As an outstanding high school runner, Ashley was the 2007 Footlocker Cross Country National Champion, 2008 Footlocker Cross Country runner-up, 2008 5k Nike Outdoor National Champ, a 4X Florida state XC champion, 3x 3,200m state champion, and earned the 2007-2008 Gatorade National Cross Country Runner of the Year award.
Little did she know, Ashley would face 7 years of injury post high-school, all the while learning what it took to stay healthy physically and mentally. Now training in Boulder, CO while working full-time with an energy conservation consulting firm, Ashley has not only returned from a long absence from training, but has come back with a fire.
Her favorite workout is a 4 mile tempo run followed by 2x 1 mile fast. She also shared her best tips for recovery, health, and maintaining a happy relationship with running even during injury.
What is your favorite motivational quote?
“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” – John Green (This really just applies to all aspects of life.)
What is your favorite hard workout?
This one was actually right in the middle of a work trip to Phoenix. I ran along one of the canals down there and was finally just able to hammer at sea level. This one really gave me confidence going into the Jacksonville Bank Half a few weeks later. It has been a tough adjustment transitioning to altitude and just doing all of my workouts “by feel” so it was nice to have something under my belt just a little more tangible.
What do you feel it benefits?
This really helps increase lactic threshold which is always good for the longer races. It also really works you mentally on those last two mile repeats to test you when you hit that wall. It really simulates a longer race where you may need to pick it up the last few miles to keep up with competitors or hit a certain time.
What do you do for recovery after this workout and before your next?
- 1. Nutrition: I always take in at least 150-200 calories within 30 minutes of finishing a workout. Normally this is some sort of protein bar until I can get to a more substantial meal. Also, I never go to bed hungry. Ever.
- 2. Rolling and stretching: I do at least 10-15 minutes a day and more if I can manage. Roll Recovery’s R8 and R3 are definitely key in my routine. I swear by them. I bring the R3 to work sometimes to roll my feet under my desk, and my co-workers may or may not think I am crazy at this point (and, if not, I am slowly working to change that in a variety of different ways).
- 3. Sleep: I need 8-9 hours to function/feel recovered and take an occasional 12 hour coma on weekends.
- 4. Icing, massage, etc: I try to take ice baths/ice sore spots as much as possible and get deep tissue sport’s massages every 3-4 weeks. The massages definitely help to pinpoint areas I need to monitor or just be aware of which is always really helpful.
- 5. Listening to my body: This is a tough one to learn but key for not overtraining or getting burned out. If I feel tired, I run less or take a day off. If I feel great, I add on. If I am sore, I ice or roll more. If I am hungry, I eat more. It sounds simple but takes a lot of discipline to train smart and do less sometimes.
- 6. Balance: This is probably the most important thing for me personally. Just maintaining a level of mental happiness outside of running has made a huge difference in staying healthy and recovering this season. This is defined differently for everyone, and that’s why this section is “my formula”.
How does it feel to make the Olympic marathon trials after struggling with injuries for a number of years?