Mike is taking on his 3rd season as our Team Challenge run coach. Mike is a CCFA certified run coach and has completed a variety of races during the last 17 years. Running became part of Mike's life during high school where he competed in distance events and cross country. Having run on nearly every local trail, he is always eager to share his running experiences with members of the Team Challenge program. Ready and willing to meet nearly anywhere for a training or leisurely run, you’ll see that Mike support and knowledge is endless. Mike’s coaching motivation comes from meeting participants for the first time, hearing them say they can't run 13 miles and then watching those same people crossing the finish line happy and healthy with a smile on their faces. Whether you are a beginner or avid runner looking for something new, Mike will help you reach your running goals and challenge you to achieve your personal best.
Leigh is joining us for her 5th season as our Walk Coach. Not only has she changed the lives of many participants looking to complete 13.1 miles, she has completed 16 Team Challenge events herself! As a veteran of Team Challenge, Leigh is there to cheer, support and help you walk your way across the finish line. As well, Leigh understands what it’s like to train with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), she was diagnosed about 14 years ago with ulcerative colitis. In Vegas 2011, Leigh was recognized for her outstanding efforts and awarded the National Team Challenge “McCready-Adams Most Inspiring Fundraiser Award”! There are no words to describe how much Leigh loves being a part of the incredible Team Challenge team! Leigh’s motivation to find cures and support others will inspire you as you complete your journey.
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.