Team Challenge – 2011 Napa to Sonoma #2

Group Training #2

Team Challenge Group Practice #2
3 miles on the schedule
(4 miles for those doing Kona)
Start time: 8:00 AM

Last week when we started our training it was 44 degrees outside (according to my car’s temperature reading). This week is was 72 degrees! Exact same start time! I wish we could have a little more gradual transition here… but Spring is shifty. You can never count on anything with the weather.

The team has now raised over $21,000 this season. We’re well on our way to our team’s goal of $100,000. One of our mentors is over $4000 already. We’ve got some really gung-ho people when it comes to fundraising. Of course, we also have a large share of those who are intimidated and overwhelmed by this prospect. The mentors and our endurance manager just keep doing their best to reassure the team members that they can make it.

As for us coaches? We have to keep reassuring them that we’ll get them safely across the finish line. Each week we introduce different dynamic warm-up moves, with the explanation that everybody is their own experiment… they need to figure out what works for them. Some warm-up moves won’t work for someone while others will be perfect… they just need to keep experimenting to find out what works for them as an individual.

Also in terms of experimenting? Nutrition… we had a master nutritionist (Aimee, who was one of our participants last season) talk to the group about nutrition. She did a really good job, but again the standard message is that everybody needs to start experimenting right from the start. They need to figure out what is their go-to pre-training fuel, what drinks they can tolerate, what post-run recovery food they can stomach, etc. Aimee has donated several nutrition sessions to the team, so we can raffle them off as prizes at various activities. Everybody always seems very interested in the nutrition information, and it’s good to have the advice come from other people than the coaches, I think they would start to tune us out if we spoke all the time. (I think some of them tune us out anyway!)

Most of the group did pretty well with the training this week. Coach Jimmy offered to time some of the advanced runners on a mile so they can see where they stand. I lead a group on a walk/run pattern (1 minute run, 4 minutes walk). We have a pretty large contingency of walkers that would like to be able to transition into running, so we’re taking it slow since they also have mileage increases to contend with. After a couple weeks we’ll evaluate how everyone is feeling/doing and see about moving to a 2/3 interval. I’m really pleased with the implementation of this plan as it seems to pull everyone into more of a group as opposed to just a bunch of individuals out there covering the same course. I hope we can keep it going, I’d like to see everyone improve AND make friends with others on the team.

Next Saturday we have an increase in mileage as well as an earlier start time, moving to 7:00 AM.

I am coaching a group of runners for the organization Team Challenge. They are fundraising for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America while training to run the 2011 Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon in July.


  1. We will definitely have to find each other at this race. I understand it’s not a huge field!

    Nutrition is a very important part of training. One of my friends (Elsie) has been having all sorts of digestive issues during our long runs. I am convinced it’s due to her pre-race fueling.

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