Reddhead Spotlight: Alyssa Vassallo

a woman on the move

Alyssa Vassallo is an inspiration to us all. She’s a long distance runner, and not just any distance runner – she’s a member of the Saucony elite team and an Olympic hopeful. When she’s not putting everyone to shame on the track, she’s a soon-to-be medical student, a blogger, and a devotee of healthy living. Naturally, she’s also a Reddhead, a member of our team of awesome ambassadors who help spread the Redd in their communities. We love Alyssa’s hardworking spirit and her love for life, two things we value at Redd. We asked her a few questions so that you could get to know her, too.reddhead alyssa vassallo

Alyssa, you’re a busy lady with an active lifestyle. Could you tell us what a typical day is like for you?

Yes, I am constantly on the go! I generally start my day around 6:30AM. I make breakfast and prep my lunch, making sure to give myself enough time to digest before my morning workout. I start training around 8:30AM and go for anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes including warm up, cool down, stretching, and core. After a recovery snack, I head to the chiropractor three days a week to get some soft tissue work and electric stimulation – all to help with recovery and preventing injury. The other two days, I work on strength with a myriad of stabilization exercises. After a nutritious and hearty lunch, I head off to work. When I finally get home, it’s time for dinner followed by some foam rolling and other stretches while maybe watching a show on TV.

With all that going on, how do you find the time to fit a well-balanced diet into your schedule?

I find meal-prepping extremely critical. I know that I won’t have time to go home and cook lunch before starting work so I cook my lunch in the morning. I find it super easy to throw lots of veggies into the frying pan with some protein (either chicken, fish, lentils, or beans). I prepare snacks ahead of time as well. For my afternoon snack, I usually have a Redd bar and an apple! Dinner can also be made easy if I make large quantities and portion them to last a few days.

Recently, you’ve suffered an injury that has kept you from the sport you love. How do you maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity?

This is definitely not easy and I struggled with it immensely in the beginning. I found it important to define myself outside of my sport. It was a time to reflect and focus on my future career as a physician. I also found ways to give back to my sport. Rather than training, I starting coaching Girls on the Run and being a larger force in the running community. A major key to maintaining positivity was looking at why my injury occurred and what I could do going forward to prevent it. Then I created a plan to prevent that hopeless, surrendering feeling from creeping into my thoughts!

What’s your favorite Redd flavor?

It depends on the day!! It’s between mint chocolate and peanut butter – I really can’t choose!

Most importantly: is the runner’s high real?

The runner’s high is REALLY real, but I think it comes with any form of exercise/training. Even when I am cross-training, I feel it. Once I am about fifteen minutes into a workout, time seems to fly by! I think the runner’s high has a lot to do with perspective and mentality because everyone experiences it differently. If you psych yourself up enough, you can exacerbate the “high” even more!