The Runner Diaries — Stephanie Schappert

This week, we have 24-year-old Stephanie Schappert, a professional middle-distance runner (read: miler) for Hoka One One and the New Jersey New York Track Club who is chasing her own Olympic aspirations despite an injury earlier this year.

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Welcome to The Runner Diaries, where we’re sharing a behind-the-scenes look into a week of training with runners of varying ages, paces and GPS coordinates. Get The Runner Diaries delivered to your inbox, here.
This week, we have 24-year-old Stephanie Schappert, a professional middle-distance runner (read: miler) for Hoka One One and the New Jersey New York Track Club who is chasing her own Olympic aspirations despite an injury earlier this year.

The Rundown

Name: Stephanie Schappert
Location: Tarrytown, New York (by way of FL, PA, and NJ)
Age: 24
Training For: Upcoming 2018 track season
Goal race: 2018 USATF Outdoor Track Championships
Training plan: Training with the Hoka New Jersey New York Track Club, which is headed by the legendary Coach Frank Gagliano
How long you’ve been ‘a runner’: About 10 years / Professionally 2 going on 3 years
Goal weekly mileage: 60 miles

Runner’s Statement:

Admittedly, running runs in my family… My dad competed in the 800 at the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Trials, my older brother was a successful collegiate runner at the University of Tennessee, and my sister’s running resume includes US 5k Champion and NCAA Champion. I thank my mom for my cross training skills… she was Villanova’s first female All-American swimmer.

Currently, I am a professional middle-distance runner (read: miler) for Hoka One One and the New Jersey New York Track Club chasing my own Olympic aspirations. I’m lucky to call running my “full-time job,” “my hobby,” “my social life,” and much more. Prior to this, I graduated from Villanova University with a degree in marketing, a few NCAA All-American titles, and a feeling that “I’m not done with this sport.” Luckily, amazing family, coaches, and friends encouraged me to continue pursuing my running career. In 2016, I competed in the US Olympic Trials, traveled to Europe to race in Italy and Ireland, and lowered my personal bests across multiple distances. 2017 proved to be a bit more challenging and unfortunately my season came to a sudden halt when I tore my Plantar at the US Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The good news is, I’m back running. I learned that I love this sport far more than I thought and again my family, coaches, teammates, and friends are amazing. So before I ramble on too long, here we go my running diary…

Friday | Day 1

4:30 AM: *Thump* that’s the sound on my Plantar Night Splint hitting the floor (my neighbors below must love me). I rarely make it through the whole night with this thing on.

8:00 AM: Wake up and before stepping out of bed I run through a few foot/ankle mobility drills (ex: ankle circles, crunching my toes then spreading them, and a few stretches). This is a new addition to my morning routine, but it helps make those first few steps better.

8:15 AM: Coffee and breakfast (toast with almond butter, sliced banana, whole milk plain yogurt, and cinnamon) while I warm my foot and calf up with a heat pack. The Today Show (insert plug for loving Al Roker) is on in the background and I go through my pre-run stretching routine and a few activation drills

9:15 AM: Park at the local trail and head out for a run. On a typical Friday, I’m usually on the track, but since I’m still building my base mileage post-injury, I head out for a 35-minute run.

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10:30 AM: Get to the gym to sneak in a few more “miles.” Do a short 30 minute spin workout, while watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey (because, umm priorities!). Core and some rehab exercises.

12:00 PM: Make a quick veggies omelet (broccoli, spinach, red onions, orange bell pepper). “Breakfast potatoes” on the side aka mashed sweet potatoes left over from last night.

12:15 PM: Checking boxes on my work to-do list. In addition to my running career, I work with SMACK! Media. My daily responsibilities vary from drafting press releases, to writing and scheduling social media content, to securing editorial placements, to organizing media events, and more. Working remotely (and check lists!) allows me the opportunity to balance running and work.

7:00 PM: Sushi Friday! Grab dinner at a local spot with my boyfriend, Sam, and then come home to binge watch Stranger Things on Netflix.

10:30 PM: Crash hard

Saturday | Day 2

8:15 AM: Wake up and have a quick bowl of oatmeal and coffee. Some foam rolling (I use the TriggerPoint GRID VIBE) and rope stretching before heading out to meet my teammates for a long run.

