Neely Spence Gracey, the great marathoner is an eight-time NCAA DII Champion and holds two NCAA records. She has represented Team USA in 5 international competitions, and has raced in 8 different countries where she most notably was the top American and 13th in the World in the 2013 World Cross Country Championships in Poland.
After giving birth to her son in July 2018, Neely Spence Gracey faced innumerable challenges on her return to competition. A stress fracture and hormone imbalances, in addition to the pressure of being a new parent, led to inconsistent training cycles and frustration for the 2:34 marathoner.
With her patience, persistence, and a new mindset, Gracey, 29, climbed her way back to a fulfilling place in her training. Four months later, she was on the upswing with the goal of qualifying for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Neely is excited for what the next year will bring and is ultimately building towards the 2024 Olympic year.
Today, Neely lives in Boulder, CO with her husband/coach Dillon, 18 month old son Athens, and their Vizsla, Strider. She is happily entrenched in the local running community having spent many summers in Boulder while her dad was training, Boulder feels like home. Between mom life and training, she enjoys coaching her team of athletes through her Get Running coaching business.
WF President, Ms. Namita Nayyar got in touch with Neely Spence Gracey to seek answer on significance & tips to strike a balance between breasfeeding and career.
Breastfeeding rates are still low across the globe. Your message for all women, especially mothers-to-be on “Breastfeeding Week 2020”?
The advantages of breastfeeding are tremendous from immune health, to bonding, to way less dishes, to ease with travel. I urge others to look into attending a breastfeeding class prior to delivery (many hospitals and birthing centers offer them).
Plan ahead, learn, and gain tools to set yourself and your baby up for success from the start. Nurse quickly after delivery, and often. The more you do it, the quicker your milk will come in, and the more practice your baby will have to become a “good” nurser.
I also had a lactation consultant at the birthing center come in and share tips and guidance so that the transition home was easier for us all.
How do you balance time between being a mom, personal training, and coaching your team of athletes?
I try not to think of it as balance, that seems to set me up for failure. I focus more on those three things being my priorities, and everything else can wait. I have a good routine, a support system, and I am able to have the time I want for training and coaching while the main focus of my day is mom life.
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