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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!

Did you know that water does more than just keep you hydrated? Obviously, that is an important role, but water is essential in your body for three other important tasks.keep-calm-and-stay-hydrated-1

   1-Water helps transport nutrients to the working muscles during training

   2-Water eliminates waste products (like lactic acid) during high intensity training

   3-Water works to keep your core temperature cooler by dissipating heat through sweating

The ramifications of not having enough fluid in your system can start with just 2% fluid loss. Headache, lack of concentration, dizziness, fatigue, inability to recover, and overall decreased ability to perform. Nothing that helps your training or allows you to work hard towards your goals. To avoid any of these happening to you this summer, here are a few things to include in your daily routine.

   1-Drink 8-12 ounces of water when you first wake up to kick start hydration

   2-Drink more than just water. Adding in electrolyte beverages will help your cells saturate with fluid and not dilute your body’s natural salt chemistry

   3-Drink consistently throughout the day. Keep a water bottle with you at all times

Hold up your water bottle in a toast to quality summer training and good hydration!

The number one rule for race day fueling; Don’t do anything new. Training with a race goal in mind, means that every run you do is practice for the race. You are training your muscles, your body, your mind, and your stomach. Learning to fuel and hydrate to get the most out of your training and racing will make a huge difference in the outcome of your performance, and it all starts in your daily practice.

Pre-Race Routine. For any run over 60 minutes, you will want to eat and hydrate beforehand. Beneficial-Facts-of-Healthy-Breakfast-for-School-Kids(See blog on Pre-Run and Post-Run Nutrition). This is a great opportunity to eat and drink the same thing you will on race morning. Once you know what sits well in your stomach, and fuels you for your miles, then stick with it! A standard pre-race breakfast is coffee (or tea) for a little caffeine, a bagel/toast/oatmeal and banana for carbs and fuel, and 16oz of electrolyte mix for hydration. Have this about 3 hours prior to the start of your race of any distance. Try this protocol before workouts and long runs and see how you feel! Adjust accordingly to determine what works for you, and then, don’t deviate.

Mid-Race Protocol. If you are doing a training run or race longer than 60 minutes, you may need to fuel and hydrategelsthroughout. Look up what electrolyte fluid and gels the event will provide. It is very common in half marathon and marathon distances to offer gels on the course, but you want to know the brand, flavor, and if they contain caffeine. Then you will practice with those fluids and gels leading into the race to confirm they work for you. If they do not, you will need to carry your own. In training and racing, take gels every 35-45 minutes. Get the gel in right before a water station, and then drink water to wash it down (do not take electrolyte fluid with a gel). In between, you can take water and electrolyte fluid to stay well hydrated. If you are racing less than an 60 minutes, you will need nothing, or only water to get through the distance.

Practicing your Pre-Race Routine and your Mid-Race Protocol will help you figure out what your body needs to be successful and run strong the whole way!

Looking for a healthy and delicious post run snack? Try this protein and antioxidant filled smoothie that will be sure to leave you feeling satified.smoothie

Summer Berry Smoothie
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 4 frozen strawberries
Blend all ingredients, enjoy! 

-Makes 1 serving
Includes important recovery ingredients: Protein, Carbs, Antioxidants, Potassium, Calcium, Fiber

The main way to meet your goals is to follow your training plan, but it never hurts to put a little thought into what could help support your active lifestyle! Recovery, Strength Training, Consistency, Hydration, Mid Run/Race Fueling, and Pre-Run /Post-Run Nutrition are all important details that will help you feel stronger and healthier. There will be a series of blog posts on each of these topics, stay tuned!

Pre-Run and Post-Run Nutritionsmoothie

When it comes to good eating habits, the number one thing to remember is moderation. Unless you have an allergy, or know certain foods don’t sit well in your stomach, then nothing is off limits. It’s all about the timing, and learning a good routine that works well for you. There are two key times when nutrition is critical during training; pre-run, and post-run. Let’s explore these in more detail.

Pre-run fueling is critical to dial in, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. If you’re a morning runner, you may not have much time to grab a snack before heading out to get in your training. Try something light, easy to digest, and carb focused for quick fuel. A banana, piece of toast, granola bar, sports chews, electrolyte mix, etc. All followed by water to wash it down and kick start your hydration for the day. Getting in some calories and fluids before a morning run is really important because you haven’t eaten for many hours, and you may have become dehydrated throughout the night. Fueling up beforehand will help ensure the success of your training efforts.

If you’re an afternoon/evening runner, than you have a day of meals to plan before your run. The morning isn’t too specific, but the meal/snack 3 hours prior to your run is very important. You will want to stick to something bland and not too heavy. A giant burrito may not leave you feeling great on your upcoming workout. Instead, try a sandwich, soup and side salad, sushi, etc. Good choices are things that are low in fats, easy to digest, and include no ingredients that irritate your stomach. Having a meal 3 hours before a run allows the body time to process and use the food as fuel. This will also help prevent cramps from eating too close to exercise.

Post-run fueling is all about starting the recovery process. In a run, your muscles are put under stress, and afterwards, they need protein to rebuild. Having carbs with your protein helps expedite this process, and according to the Olympic Training Performance Center, can also help boost your immune system. If you struggle to eat solids after running, you’re not alone! Try yogurt, smoothies, popsicles, or protein enriched milk. Whatever you consume post run, focus on carbs, proteins, antioxidants, essential fats, and fluids. The suggestion is to get in 100-200 calories within an hour of completing your run. You then have enough fuel to kick start recovery, protein synthesis, and rehydration before you get in your next full meal.  Finding a routine that works for you will allow your body to function at it’s best and be ready to nail those workouts as you chase your goals.

March 29, 2018

New Goals Options

We know not every goal ends in a race, so don’t worry, we got your back. Our New Goals list has been updated to better suit your training endeavors as you progress from where you are to where you want to be.

While you can still sign up using a race as your goal, these four New Goals options help you find the perfect amount of training and intensity you want in your personalized fitness program.pic


1-Get Started!
A 12 week plan to get you moving and in a new lifestyle routine.

2-Get Faster! A 24 week plan to get you more active towards long term goals. 

3-Get Fitter! A 12 week plan to get you from your current fitness to the next level.

4-Go Further! A 24 week plan to get you more miles and intensity.

Happy Running!

Sign up here!
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Michael Bravo, a My Run Plan Athlete, shares his goals, why he loves running, and how the My Run Plan training has helped him. "I love to run!"

  • 2018 Goalmichael bravo Run a Boston qualifier. I'd love to go back and Improve my previous time.

  • Major Milestone: I've run 17 marathons so far including NYC three times. I did qualify for Boston in 2011. I struggled, but it was an awesome experience.

  • What is the secret to your success? I love to run, so my training is very consistent throughout the year. I rarely miss a scheduled workout!

  • What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? Living in Southwest Florida I have to deal with the endless heat of summer. I just make sure to run my easy runs a little easier.

  • What is the most rewarding part of training? I like to train early in the morning. It helps to energize me prior to my workday.

  • What advice would you give to other members of the My Run Plan community? Keep your easy runs truly easy to let your body recover. Don't overlook the importance of good nutrition.

  • What feedback would you offer on the My Run Plan experience? Love the structure of the plan so far. Would like to see a strength training program to follow as well.


  • Thank you Michael for sharing your story with us! If anyone else wants to share, we would love to hear your stories too! MovecoachRuncoach, My Run Plan

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