Loretta Schuellein- McGovern is our Team Challenge walking coach.
Loretta placed tenth in the 2008 Olympic Trials 20k racewalk, is a 2-time National Champion in the 1-mile and the 5k racewalks, and has competed in the Pan American Cup for the United States. She has used her expertise to help our walkers cross the finish line in Miami, Kona, Napa, Virginia, Boston and Las Vegas.
Loretta is a USA Track and Field Level I coach. She has served as USA Junior Team Coach and USA Junior Team Manager for the USA vs. Canada dual meet, and she has been selected as the 2013 USA Junior team coach for this meet in August. Loretta has coached Long Island's Empire State Games Racewalk Team, as well as middle school, high school, and college track teams.When not coaching or training, Loretta teaches English at Manhasset High School and raises her two sons, Cavan (3) and Liam (8 months). She is gearing up for national-level competition following a brief hiatus due to pregnancy. Loretta not only serves as a coach, but as an inspiration to us at Team Challenge Long Island. While struggling with the setbacks of colitis, she continues to challenge herself and accomplish the ambitious goals she sets, like qualifying for the Olympic Games and coaching our Team Challenge LI Walkers.
"Some hard workouts continue to bring about problems with colitis, but I am just trying to stay hydrated and do what I can. I refuse to let medical problems force me to watch others race while I sit on the sidelines."
Dave McGovern is our Team Challenge running coach. Coach Dave is a globe-trotting running and walking coach with a master's degree in sport science from the United States Sports Academy. During his competitive career Dave represented the United States on 20 USA Track & Field international teams, won 14 U.S. National Championships and competed in 7 Olympic trials--the most of any track & field athlete in any event in US history.
As a private coach, Dave has had more than a dozen athletes qualify for the United States Olympic Track & Field Trials. Dave has also coached the national team of Ghana, West Africa, and has been named to the coaching staffs of several USA Track and Field teams, most recently as the Head Coach for the US Team at the 2012 Race Walking World Cup in Saransk, Russia.
Although recognized world-wide as a top athlete and coach, Dave points to his work with Team Challenge as one of his proudest achievements. Dave is Team Challenge's National Coach, and has been Team Long Island's Run Coach since 2008. His interest in Team Challenge was sparked by his personal connection to CCFA's mission - his wife, Team Long Island's Walk Coach,Loretta McGovern, has colitis.
Below are Coach Dave’s top five tips for sticking with your new year’s resolution:
• Create one, specific goal. Whether it’s to lose a certain amount of weight, to walk or run 5-6 days per week, or to complete a 10k or half-marathon, having a specific goal is a great way to stay focused. Make sure your goals are ambitious, but attainable for you with a bit of hard work and persistence.
• Make small changes and don't overdo it. The human body is very adaptable, and it’s designed to move. The key to starting a running or walking program is to make gradual changes to your current situation. Start by walking 15-20 minutes 3-4 days per week. Gradually increase the time you walk, and if you want to run, start adding a few minutes of running at a time, interspersed with 2-3 minute walk breaks. Over time increase the duration of the running segments and decrease the time of the recovery walks.
• Track your progress in a training log. It’s a new year. Get a calendar, special book or use an online workout tracker like endomondo.com or mapmyrun.com Record your workouts every day, even if you take the day off. Track your mileage, how you feel, what you eat, how much you sleep, and anything else that has an effect on your training. Then—and this is important!—go back and read your diary from time to time! If things are going well, continue with the same plan. If you’re going through a bad patch, try to sort out what might be the cause, such as increasing your mileage too quickly, insufficient rest, poor diet, etc.
• Tell others about your goal. When family, friends and co-workers take an interest in your goal and ask how your weekend long run went; do you want to tell them you ran farther than you’ve ever gone before, or that you finished off a bag of donuts while watching the Real Housewives Marathon? Accountability keeps you honest. Social media is a great way to update friends and family of your progress.
• Make it fun! Training with others, varying your training routes, and rewarding yourself after milestone workouts are great ways to make your training more enjoyable. Finding creative ways to make your workouts fun is the key to sticking to your goal into February and beyond!
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.