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’re profiling Neely Gracey — a professional runner and coach with a longterm goal of competing in the 2020 Olympics. Her week explores her days in Boulder, Colorado as she balances her own training and recovery from an injury with her coaching business and spending time with her husband and their dog, Strider.
The Run Down
Name: Neely Gracey
Location: Boulder, CO (from Shippensburg, PA originally)
Occupation: Pro distance runner for Adidas, Coach and founder of Get Running, LLC
Training for: A strong year in 2018 and beyond! Gaining more experience at the marathon distance in hopes of being a contender for the 2020 Olympic team
Goal race: None on the calendar yet, as I️ I’m rebuilding from injury this fall
Coach: Steve Magness and my husband Dillon
How long have I been running? 14 Years! Since 8th grade
Goal mileage: Currently, 50. In peak training, 100 or so.
PRs: Mile 4:36; 5k 15:25; 10k 32:16; HM 1:09; Marathon 2:34
I was born while my dad was running the Boston Marathon. It wasn’t until 8th grade that I decided to become a runner and that switch flipped. I found joy in seeing effort produce success, and looking back, it is amazing how that one choice completely changed my life for the better! I was a four-time State Champ in high school, an eight-time NCAA Champ at Shippensburg University, and I turned pro right out of college. That brings me to the here and now: I’m a puppy mom of our vizsla, Strider. My husband Dillon and I love our life in Colorado soaking in the sun while running, biking, hiking and being outside! I started my coaching business Get Running in 2013, and it has grown steadily each year. I’ve become a better athlete since I started coaching because as I help my clients I remind myself of what my strengths and weaknesses are. I’m excited to have the opportunity to share my week with you!
Sunday 10/29 — Day 1
7:30am – Wake up, drink water. This is sleeping in for me, but it was a late night and I needed the extra hour plus!
8am – 30min spin to wake the body up. I make banana coffee cake to post on my blog (recipe link here) and clean the house.
11am – Head to the gym for core and aqua jog with the ladies. Every weekend I am home, a group of us runner girls meet for a pool session and social hour. It’s a fun way to flush out the legs for a new week of training.
1pm – Coaching meeting with a local client to recap on last season and set up the next goal. I usually meet at Precision Pours Craft Coffee shop, a local spot owned by a fellow DII runner. Gotta love the running community — and of course excellent coffee!
2pm – Stop at the grocery store to get produce for dinner.
3pm – Check emails while watching a movie with the hubs. We are in the process of re-watching all the Harry Potter movies in sequence.
5pm – I bike with Dillon for his run (I always prefer to run in the morning, but he doesn’t mind waiting until later in the day). I don’t necessarily count these bike rides as cross training since biking with someone who it running is relatively easy. But I do like the opportunity to get outside and spend time with my husband. Dillon and I ran in college together at Shippensburg University, and he was the first in the family to complete a marathon!
6pm – Make dinner. Final taste of summer with watermelon, carrots, pita, hummus, cheese platter, and Upstart Kombucha (a local Boulder brand) to wash it down.
7pm – I work on coaching plans while Dillon watches football (he’s watching the Steelers so I have a teeny interest, despite my consistent lack of following any sport other than running).
8pm – I decide I’m bored with football so I go upstairs to bed and catch up on the show This Is Us while recording my training in my Believe I Am training log. I have a log for every year since 8th grade! I’m on Strava, and I sync my GPS watch to my training platform on the Final Surge, but I still like to have my written log too.
9pm – Bedtime
Daily Mileage: 0 running, 30min spin, 60min aqua jog, core
Monday 10/30 — Day 2
Motivation Monday! “The past is where we learn, the future is where we apply those lessons. Don’t give up in the middle.”
6:10am – My hub’s alarm goes off. Ugh. I’m still wanting to sleep. I lay there dozing until 6:30
6:45am – Coffee time with homemade banana coffee cake from yesterday while packing Dillon’s lunch.
7am – Dillon leaves and I unload the dishwasher, water all my plants (I only have succulents because I am not a green thumb at all and everything else dies. It is perfect because they only need a light watering once a week!), and start my pre-run exercises as I figure out what motivation Monday quote to post on social media (see quote at top… I loved this one and so did my followers on Instagram!)
8:30am – Go for my run with my super awesome runner mom friend Sara Vaughn. We ran on a new trail by her house I’ve never been on before, which was fun. I didn’t even mind that it was snow-raining. The time flew by because we were chatting. My shoes did get a little muddy, though (I train in the Adidas Energy Boost). I’m running 5ish miles per day at this point. Just easy. Sara ran with me, and then added on at the end.
