Coach Melissa Daiello is back to coach her third season with Team Challenge Connecticut! She has been running avidly for over 7 years and loves the atmosphere that surrounds all races, especially local races. She has learned that the best part of a race is the journey; taking a look around and enjoying the run and the people around you! Coach Melissa has had Crohns for most of her adult life and her sister has UC as well. Last year, she was grateful to be able to run as a participant with the amazing Team Challenge CT team at the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon and then went on to train our incredible Las Vegas team this past fall. Coach Melissa is ready to listen, motivate and encourage everyone to the finish line and is so excited to be working with TC this season! Coach Melissa lives in South Windsor with her husband, rescue dog and 3 rescue cats. She is working toward her Masters in Environmental Science and can be found regularly at the gym.
Jessica is thrilled to return to Team Challenge Connecticut for her fourth season as a coach! She has been running for over 5 years, and has completed 4 full marathons and over 12 half marathons. She joined Team Challenge Connecticut for the inaugural season in winter 2011 and has helped two amazing teams of participants reach their goals in Vegas and Napa. She is so excited to be back this season with an amazing group of runners, walkers and mentors. Jessica loves encouraging and motivating both new and experienced runners and walkers, and is always amazed at the incredible achievements of all of her team members! Jessica is a doctoral student in audiology at UConn, and will be starting her residency in June. She lives in East Hartford with her husband and their dogs, who are great running partners! Besides running, she enjoys yoga and acrobatics.
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!)
Happy feet = happy training!
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.