Bravey by Alexi Pappas: A Book Review

Bravey by Alexi Pappas: A Book Review

Bravey by Alexi Pappas is the new running book that everyone’s talking about! Pappas has long been an influential figure in running. From her time at Dartmouth and the University of Oregon, to representing Greece in the Olympics. However, the stories she conveys in her memoir Bravey, show that we never know the full story looking in from the outside on someone’s life. Bravey is a selection of essays where Pappas takes us along her journey of childhood trauma, Olympic heights, depression, and learning valuable lessons.

Running and life are often interconnected journeys. Pappas shows us some key lessons for thriving along our journeys through the lens of an Olympian who is still figuring things out.

Bravey by Alexi Pappas: 5 lessons from the new memoir!

Alexi Pappas' Bravey

1. The Rule Of Thirds

The rule of thirds was developed by Oregon Track Club Elite coach Ian Dobson. It dictates that you should have ⅓ of your training feeling good, ⅓ of your training feeling ok, and ⅓ of your training feeling “crappy.” Spend too much time in any of these zones and your training becomes unbalanced. Too much time feeling bad and you risk burn out. Too much time feeling good means you aren’t pushing yourself enough in training. As with anything in running, the rule of thirds can also be applied to our life in general. Remembering the good can help us through those times where we aren’t feeling our best.

2. Rules Are Made To Be Broken

In the chapter of Bravey titled ‘Rules,’ Pappas describes her reluctance to shed the internal rules she made for herself. This leads to problems when your predetermined rules become detrimental to your general growth. Rules are great to have but they should have built in grace and fluidity. Rules are made to be broken and often lead to our biggest breakthroughs.

3. Listen To Your Body

If you’ve ever run with me, you have probably heard the phrase “our bodies tell us everything we need to know.” However, listening to our bodies isn’t always intuitive. In Bravey, Pappas describes her time after Rio where instead of listening to her body and taking a break, she kept running. Even when she was injured and feeling depressed, she tried pushing through the noise. That noise is there for a reason though, and ignoring the warning signs will always lead to injury or burnout.

Lessons learned from Olympian Alexi Pappas in her new memoir Bravey

4. Schedule Your Willpower 

Some of the most practical advice from Pappas’ Bravey is scheduling your use of willpower. Our willpower is finite. We use it to make decisions. We use it to push harder in workouts and we use it often in our day to day life. Schedule those decisions in advance! We all know that feeling of indecisiveness after a hard workout. Wouldn’t it make life easier if we scheduled for that indecisiveness? When your tank runs empty, easy decisions become hard to make and hard decisions become untenable. 

5. Strong People Ask For Help

The pinnacle of Bravey is Pappas’ journey through childhood trauma and later coming to terms with her diagnosis of clinical depression. Depression is a hard topic to tackle, but Pappas does an amazing job sharing her story. She shows us that depression isn’t something to hide from and can impact anyone. Just like in training, ignoring your body’s warning signs will lead you down a longer road to eventual recovery. Pappas fights back against an initial reluctance to see a “talk doctor” because of preconceived notions towards therapy and what that would mean for her self-image. She finally takes that step. Although it wasn’t an immediate fix, therapy helped her feel like herself again while understanding the importance of self-care. 

Bravey by Alexi Pappas is a must-read book for any runner. It goes beyond the typical runner biography and ventures into the territory of self-empowerment. Teaching you how to be the best version of yourself, becoming a Bravey! If you are looking for other book recommendations, check them out here!

Channel your inner Bravey on your running journey! Sign up for Charge Running and start your positive training today!

RUNNER: A Movie Review by Charge

Runner Directed by Bill Gallagher

Guor Mading Maker is a runner. More than that, he’s a fighter, a survivor, an Olympian, and a man who represents hope for an entire country. 

Runner is the story of one man’s journey from Sudanese refugee to Olympian. However, that synopsis undersells just how powerful Guor’s journey truly is. At the young age of 8, Guor ran for his life to escape his captors in Sudan. It is an incredibly difficult decision to comprehend. Run for your life knowing that you may never see your parents again, or stay and endure incredible work and punishment.

Guor ran and ran and ran. He went from the Sudanese countryside to the New England Prep Championships to becoming an NCAA All-American and beyond. 

Runner: Guor Mading Maker

Runner is all about the journey that stemmed from a decision no child should ever have to make. From learning about track and cross country to feeling the weight of an entire nation on your shoulders. It appears that no decision in Guar’s life was ever meant to come easy but he accomplishes everything with such grace and compassion. 