10am – Mobility class for stretching, rolling, and recovery followed by a plant protein PowerBar. I’m really bad at taking the time to stretch. I recently started going to this class once a week. It’s 50 minutes of foam rolling, stretching, and trigger point work. The time flies by and I am learning new techniques that I can use at home. My coach Steve Magness, is a big proponent of protein. Having 15grams 4-5 times throughout the day can aid in recovery.
11am – Go to Walmart on the way home to get candy for trick or treaters, (mostly chocolate so if there is any left over, it’s the kind I like!) and craft supplies to complete our costumes.
12pm – Core work with the Physio ball while watching This Is Us.
1pm – I get lunch with a friend/coaching client who just had a baby. Held the little guy and got my baby fix for the day! (I have baby fever, but I also have running goals. And they don’t exactly align at this point). It is a difficult situation, but I am still young and there isn’t a rush. Plus I do really love traveling and sleeping… two things that become greatly more challenging with children.
3pm – Chiro appt at Apex Chiropractic. Dr. Shane is awesome and really loves working with and supporting athletes. I find that seeing a Chiro consistently is very proactive work in keeping my body happy. Dr. Shane uses a technique called Torque Release that is a more gentle approach to Chiropractic and focused on increasing health within the nervous system.
3:30pm – Coaching client calls to discuss NYC marathon race strategy!
4pm – 30min XT (cross train) on the ElliptiGO in my home gym. I like working out on the trainer because of the consistent turnover and ability to control my effort better.
4:30pm – Call with my new doc at SteadyMD to get set up for primary care via online. Since I travel so often, this is really helpful for me, and Dr. Josh specializes in runners, which is even better!
5pm – Dillon gets home. Time to bundle up so I can bike along with him for his run. He usually goes as soon as he gets home from work and it’s a nice time for us to spend together and chat about the day.
6pm – Shower,
6:30pm – Make dinner. We have salad — going healthy after the weekend! Dinner is usually our bigger meal of the day. Usually it consists of a combination of plants, proteins, and carbs. We don’t follow any set dietary protocol, but I grew up with an emphasis on healthy eating, and I like to incorporate lots of good “real” food into our meals.
7pm – Watch HP 2 with friends while I make our Halloween costumes.
10pm – Bedtime! (If I can sleep since I might have crazy nightmares about those spiders in the forbidden forest… I hate spiders!)
Daily Mileage: 5 miles running, 90min elliptiGO, core, physical therapy
Tuesday 10/31 — Day 3
5:45am – Wake up! And don’t want to get out of bed, but I have a busy day and planned to meet a friend early for a run.
5:55am – Let Strider out to eat and pee. As usual she is so thrilled to see us, every morning she acts like she hasn’t seen us in years instead of hours. (Anyone else relate with their pups?)
6:05am – Start my pre run exercises. My routine changes based on what my strength coach thinks I need to work on. Usually it consists of foam rolling, glute work with the theraband, ankle and thorasic mobility, and hip opening exercises.
6:15am – Pack Dillon’s lunch and say goodbye as he cooks himself breakfast in his work Halloween costume of Adam Levine.
6:27am – Head out the door in the dark and 28-degree weather for my run. Jog towards my friend and we get in our mileage. I am not a fan of running in the dark, but with a friend, it’s way better.
7:30am – Finish run and right into 30 minutes on the ElliptiGO ride for extra aerobic work. I wouldn’t typically do this if I was in full training. I would utilize the ElliptiGO for second training sessions replacing a run in the afternoon instead. I really like running, and I don’t love cross training. But the ElliptiGO is my GO-to (see what I did there?) for cross training. It most similarly mimics running, just without the impact. Recovering from injuries is always a slow and frustrating process and is challenging mentally. I find if I can do an hour a day of exercise then that helps keep my spirits up! I keep the same routine and cross train the same time I would run so I have a sense of normalcy to my day.
8:10am – Make a coaching call since a client needed a workout switched around.
8:30am – Rinse off and put on makeup to look awake
9am – Breakfast and coffee while watching TV.
10-12am – Back-to-back coaching calls with former, current, and new clients. I am capped at 75. This is a good number for me work with because I like to be available to my athletes and able to individualize training. Being my own boss is great because I’m completely in charge of my schedule. I do like having a few hours each day that I sit down and work so that my mind isn’t focused solely on my own training.
12:45pm – Hot yoga at Core Power. This is only my second hot yoga class but I loved them both.