9:15 AM: A big group of us head out to run. A solid 45 minutes for me, but my typical long run is somewhere between 10-12 miles. I’m over the moon to be back running, but it’s hard to feel like I’m “turning back early”. Insert thoughts like, “I promise I’ll never complain about running again if I can have a new plantar. I’ll run in the rain, snow, heat, anything!” After I foam roll and stretch, I resort to tanning on the turf field until my teammates get back.

12:00 PM: Shower and make some food. Breakfast salad with spinach, sautéed peppers and onions, avocado, 2 fried eggs, and Trader Joes Everything Bagel Seasoning (if you haven’t tried it – I highly recommend). Watch the last episode Stranger Things (bingo – I know what I’m going to be for Halloween). Plug into my stim / recovery device, the Marc Pro.  

2:00 PM: Sam and I check out a new town and grab a maple donut and Americano before strolling around. I suppose you could say I have a “balanced” diet. The majority of the time pretty healthy, but yes I eat desserts. I enjoy cooking / baking and feel that food shouldn’t be a stressor for athletes. My eating changes a little depending on my training (ex: during higher mileage / intense training blocks I eat more red meat).  

5:30 PM: Head over to friends / teammates house for a BBQ.

10:30 PM: Get into bed and immediately pass out.

Sunday | Day 3

10:30 AM: 12 hours later… Luckily, I’m a pretty good sleeper (earplugs, an eye mask, and a fan helps).

11:00 AM: Attempt a new pancake recipe – mashed sweet potato, oats, and Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Almond “beverage” (impulse buy). It DOESN’T turn out looking like a pancake, but I top it with whole milk plain Greek yogurt, cinnamon, and maple syrup. It tastes way better than it looks.

12:30 PM: Add up all my cross training and running for the week. The math checks out and I only need a 20 minute run to hit “60 miles.”

*Note: Cross training is always part of my training, but currently playing a larger role than usual. I estimate that 7 ½ minutes of cross training = 1 mile. It’s no exact science, but seems close enough. 60 miles total this week.

2:00 PM: Make a smoothie and head out to the grocery store. I get distracted by the amount of pumpkin and fall flavored options.

4:00 PM: My roommate, Cecilia*, and I catch up on How to Get Away With Murder.

*Note: Cecilia is an 800m specialist for Hoka One One and NJNYTC, wicked fast, and an awesome baker.

7:00 PM: Sam loves football and has watched at least a few plays from every game today. While I’m not the one waiting all day for Sunday night football, I can get on board with some chili and wings for dinner.

8:00 PM: Foam roll and ice.

10:00 PM: I have that “pre-cold” feeling so I drink tea and then pass out reading Ana Kendrick’s book, Scrappy Little Nobody.

Monday | Day 4

8:00 AM: Wake up feeling still feeling a little sick-ish.  I make coffee and oatmeal topped with maple yogurt, banana, chia seeds, and granola.

9:00 AM: Get to the gym to swim, but I read the schedule wrong and the pool is closed for cleaning. The good thing is I’m in workout clothes; the bad thing is I have no headphones. 60 minutes on the elliptical and 15 minute core routine. The “unexpected” happens a lot in racing, so being able to adjust on the fly is important. For example, when you’re in Italy racing and they serve you veal and pasta 3 hours before your race (RIP pre-race food routine, hello Tums). This girl knows the truth about the gym.

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11:00 AM: Protein shake (Garden of Life Chocolate Protein, Milk, Water, Ice, this morning’s leftover Coffee). Shower and dig into some work on my computer.

12:30 PM: Breakfast #2. Toast with mashed avocado, spinach, 2 slices of deli ham, and 2 poached eggs. Then it’s back to work!

2:00 PM: Realize that I can’t convince myself that I’m not sick. I crawl into bed for the rest of the day and resort to sick protocol – Hocus Pocus, Twilight, soup, toast, ginger ale, and more rest.

Tuesday | Day 5

8:30 AM: Wake up feeling better than yesterday. Drink some hot water with lemon, then onto coffee and oatmeal.

9:30 AM: Get fancy with some KT tape for extra plantar support (see here) before meeting my teammates to run. It’s a rainy and windy day. Run an easy 35 minutes with Cecilia.

11:00 AM: Shower, make a smoothie (recipe below), and eat a Primal Kitchen bar. Catch up on some work from yesterday.

Recipe: Frozen strawberries and blueberries, banana, coconut milk, whole milk greek yogurt, chia seeds.