At points during the documentary you will find yourself smiling and laughing. A scene where Guor races his track coach is particularly lighthearted. There will also be times when you can’t help but cry alongside Guor as he recollects finding his parents again after 20 years of being apart. 

“…put the shoes on, and run.” – Guor Mading Making

While Runner is mainly the telling of Guor’s Olympic journey, this is also the story of South Sudan. A country born out of conflict, and an athlete who could unite them through Olympic glory and international recognition. Without a South Sudan Olympic committee, Guor would be forced to compete for Sudan in the eyes of the IOC. However, Guor found another option, competing under the Olympic flag in the 2012 London Olympic Games. He then made it his life’s mission to establish South Sudan’s Olympic Committee. In turn he would bring more legitimacy to a new country despite widespread corruption among South Sudanese officials. 

In the end you will feel a sense of inspiration and awe after watching Runner. This is a must watch movie for any runner, walker or Olympic fanatic.

5 Stars – Two Thumbs Up – 100/100

Want to watch Runner? You can watch Runner with Charge Running here:

A ticket includes access to a live Q&A with subject, Guor Maker, and director Bill Gallagher on June 20th (World Refugee Day) at 9pm EST.

How to Run in Hot Weather: A Running Checklist

Summer Running can be tough, it can be harsh and it will be unforgiving.

Growing up in St. Louis, and now living in Kansas City, you learn to cope with the ridiculous humidity that comes from living in a midwest river town and learn how to run in hot weather. Running was always done in the morning, and if you slept in, you were better off waiting until sundown to fit your miles in — we’re talking over 80% humidity most days.

Heat has a large negative impact on both your perceived effort and your actual ability to pace yourself and complete a given run/workout. Check out this tool from Runners Connect to see how different temperatures and humidities can affect your pacing. You’ll be able to see the change in goal pace for any given run distance, pace, and effort level based on the humidity and base temperature.

“Ok; so temper your effort level, got it… but what else can I do to help my summer running?”

Here’s a checklist of things to pay attention to in order to maximize your ability to SMASH every single one of your hot weather runs/workouts!

Checklist: How to Run in Hot Weather

Make the most of your run in hot weather with proper hydration techniques.

1. Hydrate the Night Before

Electrolyte drink + lots of water, that’s how you best prepare for the next day’s run. This means that you might have to forgo those post-dinner drinks… I know that’s a big ask but if you’re wanting to crush a workout you need to make a few sacrifices.

2. Hydrate Before You Run

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, aim for approximately 1-ounce of fluids per 10-pounds of body weight at least four hours prior to exercise. If you still feel thirsty two hours prior, 1-ounce per every 15–20-pounds of body weight should quench your thirst. If that doesn’t do it, the National Athletic Trainers Association adds that 7–10-ounces of fluid 10–20 minutes before exercise can help.

3. Chill Out Before You Head Out

Your core temperature is what determines your running performance in the heat; If you can keep yourself chilled before you head out the door it may help with your performance especially on a workout day. Check out this Clinical Journal of sports medicine study which came to the conclusion, “ice slurry (slushy) compared with cold water ingestion prolonged running time to exhaustion in hot and humid conditions, reduced rectal temperature during exercise, and allowed rectal temperature to rise higher before the runner reached exhaustion.”

4. Temper Your Pace

I know I talked about it already but I wanted to make sure it was included in your checklist. The idea is that pace doesn’t matter as much in hot weather, instead you should focus on effort. When you start a workout or run too fast in hot weather you’ll be toast. It will be hard, but you need to drill it into your head that exact TIME DOES NOT MATTER as much in adversely warm weather conditions. The effort needs to feel right in order to accomplish your goals for the day, even if the pace is slower. 

Make the most of your run in hot weather by controlling a slower pace.

5. Consider Doubling

The heat and humidity effect becomes more drastic the longer you are exposed to conditions. So consider breaking up a 70 minute run into a 45 minute run in the morning and a 25 minute run in the evening… or a 50 minute run into a 30 minute run and a 20 minute run. Especially when we hit triple-digit temperature days (or over 37 degrees Celsius for my non-American friends) the elements are unforgiving.

6. Recover, Recover, Recover

The best way to be ready to run tomorrow is to start preparing after your run today. Remember the recovery window; electrolyte drink within 15 minutes post-run, recovery drink (plus 100-300 calories) 15–30 minutes post-run, a proper meal within 90 minutes post run and hydrating relentlessly during this period.

Would you add anything else to this checklist? How have you been handling your ability to run in hot weather so far?

Happy Running! Charge On!

Take on the summer heat with Charge Running! Get live, personalized coaching throughout the hot days to keep you on track with your running goals!