Breakthrough Women’s Running is written just for you—a woman runner who has big goals and needs a plan to achieve them. In her trademark fun and upbeat style, professional runner and coach Neely Spence Gracey will set you up for success with an inside look at her own story in the sport—paired with the science, experience, strategies, and insights that have worked for her and countless other female runners who set challenging goals and achieved them.
Told with engaging storytelling and packed with colorful images and practical recommendations to improve your running, Breakthrough Women’s Running offers 5K, 10K, half-marathon, marathon, and run-walk training plans to suit your current distance or pacing goals. With the strength and mobility workouts included in the plans, you don’t have to wonder where and how to fit in these important (but often overlooked) components of a successful running training program. Learn how to breathe in rhythm and how to focus with mantras and mindfulness exercises. Get specific guidance on how to best manage unique challenges that women confront such as hormone fluctuations; training through the menstrual cycle, while pregnant, or after childbirth; and training while also raising a family. Know how to train to prevent injury as well as how to return to running should an injury occur. And fuel your training with five simple recipes that are nutrient dense and simple to prepare.
You’ll hear from well-known, successful women runners such as Sara Hall and Nell Rojas on how even elite runners experience highs and lows in their training as well as how they themselves overcame obstacles to reach their goals. At the ends of chapters, you’ll find Breakthrough Goals—a section of small, tangible actions that you can apply in your own training to overcome specific obstacles.
If you’re looking for a strategic and progressive approach for breaking through your physical or mental barriers to achieve more successful and fulfilling running, you’ve found it with Breakthrough Women’s Running.
Part I Chapter 1. Dream Big; Start Small Chapter 2. Plan Smart Chapter 3. Recover Right Chapter 4. Feed Your Fire
Part II Chapter 5. Master Your Cycle Chapter 6. Ready, Set, Grow
Part III Chapter 7. Train Like an Athlete Chapter 8. Stay Healthy Chapter 9. Exercise Your Brain Chapter 10. Breathe Better
Part IV Chapter 11. Let’s Get Running! Chapter 12. 5K and 10K Training Plans Chapter 13. Half-Marathon Training Plan Chapter 14. Marathon Training Plan Chapter 15. Run-Walk Training Plan Chapter 16. Reset for Success Chapter 17. Get It Together
Neely Spence Gracey began running in eight grade and quickly saw success, which deepened her motivation to pursue big goals. At the high school level she won four Pennsylvania state championships. Upon graduation, she attended Shippensburg University (SU) and became an eight-time Division II national champion. During Neely’s time at SU, she studied human communication with a coaching minor because she knew she wanted to become a pro athlete and start coaching other runners toward their goals.
In 2012, she signed her first pro contract and married her husband Dillon, and in 2013 Get Running Coaching was born. The business has continued to grow, as has Neely’s family, with the addition of sons Athens in 2018 and Rome in 2021. She’s worked with hundreds of runners all over the world to help them achieve their breakthroughs, from the mile to the marathon. On the roads, she’s a three-time Olympic Trials qualifier, was the top American at the 2016 Boston Marathon, and is the 11th American female ever to break 70 minutes in the half marathon. Her personal records are 4:36 for the mile, 15:25 for the 5K, 32:16 for the 10K, 1:09 for the half marathon, and 2:34 for the marathon. She looks forward to her next breakthrough season and has her sights set on qualifying for her fourth Olympic Trials in 2024. The running community inspires her to keep working toward her goals as an athlete, coach, and mother.
Cindy Kuzma is a freelance writer, author, and podcaster; a regular contributor to Runner’s World, Women’s Running, and a wide variety of other sports, fitness, and health publications; and the coauthor of Rebound: Train Your Mind to Bounce Back Stronger From Sports Injuries. Cindy specializes in covering injury prevention and recovery, everyday athletes who accomplish extraordinary things, and the active community in her beloved Chicago, where winter forges deep bonds between those athletes brave enough to train through it. She has run 22 marathons—including seven in Boston—and she never gets tired of plotting her next breakthrough.
“If you’re a female runner looking to reach the next level, you’ll want to add Breakthrough Women’s Running to your list.” —Runner’s World
"Every runner wants to reach the next level. In Breakthrough Women’s Running, Gracey and Kuzma show you how. This book is packed with clear, easy-to-follow advice plus personal stories and anecdotes that will elevate your running and your life." —Michelle Hamilton, Journalist and Coauthor (With Olympian Deena Kastor) of Let Your Mind Run
"In our community, there are few things we love more than a book written for women, by women. Breakthrough Women’s Running is a robust lifestyle guide that will help you take your fitness—and confidence—to the next level.” —Sarah Bowen Shea, Coauthor of Run Like a Mother and Host of Another Mother Runner Podcast
"This book is game changing for women's running. I found myself wanting to keep reading and reading as I simultaneously soaked in wisdom, smiled in appreciation, and nodded my head in agreement. Neely and Cindy are elevating women's running in the best way." —Megan Roche, MD, Coach for Some Work, All Play (SWAP); 2016 USATF Women’s Ultra Trail Runner of the Year; Six-Time Member of Team USA; and Coauthor of The Happy Runner
“If you’re a female runner looking to reach the next level, let Breakthrough Women’s Running help you get there! Blending the perspectives of pro runner Neely Gracey and prolific running writer Cindy Kuzma, along with the experiences of seasoned and successful athletes, this book is a must-read for female runners of all ages, abilities, and aspirations.” —Becky Wade, Professional Runner and Author of Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe