Neely Spence Gracey’s motto is “Get Running!”— which has successfully driven her to reach her goals as a top Div II runner and now professional Olympic hopeful. Neely was an 8 X Divison II National Champion while competing for Shippensburg University, and has secured her spot at the Olympic Trials next year with her half marathon time of 1:12:38 this February. She recently moved to Boulder, CO, so we see her running a lot and can assure you, she’s the real deal. She competes on the roads, the cross country course + the track, and holds personal bests from 15:25 in the 5k to 1:11:25 in the Half Marathon. Her favorite workout is the long run—
What is your favorite motivational quote?
“So bid me run and I will strive for things impossible.” Shakespeare
What is your favorite hard workout?
Long runs!!! I love the feeling of completing a long run. There is no satisfaction quite like it.
What do you feel it benefits?
The mental and physical strength that is gained during a long run seems to not always get the credit it deserves. I feel like this is where my confidence grows and helps me feel ready on race day.
When do you like it?
The first half is the mental strength of still having a long way to go. The second half is where it physically becomes more tiring. And the after effect is a huge smile of satisfaction and the glow of the long run sticks with me all day.
Do you do best with other people running with you during the workout, or is it best done solo?
I prefer to have people to run with. Finding a rhythm seems to be easier when someone else is there. Running is very social for me, so this is a time when I look forward to meeting up with friends and teammates.
Do you recommend other runners try it?
Absolutely! The long run is one of the most important workouts a distance runner can do.
What do you do for recovery after this workout and before your next?
The recovery mode begins for me while the workout is still going. I take in fluids (I use Osmo hydration) every 3-4miles and I have seen a significant improvement on my ability to recovery after the run since I never get dehydrated. Typically afterwards, we go out to breakfast, or to a coffee shop and I always emphasize protein intake. The afternoon is relaxing, and sometimes I will get in a little aqua jog to decompress. Using tools like my Roll Recovery, Normatec, and stretching rope allow me to feel pretty good the next day!