Northern California - Head Coach for Bass Lake Tri, Kona, Napa, and National Team Tri
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. This season he takes the lead as Head Coach for our Summer 14 Nor Cal Half Marathon and Triathlon teams as well as the National Tri Team. Coach Ken 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!
Northern California - Asst. Coach for Bass Lake Tri, Kona, and Napa
Norm hails from the Great White North. He was born and raised in Toronto, ON and like most Canadian kids, grew up playing hockey, eventually playing for the University of Toronto and Queen's University. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of crossover between hockey and triathlon. After moving to the Bay Area in 1999, Norm started cross training and did his first ever triathlon, Wildflower Olympic, in May 2005. Now entering his 10th season, Norm has completed triathlons at all distances, including 6 Ironman, 15 Half Ironman, 6 Olympic, and 4 Sprint distance events, plus races in each of the individual disciplines.
Coaching has always been a part of Norm's athletic career. He started coaching at 16, helping his Dad with a local hockey team and has coached up to the University level. Norm holds an NCCP Level 3 Coaching Certification (Canadian). Norm's favourite part about coaching is being part of a team. One learns an incredible amount about people in team environments and even though triathlon is an "individual" sport, it's the people that make the journey worthwhile. Being a part of people accomplishing goals they didn't think were possible is unbelievably rewarding.
Finally, Norm has a very personal connection to Crohn's disease. His mother was diagnosed with Crohn's in her early 30's and while it was not the ultimate reason for her passing, Crohn's was a constant challenge in her life and made treatment of her other ailments much more difficult. Norm would very much like to see the end of this devastating disease and is excited to contribute to the cure as a coach this season.
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.