Q and A with Boulder Running Athlete and Coach Neely Spence Gracey
1.When did you know that you wanted to pursue running professionally?
-I'm not sure there was ever a definitive moment that I set running pro as a goal. Growing up with my dad as an Olympic Marathoner, I remember in 1st grade we had career day, and my dad took my class on a jog around the school. Most kids, and even adults for that matter, don't realize that being an athlete can be a full time job. But to me, it was as normal as any other job. I personally committed to my own running goals in 8th grade, and with a little bit of training, I had a lot of success. That was fun, and from that point on I kept setting higher and higher goals for myself.
2. How has your career as a runner help guide your coaching?
-It is mutually beneficial for both. I am a better athlete because of coaching, and I am a better coach because of my personal experiences in the sport. I started Get Running coaching in 2013 when I was dealing with an injury and couldn't run. I studied communication and coaching in college, and knew that I wanted to be a coach at some point. The timing was right, and my business has grown every year since.
3. What is your favorite method of cross training?
-I have three methods of cross training I implement on a regular basis. My favorite is the ElliptiGO because it is the most similar to actually running. I first got an ElliptiGO in 2012 when I had my first stress fracture, and now I utilize it as a healthy athlete in replace of a second run. Each Sunday, I meet a group of my running friends at the pool for aqua jogging. I hate to swim alone, but I always look forward to this social hour and my body feels so much better afterwards. And lastly, I like to spin. Again, I will replace a second run with a spin throughout the week. When injured, spinning classes are the best way for me to get my heart rate elevated and get in a solid workout. Six days a week I do core exercises, strength training, stretching, and mobility work to support my run training.
4. What advice would you give to a new runner?
-The most important thing about running is making it routine. Instead of waiting until the last hour of the day to squeeze in a run, wake up and get it done first thing. Your day will be much more productive as a result!
5. What are your goals for 2018?
-Continue to work towards my goal of qualifying and competing for a spot at the 2020 Olympics. I have a lot of experience to gain in the marathon distance, and I look forward to training, racing, and refining the process along the way.