Ashley Higginson runs for NJNY Track Club, was the 2015 Pan American Games Champion and most recently won her 3rd Penn Relays Championship in the mile. She lists some impressive personal bests and looks to be one of the top contenders at the Olympic trials. How does she stay healthy with an intense training schedule; what’s her favorite motivational quote; and how does she fuel for her favorite hard workout?! Read on——
|1 Mile (road)
|5 km (road)
What is your favorite steeplechase workout?
Steeple or flat I like workouts that entail a hard longer interval in the front, like a 1k or a mile that really reaches beyond race pace and hurts. After that hard effort, I like to shorten up and sharpen. So, for instance, perhaps a 1200 over hurdles followed by 600-400 reps (broken k) and then closing it off with some quick 150’s.
I also love Michigan workouts, or intervals followed by tempo/steady state efforts in between.
Top 3 finishers at the 2015 Pan American Games. Ashley claimed the title.
How do you generally prepare for this workout, as far as nutrition, sleep, and warm-up?
I am working really hard on the sleep component of my training! (How funny does that sound) I jus graduated law school last ear and bar exam studying is finally over so now it is all about rest and recovery. Typically the night before I will have a nice balance meal. I have been loving Hello Fresh lately. Then, I usually sleep with some Cheribundi recover to help me sleep more restfully for about 8-9 hours. In the morning, I prep with some oatmeal and some rolling out (especially my plantars, thank heaven for the R3!) as well as sipping on Enduropacks electrolyte spray in water. Then, once at the track we have about an hour to warm up and prep with strides and stretching, much like in a real race scenario.
How do you stay mentally tough once the workout gets challenging?
I am so lucky to have so many wonderful teammates with different strengths and abilities on NJ*NY Track Club. I think either taking ownership of the intervals I lead to help them or allowing them to take control and learn to follow their cadence and moves help me prepare for races but also helps me stay calm and tough as I know we are in this together.
What do you do immediately following the workout and later in the day to ensure proper recovery?
Once a workout ends I almost always do hurdle mobility drills and roll out once again. I cool down and try to have a protein shake or drink (like Cheribundi Rebuild which I love) I also slap on an Enduropacks recovery patch and head home. Sometimes, enroute home a Slurpie or ham, egg, and cheese bagel is a must. Then, usually the day is lazy after a workout and involves a bath or coffee shop afternoon.
Ashley winning the Pan American Games Steeplechase in 2015.
What efforts do you make for recovery on a daily basis?
I think it is really critical to be consistently recognizing when you are allowing your body to undergo stress outside of running. This can be emotional stress, family stress, the anxiety of your to-do list. I think an awareness of this and taking the time to take a few minutes to unwind between responsibilities is critical to keep your body in a state or relaxation and recovery between training efforts.
In training, I think sometimes a day away from everyone to run or jog or basically walk at your own pace instead of suddenly feeling any pressure to run your easy run too quickly or a bit longer than you would have can pay huge dividends.
Last, I think happiness is a component we might forget in our daily hopes of being better. A glass of wine or date night can be the type of distraction that enables you to come back to training the next day more wholly committed and excited.
Competing in the 2012 Olympic Trials.
Do you have a favorite go-to pre-race meal or ritual?
I used to be crazy with my rituals, but as I have grown older and been lucky enough to travel to some may different places to race, I have learned to go with the flow a bit more. I guess if I had to name a favorite meal, it is probably a nice pasta dish with a bunch of veggies. The day of the race, if it is later in the day, it is also really nice to find a dinner and the kind of teammate who will split an omelette and pancake dish with you – so you can have the best of both worlds! There are fewer things in life better than a friend who will go halfsies at a restaurant with you.
How about a favorite motivational quote?
I love motivational quotes and feel like for me they change with where my life is at and what is personal to me. For example, I am a huge Parks and Recreation fan and so Ron Swanson’s:
“Never half-ass two things. Whole ass one thing.”
has resonated with me upon finishing up school and giving this whole “full time professional runner” thing a shot. Silly, I know. However quotes I always come back to that I find really powerful are:
“The man on top of the mountain did not fall there”
“Learn to love the parts of yourself that no one claps for”
“Little by little, a little becomes a lot”