Doing a Breast Cancer Walk? Here’s How to Prepare
Supporting a cause like breast cancer research isn’t a hard decision, but actually signing up to walk roughly 60 miles in three days is much more daunting. Thankfully, there are many steps between when you first register and when you cross the finish line to help make the experience more enjoyable and rewarding.
Before you sign up for a walk, you should do some research. Here are three of the most popular walks you can participate in:
- The largest of them all is the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, where participants walk 60 miles over three days, staying overnight in camp sites or hotels. Michigan is hosting an event August 7-9, 2015, in Detroit.
- Avon Foundation’s Walk for Breast Cancer involves walking 39 miles in two days to support breast cancer research and prevention. The closest event is in Chicago next June, giving you plenty of time to train properly and reach your goals.
- American Cancer Society’s Making Strides for Breast Cancer has events across the country, with 14 events happening in Michigan this month. These three- to five-mile walks are perfect for beginners who still want to support the cause.
Make sure you talk to your doctor and get a clean bill of health before you begin making any plans to walk in one of these events.
Once you’re registered, it’s time to focus on training and fundraising. One of the best ways to stay motivated throughout the process is to form or join a team. Most events give you the opportunity to create your own team, or join someone else’s right on the website. Having the support of a team as well as a walking buddy can make all the difference in the journey ahead.
These long walks should be treated as if you are training for a marathon. You will be walking 15 to 20 miles a day, and not preparing your body properly can cause serious injuries and soreness. Here are a few tips to help you:
- Buy supportive shoes. Your feet need to be treated well and those worn-out tennis shoes in your closet are not going to cut it for this type of training. Visit a specialty shop, like RUNdetroit, to have an expert assist you in finding the perfect walking shoe.
- Take it easy. Training for this extensive of a walk is a gradual process of strengthening muscles and joints. Most organized walks have training information and 10-week plans to help you schedule your walking workouts.
- Stay fueled. Just like a marathoner would prepare a healthier diet while training for those 26.2 miles, you should ensure you’re fueling your body with the proper nutrition so your body stays energized and is able to recover properly after each workout. Meals prior to any workout should be high in protein, carbohydrates and nutrients.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Did we say hydrate? Water is an essential element of being successful in your training process. Dehydration can diminish your energy as well as cause cramping and injuries. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and consider adding a sports drink for extra electrolytes after long walks.
Photo credit: Barbara Samuel