A Hard Training Day in the Life of Neely

I often get asked, what does a normal day look like for you? Since I am recovering from my foot injury, I am missing this routine. So I decided to write about it instead.


Every day is a little different, but I kept track of a workout day last month, and figured I would share it with you to gain insight on what my days looks like. Every pro runner is different, so this is just my own workout routine and what others do is most likely not the same, but neither is wrong. The art of running is finding what works best for you as an individual, herein is where we find success. As Roosevelt said “Comparison is the root of unhappiness”.

Time to get up! First thing I do is drink a few large gulps of water to kick off hydration. Dillon is still sleeping, he gets up at 5:45. I spend 15minutes doing some stretching, mobility exercises, foam rolling, and gentle yoga poses to wake my muscles up.

I have a few go-to pre workout snacks that I know are “safe foods” for my stomach. Usually a banana, homemade energy bites, toast, or a Power Bar. I grind beans and make 1 cup of pour-over or French press coffee (I only do caffeine on workout, long run, and race days) and then fill a water bottle with electrolytes. I drink a full 16-24oz of hydration fluids after I finish my breakfast and coffee. I usually stand while I eat breakfast so I can keep stretching and loosening up. I check emails, respond to texts, and get organized for what the day has in store.


Time to warm up. I usually meet a friend or two, and based off what workout is scheduled, I have my go-to places for track, tempo, fartlek, and intervals. I like to do similar workouts in the same place for consistency. My warm up is 3-6miles followed by drills, strides, and a change into my “fast shoes” (the Adizero Bostons). I have my watch set for a screen with just Lap time, Lap distance. I manually split throughout so I have data for each hard part and each recovery part. Here are 3 workouts that I do routinely. They all start with a warm up, drills, strides, jogging recovery throughout, and end with a few cool down miles.

1-3mi tempo at marathon pace, 800 jog, 3x1mi at half marathon pace on 400 jog
2-12x1min hard (5k race effort) on 1min easy jog
3-2 sets of 2mi tempo at 15sec slower than marathon pace, 4x30sec hills on 90sec jog

Immediately after my cool down, rehydration is my focus. Living in Colorado, I have to emphasize fluids more than I ever had before I moved to altitude. But seriously, getting in 16-24oz of water and some fruit and/or a Protein Bar on my drive home makes such a difference in how I recover from the workout. I often use this time to stop at the grocery store (yes, in my sweaty spandex workout clothes, weirdo calf sleeves, and with dried salty grit on my face).


12noon-LUNCH and WORK
This meal varies based on if I am running again or if I am cross training. If I am running in the afternoon, I like a fruit smoothie made with greek yogurt (try some of my fav recipes here), a sandwich, or avocado toast with an egg. My stomach is fickle, and I get terrible side stitches if I am not cautious with my pre-run meals. If I am cross training, I can have anything. I start my coaching work while having lunch. Responding to my client’s emails, writing training plans, updating race schedules, phone consultations etc. I turn on some music and get in a few hours of focused work while Strider tries to convince me that we should play outside instead. I also use this time to post on social media, update my website, and stalk the running world.


If I do a second run, it is usually 3-5miles easy. The goal is to shake the morning workout out of my legs by stimulating blood flow. Cross training does the same thing, just eliminates pounding. If I cross train, I use the bike, ElliptiGO, or pool for 30-45minutes instead of a run.  Sometimes I go to my PT to use the antigravity treadmill to get in some miles while taking 10% off my body weight to reduce pounding. All have pros and cons, and I use them each as methods for recovery.


I lift on workout days to keep my hard days hard and my easy days easy. We are in the process of building a home gym, so it is nice to be able to workout from the garage and not have to go anywhere. I do a combination of core, upper, and lower body strength training which takes around 30 minutes of focused effort. (Follow me on instagram for some workout ideas!)
*On non workout days, this block is used for core work and massage/PT/Chiro/physio sessions.


By the time 5pm hits, I am done. I’m showered, and ready to refuel and relax. Dillon gets home, and we sit down to dinner. (Try some of my entrée recipes!). After I clean up the kitchen, we put on a TV show (currently Suits, House Of Cards, The Goldbergs) and I sit in the Normatec Recovery Boots, or use my R8 roller. When Dillon is traveling, these are the times I miss him the most. Our boring evening together are a highlight of my day!

I take a while to wind down, so I start to bed an hour before I want to fall asleep. I’ve learned that I do better if I shut down electronics and read instead of playing on my phone. I enjoy light reads, fiction, no plots I have to think too hard about. Lights out at 9pm and time to sleep so I can restart in the morning.


A few more days, and then I get to start back to easy running. I have been resting my mind and body, taking the time off to reboot my whole system so that I can get back to this routine and continue chasing my goals. I can't wait to Get Running.