Neely Spence-Gracey has been a friend of mine for almost 10 years, and I knew she would make a great guest on the show, as she is always very inspiring for runners of every level. If you don’t believe me, just check out her HUGE fan base!

Neely was born while her dad (who was an Olympian, by the way!) was running the Boston marathon, so it was her destiny to end up as a runner. She has achieved a lot of running success over the years, including eight national titles during college, and running some smoking fast times in distances from the mile up to the marathon, but she has also been through her fair share of struggles.

A few years ago, Neely could not catch a break.  She shares her story of three broken bones and Lyme disease all within a few years, but she persevered, and stayed positive during the eight months it took for her fitness to come back. For that, she was rewarded and ended up faster than ever.

Neely shares the story of that time, as well as what she learned about injuries and seeking answers when the unknown is driving you crazy. Strength training has been a huge part of staying healthy since that time (now, you know I am a fan of that part), and you can make it part of your routine too.

We talk about how Neely uses mantras during her training, and what she learned about reframing to believe that you can achieve what you set out to do. She is another “run by feel” girl (go effort scale!) and lets her body tell her what she is ready for that day.

If you are currently injured and struggling to see how you will ever get back to where you were, this episode will motivate you to stay positive, find balance, and believe that you can and will return, better than ever.

Today’s Guest

Neely Spence-Gracey is a professional runner for Adidas who has represented the USA on two world teams, and has PRs of 15:27 in the 5k, 1:09 in the half marathon, and 2:34 in the marathon.

You might think life is easy for elite runners, but Neely has been through a lot of setbacks, struggles, and moments of doubt that led her to this point. If you need inspiration that you can come back from injury, this is it.

What You Will Learn About

  • Why Neely chose to go to Shippensberg University and keep her dad as her coach.
  • Why Neely gets strange looks when she is doing her pool workouts (and it’s not from the workout!)
  • How the ElliptiGO turned her life around and helped her qualify for a world team when she was injured by helping her get through a tough time.
  • Neely’s best advice for dealing with injuries
  • How to use mantras to practice mental training during workouts to use in races, and how to come up with a mantra that is effective for you
  • Why strength training is critical to maximizing recovery and staying healthy
  • Why Neely did not race Boston marathon this year

Listen to the Running for Real Podcast

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Neely’s #R4RPowerPose

Inspirational Quotes

Running has been a part of my life, and I was destined for this career path.

The struggles along the way have shaped and defined who I am.

How we are going to be most successful is if we are happy and in a place we feel supported, we have a team we work well with, there is a good group dynamic, and we have a coach we can really trust to guide us.  That’s how we are going to be the best and maximize ourselves.

Where you feel at home is where you are going to run the best.

Running is a brutal sport. It is amazing when things are going great, but it is horrible when things aren’t going well, and it impacts every aspect of our lives.

That is the hardest part about being injured, is that it is so isolating. You are already upset because you can’t run and I am a social runner, so that was my social time…  all these things that used to be such a positive part of my life are just taken from me.

With each injury, I learned more about myself.

The body will heal itself, but you have to give it the ability and opportunity to do it.

We get faster by stressing the system in different ways.  It is the same with strength training, you can’t do the same thing over and over.

At some point during a race, every single person is going to have that moment of decision, of where you have to keep pushing even though your body is saying “stop.” You are tired, you still have a long way to go, and you have to find a way to work through that and make it to the finish line.

If you practice mantras in workouts, you can apply them to races and you will see success.

If you live a life where you feel like you are lucky and things happen to you, they do, and it’s all because your outlook on life is not putting energy into the negative sides.

We all have good days and we all have bad days, but if you are focusing on the positives, things are always going to look so much better.

Focusing on what you can control is the key.

Injuries are never ideal, but when something flares up, being smart from the get-go is key, because pushing through never results in a positive outcome.

Resources Mentioned

Thanks for Listening! I hope you enjoyed today’s episode.

Enter the Running for Real Giveaway

Win one of FIVE marathon or half marathon training programs from my husband/coach/brains behind my running accomplishments, Steve.

You can win a 16 week training plan with suggestions on how to individualize it for your personal running goals.

Enter by:

  1.  Leaving a rating and review on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play.
  2. Taking a photo/screenshot of your rating and review
  3. Emailing me with your screenshot, and you will be entered to win.

Contest ends on May 5th.

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Thank you to Neely; I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.

elite runner, injury, marathon training, positive thinking, strength training

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