2pm – Revo PT gait analysis to look at biomechanics and go over all sorts of imbalances and exercises to correct them. The tendonitis injury I am recovering from resulted from a form issue. I have a protocol for strengthening and loosening specific areas for me to get my stride more efficient.
4pm – Head home and stop at the grocery store and liquor store to prep for Halloween festivities.
5pm – Get home and start making dinner, carving pumpkin for wine dispenser, getting candy out, and changing the fambam into costumes (we were a pumpkin patch!). Since I am in the off season from racing, a few drinks is nothing I worry over — though I choose to not drink often during the racing season.
6pm – Hang with friends on the porch singing along to the Taylor Swift station, handing out candy and glow sticks to kids, and pouring wine for parents. We just moved into a new neighborhood, so this holiday was a fun way to meet our neighbors!
8pm – It gets cold so we go inside. I check emails while we chat with friends.
9:30pm – Off to bed!
Daily Recap: 5.25 miles running, lifting, TRX, physical therapy
Wednesday 11/1 — Day 4
5:45am – Hubby alarm goes off. Anddddddd I sleep until he’s done getting ready for work.
6:30am – Start coffee.
7am – Answer emails.
7:30am – Get some chores out of the way — put out the trash, compost the pumpkins, run the dishwasher.
8am – Do pre run exercises.
8:15am – Start my run outside. Despite it being super windy, I opted to get out vs log miles on the treadmill because the temps were warmish and I know treadmill runs are on the horizon. Good thing I have a brand new Proform 9000 treadmill to rock out some winter mileage on. I ran solo and focused on form and breathing rhythm.
9:30am – Quick turn around and leave for lifting.
10am – Stop at Panera because I have a free bagel every day this month and needed a coffee 🙂
10:30am – Lifting at Rally Sport in Boulder with my new strength coach, fellow PA/DII guy, Joe.
11:30am – Spin bike aerobic XT while posting on social media about my gait analysis at Revo Lab yesterday.
12:30pm – Shower.
1pm – Lunch in the car
1:15pm – Altitude PT in Boulder to see Dr. Cranny for ultrasound and tissue work on my foot and calf. I see him every week to help with recovery.
2pm – Check Petsmart and Michael’s for post Halloween sales on costumes for Strider for next year. No luck, such a bummer!
3pm – Home to grab a snack and prep for coaching meeting.
3:30pm – Call client and discuss next block of training!
4pm – TRX routine. One of my favorite strength workouts! My standard routine is core with the physio ball on Monday, TRX on Tuesday, lifting on Wednesday, bosu ball/kettle bell core on Thursday, lifting on Friday, nothing other than a run on Saturday, and core at the rec center with their various machines on Sunday. My routines are typically 15-30 minutes long.
4:30pm – Chat with Dillon while he drives home to keep me entertained while stretching. I need to get more consistent with this recovery aspect of training. The little details make a big difference!
5pm – Dillon gets home and I bike with him for his run as usual. Even though it’s a little on the cold side!
6pm – Dinner of roasted sweet potato, the last of the watermelon, grilled chicken, and salad
7-9pm – Watch our shows (Modern Family, The Goldbergs) while working on coaching plans and responding to emails.
9:30pm — Bedtime! Except then I realize the 3 loads of laundry I did earlier need to be folded since I just dumped them on the bed. Soooooooo bedtime gets postponed for a few minutes more to get that done.
Daily Recap: 1.5mi run, 60min elliptiGO, barre class
Thursday 11/2 — Day 5
5:45am- Alarm goes off. Hubby decides to sleep until 6:15a yay!
6:30am – Make coffee and start the day
7-8am – ElliptiGO workout on trainer including 15-minutes tempo, 10-minutes tempo, 7.5-minutes tempo, 5-minutes tempo
8:30am– Pure Barre class that kicked my butt (literally, super sore glute/hammies) and also solid core work!
10am – Panera for free bagel and coffee while conducting a coaching call with a new client! I love sharing my ideas of how to help someone work towards their goals.
11am – Pick up a friend’s dog who we are watching for the next four days. Then they’ll take Strider for the week while we are in Europe.
11:30am – Get home and let the dogs play while I shower and prep for my afternoon of filming a promo video.
1pm – Video shoot begins, we start with the interview for voice over. Talking about running, injuries, goals, and what gets me out the door! A local producer named Brandon who owns Steelrock Films wants to transition to athletic filming promos for brands and athletes. He needed to build his portfolio and put a request out on our local Facebook group page. A few people in the area recommended me, and he reached out! You can see the teaser on my Instagram @neelysgracey.
3pm- Grab a snack between shoots.
