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 nearly 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 has been a National Coach with Team Challenge since the program's inception, and has served as Run Coach for Team Long Island since 2008. His interest in Team Challenge was sparked by his personal connection to CCFA's mission - his wife, Loretta, has colitis.
Coach Ken combines extensive personal experience in endurance events with a fun and balanced attitude towards training and fitness. He has been a part of Team Challenge since 2011 and has coached both our half marathon and triathlon seasons. In addition to coaching our National Triathlon Team, Ken also serves as the Head Coach for our Northern California team. He is a valued member of the Team Challenge family! He began his impressive athletic career as a tennis player turned runner and triathlete. He began running in 1998 and has completed six marathons, ten half marathons, six Ironman triathlons, and numerous other athletic events since then.
He is a certified personal trainer (American College of Sports Medicine) with experience coaching athletes of all skill levels and has a positive, energetic attitude towards fitness. He also recently received his Road Runners Club of America "Run Coach" Certification and is a USA Triathlon-certified Level 1 triathlon coach. Ken has a passion for helping athletes reach their fitness goals and is excited to help you cross the finish line for a cure!
Team Challenge National Cycling Coach Marc Blandin is an avid runner and cyclist with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education with a concentration in coaching.
Marc has competed in many bike rides and races including a number of century rides over the last fifteen years. He has also run more than thirty-five marathons including Boston, New York, and London. Additionally, he has raced in a number of duathlons and ultra-relays.
For many years, Marc was a personal trainer working with celebrities, athletes, and clients whose skills ranged from beginner to professional. During the past ten years, he has combined his passion for volunteer work with his passion for exercise, serving as race director for a local road race as well as a triathlon.
Marc first became involved with Team Challenge as a running coach with the New England Chapter in 2010, and has served as the Cycle coach since 2012. Marc loves training cyclists of all ages and abilities, and is always excited to be coaching with CCFA.
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.