easy, and not always fun either. We want to share some ways to help summer training not be entirely miserable, and, you may find you even gain more fitness along the way thanks to the added stress heat puts on your body!

1-RUN EARLY: Set yourself up for SUCCESS by running first thing in the morning. It is way easier to wake up, run early, and get it done, than to have life get in the way and you're left trying to force a run in the heat or after a long day.

2-HYDRATE: We recommend waking up at least 30 minutes before you head out for a run to consume 12-24oz of electrolytes. If you have a long run or a hard workout, get creative with your options during the run... know where you can stop every 2-4miles to get a drink, leave a bottle and run a 2-4mile loop or out and backs, carry a bottle, or have a friend/significant other bike with you to provide fluids. More tips on hydration here.

3-ADJUST: Recognize that heat is an additional stress on your body. You should not expect to hit the same splits as you could on a cool day. Slow down, focus on effort vs pace. Add in an extra minute of two of recovery in between intervals or pause tempos to dump water on your head and to get a drink. Cut the long runs back a mile or two or find locations more suitable for hot weather that can provide more shade, and listen to your body if you start to feel dizzy or over heated... be smart! You can also do your quality sessions on the treadmill if you want to stick to paces and build confidence that you are not out of shape.

4-RECOVER: To help boost recovery after a hot run, take a cool shower, get in the pool, or put your feet in a creek to bring the core temperature down. You will find this strategy will prevent you from feeling so zapped the rest of the day. More recovery tips here to help you reset after a hard day of training.

5-REHYDRATE: After a hot workout, you will be in the hole in terms of hydration. Spend the first 30 minutes post run being sure to get in a lot of fluids. I recommend an electrolyte mix because something with flavor is more appealing and it will help you get caught up on your hydration needs. Rehydrating after a workout in the heat is critical to ward off cramps, injury, and allows the body to be ready to run again tomorrow!

6-REFUEL: It can be tough to eat after a workout in the heat. The belly often feels icky, but replenishing is very important to reap the benefit of the workout you just put your body through! Try greek yogurt, fruit, a smoothie (Summer Smoothie recipe!), kombucha, coconut water, or protein shake. These liquid calories are easier on the stomach and your body will be able to start the recovery process once you get some fuel in the tank. Interested in nutrition for runners? More info here.

We hope you can use these tips to help you crush your training this summer, please reach out if you have any follow up questions!

 Fitness is built by introducing stress (training) to your body. cf-lg
Your body initially freaks out (why running feels so difficult at the beginning of training), but it learns to adapt. The adaptation is a result of the stress+recovery=fitness equation. Without a proper recovery, your body cannot gain the intended fitness, thus, injury, illness, and burnout may occur. Today, we share some tips on recovery that will help you build your desired fitness and see results!

Recovery starts within your runs. In the summer, you will need to plan water/fluid stops to keep your hydration game strong. Drink stops while running will help keep your body happy and far away from dehydration issues. This practice will allow you to feel stronger mid run, and recover more quickly post run.

Post run recovery begins with fluids too. A simple 10 minute recovery program looks like this:
  • Sip fluids with carbohydrate and electrolyte (a recovery drink with protein is great too)
  • Start a short active stretch routine:
  1. Hamstrings
  2. Hips/Glutes
  3. Calf/Achilles
  4. Leg swings

Understand the pros of protein synthesis. Your body can only absorb and utilize 15-20 grams of protein at a time. Instead of over indulging on protein in one sitting, try spacing it out in 4-6 doses per day with your final protein snack just before bedtime. One cup of greek yogurt, 3 ounces of meat, fairlife milk, protein supplement, some cereals, or a smoothie are all good options. If you have protein in your system right before bed, your body can actively use it during the peak recovery that occurs with sleep!

There is huge benefit to a routine when it comes to sleeping. Develop a routine that works for your schedule that allots minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night. If you have a set time you start getting ready for bed, you will have better time management throughout the day, resulting in less procrastination and other stress inducing habits. Sleep is when your recovery hormones are at their highest and are working hard to make you stronger, fitter, and closer to your goals.

Happy training, and more importantly, happy recovery.

Do you want to incorporate strength training into your routine? hqdefaultThe use of specific exercises to gain strength and decrease weakness can greatly support your running endeavors and help avoid injuries. Add these four exercises into your training program at least twice per week, and after a month of consistency, see if you feel stronger, faster, and more durable.

Pointers

Lunges

One Leg Squat

Plank

Do you find one side of your body to fatigue more quickly than the other? Stay focused on this strength training routine, and see if you are able to even out the imbalances.

The goal of a training plan: To take you from where you are, to where you want to be. stepsrunner

A good training routine encompasses fitness, mental focus, and good habits that get stronger with each week.First, you start to build a foundation, or base, that will hold up and support the entire pyramid. From there, the focus is to consistently meet your daily goals as you progress towards the peak. With each run, you train your body and mind to handle the workload, and you adapt your lifestyle and schedule to support your daily efforts.

Ultimately, your pyramid will be completed in the peak week, which is your final goal of the training cycle. To accomplish this, the Runcoach vV02 algorithm helps you along the way with pace and workout adjustments as you progress. The goal of this training philosophy is to keep injuries away with appropriate stress and recovery.

The ability to train consistently, and without injury, always results in higher fitness and better mental focus.
With a well constructed pyramid, you will be ready for whatever race day brings.

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