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1:30 PM: Heat up some leftover chili with a piece of toast. More ginger ale please! Check off a few work priorities.

5:00 PM: I planned on swimming 40-45 minutes today, but I would rather knock this cold out today. 50% of me feels guilty for missing a workout and the other 50% of me knows it’s the right decision vs. digging myself into a hole and having to take more days off.

7:00 PM: I make dinner: Run Fast Eat Soba Noodle Salad And Peanut Sauce is the inspiration, but I go rogue on the recipe and it turns out more like a stir-fry.

9:30 PM: Another early night. I swear most nights I make it till 10pm. I sleep what most people would probably consider a lot (at least 9 hours). I don’t use a sleep tracker, because well I would probably get to competitive and stressed that my “sleep score” or whatever it’s called would be deemed a failure.

Wednesday | Day 6

7:45 AM: Wake up feeling much better!

8:35 AM: Breakfast on the road. Coffee with a dash of French Vanilla creamer and whole-wheat toast with almond butter, banana, and cinnamon

9:00 AM: Get to Van Cortland Park to run. First 20 minutes with friends and last 20 minutes solo. My GPS watch doesn’t sync properly and sporadically beeps for reasons I don’t understand. I watch a few marathoners crush a workout and say hi to some strangers as I run loops around VCP.

10:15 AM: Talk to my sister, another professional runner for Hoka One One / New Jersey New York Track Club, as I drive home. We see each other 2-3 days a week at practice, but still talk on the phone almost every other day. I’m lucky to train and race with my sister, but I’ll refrain from adding our jokes/stories here, because people are right, those are way funnier to us.

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11:00 AM: Shower and head to my office (aka my kitchen table)

2:00 PM: Finish a work meeting and make “lunch.” I have sautéed kale, red cabbage, and broccoli – topped with two fried eggs, avocado, and tomatoes. Eat a few pretzels on the side (my favorite snack).

5:00 PM: Spin workout with a side of The Real Housewives of Dallas (don’t judge me based on my TV choices). Workout: 10 minute warm up, 10 minutes of “strides” 1 min hard, 30 secs easy, 30 minutes alternating 5 minutes steady on higher gear, 5 minutes of 30 seconds standing then 30 second sitting (repeat 3 times), 5 minute cool down. Finish up with my plantar/foot PT exercises. My calves are going to feel like rocks tomorrow.

7:30 PM: Time for dinner! I have grilled steak, grilled bell peppers and red onion, and roasted broccoli.

8:30 PM: My roommate made apple pie and it would be rude of me not to try it!

9:00 PM: Sip on hot water with lemon before getting ready for bed.

Thursday | Day 7

8:00 AM: Wake up, eat breakfast, drink coffee and check emails

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9:30 AM: Simulate a tempo on the spin bike: 15 minute warm up with some 1 minute pick ups, 12 minutes at tempo effort, 3 minutes easy, 12 minutes at tempo effort, 3 minutes easy, 10 minute cool down

12:30 PM: Make lunch (tomato basil soup and half a turkey pesto sandwich) before getting back to work.

2:00 PM: Coffee #2

5:30 PM: Get to the gym for a 30-minute swim.

6:45 PM: Catch the last 15 minutes of happy hour with a few friends who are visiting. Again, balance with anything, including diet, is key. I hope someone eats a cookie or drinks a beer after reading this – happy runners are fast runners!

8:00 PM: Get to a different restaurant for dinner and inhale a burger with sweet potato fries.

10:30 PM: Pass out!

A Look back — Thoughts From The Week

Coming back from an injury often feels like you’re playing the two steps forward one step back game. I’ll call this week a win. I took two (well many more than two) running steps forward by increasing my running mileage and I can deal with one step back if it only involves missing a workout or two because I was sick. Reflecting back on this week, I can see that I’m moving forward, making progress, and sure as heck not ready to give up on my running goals (you know the big ones that no one really likes to yell out because they scare you a little!).

About Stephanie Schappert

Steph is a professional middle-distance runner (read: miler) for Hoka One One and the New Jersey New York Track Club chasing her own Olympic aspirations. She is lucky to call running her “full-time job,” her “hobby,” her “social life,” and much more, and is also a badass account manager for a public relations firm specializing in endurance sports.

A few of my favorite things: 

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