Daphnie Yang, a native of San Francisco, California has been living in New York City and loving it for the past ten years. Exercise and fitness have always been a huge part of her life; growing up there wasn't a sport she didn't play or an activity she didn't do. She started dancing at age 3, playing soccer at age 8, and then her life changed at age 13 when she discovered running and fell in love. She developed an appreciation for running and living healthfully at an early age, because frankly, she loved how awesome it made her feel.
Upon graduating from New York University in 2007, she decided to turn her passion for health, fitness and running into her career and devoted her life to helping others achieve their fitness goals. She became an International Sports Sciences Association Certified Personal Trainer and Run Coach upon graduation and has been taking the New York City fitness scene by storm ever since, quickly becoming one of the most sought after trainers/race coaches in Manhattan. Daphnie founded the private personal training company Defined by Daphnie and created the popular HIIT IT! High Intensity Interval Training workout. Daphnie has helped countless people reach their running goals and incorporate balance and wellness into their day to day lives. She herself has run countless half marathons and marathons all over the country. Daphnie is looking forward to coaching the Team Challenge runners for the second season in a row. There are no words to describe how much she loves being a part of the incredible Team Challenge team!
Stuart grew up in England, came to the United States at the age of 18 and has been living in New York City for 2 years. He grew up playing golf, soccer and many other sports that helped teach the importance of exercise plays in an active lifestyle. He chose golf as his main sport growing up, going on to represent his country at the junior level and receiving a scholarship to play at the NCAA division 1 level. Playing golf at the highest amateur level showed him the dedication one needs to reach their goals in their chosen sport and now he has made it his mission to help runners all over the New York City area be the best they can be. In 2006, he was diagnosed with Crohns. This greatly impacted his collegiate career and showed hm how the disease can affect even the healthiest of athletes. Since his diagnosis he has been through multiple courses of almost every drug known to help Crohns, but saw no long term cure. After the last does of medication left him in the hospital, he was admitted and went through surgery in 2010. After the surgery he found the CCFA, and discovered the benefits running can have on the body and in keeping symptoms under control. Since December 2010 he has completed 3 Team Challenge seasons, first as a participant and then two as a mentor. Now he is the Assistant Coach and will be helping every single participant train and cross the finish line.
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.