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. 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 races, 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 complete the Napa and Kona half marathons in 2013!
Coach Anna is a superstar athlete-turned-coach! She competed on her college cross country and track team, where she was All-Conference, All-Regional and set TWO school records (in the mile run and distance-medley relay). She has run two full marathons, two half marathons, the Keys 100 endurance relay, and countless 5Ks, 8Ks, and 10Ks. Her coaching experience includes a girls' running club, middle school running club, and position as camp counselor for a cross country camp.
In addition to her already stellar experience, she participated in Team Challenge's triathlon program as a fundraising participant this past summer and successfully completed the San Diego Rock'n'Roll Sprint Triathlon. She lives in San Jose, works as a teacher, and her favorite running spot is Alum Rock Park. You'll find her rockin' out most days to Fleetwood Mac, her favorite band. And if you're not sure you're at the right training spot, just look for her bright blue car, nicknamed "Blue Slushie."
Stress + Rest = Success. Hard work is important, but it’s the rest after that work that allows your body to rebuild and adapt itself into a fitter, faster you! In addition to getting enough sleep every night, do everything you can to enhance recovery. Eating enough carbs (and some protein) after workouts, drinking enough water, immersing or showering your legs with cold water for a few minutes after workouts, and treating yourself to an occasional (or more frequent!) massage are all ways to enhance recovery.
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.