Enter local coach bio and photo.
Team Challenge National Head Coach Dave’s OcTOBER TIP
If you're planning on running or walking a summer half-marathon, the time to start training is NOW! The most important thing you'll need to get started is a good pair of training shoes, and the most important feature of a running or walking shoe is how it fits YOUR foot. Don't worry what the Olympic Champion wears, and don't think about what color the shoe is; the only things that matter are how the shoes fit on your feet and how they fit your personal biomechanics. (Of course if the shoes fit your personal biomechanical needs AND come in Team Challenge orange and blue, well that wouldn't be a bad thing!)
Although you may be able to find good deals online, try to get to a good local running/walking specialty store since you'll want to get a good fitting. The selection of shoes is more geared toward goal-oriented walkers and runners (like YOU!) and the staff are trained to fit you in the perfect shoes for your needs.
Runners World has a great specialty shoe store locator at: http://www.runnersworld.com/store-finder
Although every foot is unique, there are three basic foot types: Walkers or runners can be "supinators" who stay more or less on the outer (lateral) edge of the foot; "pronators" who roll dramatically inward (medially) on the foot; and runners or walkers with "neutral" feet. Wearing the wrong shoes can lead to discomfort and injuries, so let a professional pick out some appropriate shoes for your anatomy and biomechanics.
If finances allow, it's not a bad idea to pick up a couple of pair of running/walking shoes. It takes about 48 hours for the foam in the shoes' midsoles to fully rebound, so if you're running or walking every day, or nearly so, the midsoles will wear out much faster if you only have one pair. In addition, by wearing different shoes (especially if they are different models/brands) you will strengthen slightly different muscle fibers and will be less prone to over-use injuries.
Many people have the wrong ides about "breaking in" a new pair of shoes. In reality what you need to do is break in your feet (and knees and hips) to the shoes, not the other way around. Especially if the new shoes are very different from your old shoes, you will need to strengthen very specific micro-muscle fibers by wearing the shoes a few miles at a time at first, and by being especially careful when doing hills, speed, or any other faster training in the new shoes.
Happy feet = happy training!
--Dave McGovern, Team Challenge National Head Coach
Team Challenge National Head Coach Dave’s FAQ
Q: I’m not currently running or walking more than a mile or two at a time a few days per week. How will I be able to finish a half-marathon?
A: Your coach will design a program for you based on your current level of fitness, whatever it may be. You’ll gradually build your mileage over the course of the coming months until you can walk or run (or with a combination of walking and running) a ten-mile workout. From there, well over 99% of our participants complete their half-marathons.
Q: What kind of shoes do I need?
A: Everyone has different feet and biomechanics. The staff at your local running/walking specialty store will be able to fit you for these needs, as well as your mileage level, and the surfaces on which you train. To find a local specialty store, head to www.runnersworld.com/store-finder
Q: What’s a “GU”?!
A: “Gu” and other sports gels (PowerGels, Cliff Shots, Hammer Gels, etc.) are concentrated forms of carbohydrate about the consistency of honey. They are an alternative to sports drinks and are designed to provide athletes with energy for endurance activities. Each gel contains about 100- 110 of concentrated carbohydrate. Many half-marathons will provide gels in the later stages (around mile 10) to give runners and walkers an energy boost for the last few miles. Although they are generally pretty easy on the stomach, especially when taken with water, it’s always a good idea to try gels several times in training first before using them on race day.
Q: I had to miss three days of training. How do I make up the lost days?
A: You don’t! If you’ve missed anything less than a full week of training, just jump right back into the schedule. If you missed more than a week, talk to your coach about modifying your schedule to get you back on track.
Q: My fingers swell during my training walks. What’s going on?
A: Your heart beats harder and faster when you train, so blood is sent more forcefully to the extremities. Muscle action helps to return blood back to the heart, but many walkers don’t pump their arms very much when they walk (they should!), so blood pools in the fingers. Swollen fingers are more common with changes in temperature, during pregnancy, and when electrolytes are out of whack. Clenching and unclenching your hands, or shaking them over your head will help to pump the blood out of your swollen fingers.