6pm – Done! It’s freezing cold so I head home for a hot shower, soup, and tea. It was a fun day, and I can’t wait to see the photos and videos in my new Adidas gear and Adios racing flats.
7pm – Wanted to get some coaching work done tonight but I’m too tired, so I opt for some stretching while we watch the 3rd HP movie. Just the night I needed; cuddles with the hubs and Strider.
9:30pm – Finished logging my diary since I haven’t updated all day. Time for bed once I document my training in my log.
Daily Recap: 5.75 miles running, lift, 30-min spin
Friday 11/3 — Day 6
5:45am – Alarm
6:10am – Get up
6:30am – I make avocado toast for myself and Dillon before kissing him goodbye and starting to answer emails.
7:30am – Do pre run exercises.
7:55am – Leave the house to meet my friend Kristen Zaitz for a run. She had a baby last spring, and is such a fun person to run with. I love hearing about her transition from pro running to bring a rock star mom.
9:15am – Head to Boulder post run to get in some XT and stretching before lifting at Rally Sport
10:30am – Lifting sesh with coach Joe. I love just showing up not knowing what to expect! He keeps it fast-paced and exciting so I don’t get bored of repetition. We worked hard today, a few of the lifts were pretty maxed out. Helps me feel Accomplished!
12pm – Shower and run errands.
1pm – Head home and make a coaching call on the way to discuss racing strategy for the NYC marathon.
2pm – Work on training plans and start packing for trip to Europe next week. Dillon and I plan 1-2 trips a year during a down period of training/racing so we can have cool experiences traveling the world together. This fall we are going to Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.
4pm – Phone consultation with a new client (I’m filling up quickly! Only a few more spots left for spring training).
4:45pm – Bike with Dillon on his run. Perfect fall evening weather and we saw the little family of great horned owls that live in our neighborhood! I love animals, and one of my favorite things about running is seeing wildlife.
5:45pm – Make dinner. Salad with grilled chicken for me and steamed cauliflower and chicken for dillon. We are running low on fresh groceries because we will be gone for a week and I didn’t want things going bad.
6pm – Watch The Good Doctor while eating.
7pm – Turn on HP 4, and relax. I’m feeling a little under the weather and need to chill
9:45pm – Bedtime!
Daily Recap: 5 miles running, 60min aquajog, physical therapy
Saturday 11/4 — Day 7
6:45am – No alarm day! I wake up on my own anyway at 6:45. I always try to sleep in on Saturdays in case I need the extra rest
8am – Lace up the shoes, attach new lacelockers to keep them tied, and run with a friend and Dillon. I felt tired and under the weather. This may have been one of those runs that I didn’t appreciate each step and would have loved to just stop. But having friends and Dillon to run with kept me going and I am thankful I got it in.
9am – Stop at the house and grab the bike to ride the rest of the way with our friend so he could get in his long run.
10am – Finish at Precision Pours coffee shop for breakfast and caffeine.
10:45am – Aqua jog with two of my coaching clients/friends for girl talk and cross training. We meet on Saturday instead of Sunday this weekend because the NYC marathon is tomorrow and we will have a long morning watching that!
12pm – I go home and take strider for a walk, get mail, run the dishwasher, and finish packing for our trip. We are going to Europe for a week! Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. It was initially my post NYC Marathon vacation, but since I wasn’t able to race, it’s just a fun fall trip to explore a part of the world we haven’t been to before. Dillon went to the office to get work done before we leave so I had the afternoon to myself to be productive too.
1pm – Coaching call with client to discuss plan for Houston marathon prep.
1:30p – Work on emails, prep for Monday’s guest blog entry on my website, answer texts
3pm – Do errands.
5pm – Make dinner, Dillon gets home
6pm – Watch HP 4 while doing my PT exercises and stretches
9pm – Go to bed! (Super exciting Saturday night)
Daily Recap: 6 miles running, core, physical therapy, massage, dry needling
Total weekly mileage: 28.5 miles running
A Look Backs — Thoughts On The Week
In reflection, this was a typical week with the layout of morning training/ lifting twice a week, and routine core and XT to supplement. Right now, I am recovering from some post tibialis tendonitis that prevented me from racing this fall. I feel good, just being very patient and slow with the build up back to training and fitness. This week, I ran around 30 miles, but in a normal week of training, I am usually between 80-100. Thank you for reading, and please reach out with questions! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media channels @NeelySGracey
About Neely Gracey
Neely is a professional runner and run coach living in Boulder, CO. She made her marathon debut at the Boston Marathon in 2016, finishing in 2:35 — securing her spot as the top American, and placing ninth overall. Learn more about Neely on The Mighty Goods.