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.
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.