4 Secrets to Successful Stretching

Jon L. is the Crew/Volunteer Coordinator for the Seattle 3-Day, but when he’s not working to support Seattle crew members, he’s also a long-distance runner with years of experience hitting the pavement. Jon agreed to be our guest blogger this week, to talk about the importance of stretching.

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Coach Jon

You can safely assume that walking for three days, let alone three days that carry you 60 miles, will take a toll on one’s body. While it may seem like “just walking” to some, those who have done the 3-Day can certainly tell you it’s much more. There is a lot of time spent on your feet, which the majority of the general population is not used to. The pounding you get from walking on mostly hard surfaces, like sidewalks, can be tough on your muscles and joints. Throw in a couple of hills, and it could be a recipe for leg soreness. One of the most elegant and efficient ways to combat this stress on your body is by stretching.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer 60 mile walk blog training stretching

Here are some basic tips to help you get the most out of your next batch of stretching:

  • Ease into your stretching routine – One of the biggest mistakes in developing a stretching routine for yourself, especially early on, is stretching too much, too soon. Your muscles have a baseline level of flexibility, which is determined based on how much the muscles are used and how much they have been cared for. If you overstretch—by stretching for too long or by pulling your muscles beyond their capacity—you can end up doing more harm than good.
  • No BOUNCING! – When stretching any muscle, you want to make sure you make unrushed, smooth and deliberate transitions. This allows your muscles to adapt slowly to the new sensation of being stretched. If you bounce, it adds quick and intense stress to your muscles, which could lead to pulls and strains. Remember, we’re trying to help your muscles, not add to their misery.
  • Find your breath – An important but often overlooked aspect of stretching is breathing. One of the best ways to help your muscles recover is by getting them nice clean oxygen. So make sure you remember to breathe, slowly and deeply, while you stretch to keep the fresh oxygen flowing.
  • Focus – Pay attention to the muscle that you are trying to stretch. This will help prevent overstretching, while allowing you to focus on helping that specific muscle to feel a little less sore. It also gives you time to remember that all-important breathing.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer 60 mile walk blog training stretching

Remember, stretching is not a cure-all for muscle soreness. It is just one stepping stone in injury prevention. It does not replace consistent training and recovery, it simply allows you to get back to training with muscles that are looser and more responsive. If you feel like you are injured, or that you are developing an injury, please see you doctor right away.

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PLEASE NOTE: THE HEALTH, SAFETY AND TRAINING INFORMATION PROVIDED TO YOU IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THE SUSAN G. KOMEN 3-DAY IS NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE OR BE CONSTRUED AS MEDICAL ADVICE AND ANY SUCH INFORMATION IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR SEEKING MEDICAL ADVICE OR TREATMENT FROM YOUR MEDICAL PROVIDER. BEFORE STARTING ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM OR FOLLOWING ANY RECOMMENDATIONS, ADVICE OR OTHER INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING

Fundraising Strategy: Mark Your Calendars!

Susan G. Komen 3-Day® coach Eileen is our guest blogger today, and she’s here to share some great ideas about how to use the year’s calendar to inspire and invigorate your Komen 3-Day fundraising!

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles coach eileen fundraising

Coach Eileen

Every good 3-Day® fundraising plan has a start date and a goal date. Once you’ve got those two big dates marked on your calendar, highlight the best times to ask for donations.

Your birthday is a perfect day to reach out to your friends and family to request donations (who’s going to say no to you on your birthday?). You can ask for a donation in lieu of presents or use your birthday to launch a fun Facebook challenge: see how many of your Facebook Friends will become your “Birthday Buddy” by donating to your fundraising. If you’re feeling brave, share your age and ask for donations in that amount, because a donation request is more effective when you ask for a specific amount.

One great day to focus your fundraising around is April 15th. This is a date that many of us reorganize our finances and do some preliminary tax planning for the upcoming year. What better time to ask for a donation than right before the tax deadline, when tax returns are still fresh on the minds of your donors? Remind them that their donations to the 3-Day are 100% tax deductible.

May is another good month for a fundraising push. Is there a better way to honor and remember our moms than with a donation to support breast cancer research on Mother’s Day? Remind donors that each donation helps bring us closer to a cure and to a world without breast cancer. Doesn’t that beat another house plant?susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles calendar fundraising

One of the best times of the year to ask for donations is from mid-November through December. There are a number of reasons for this. First, it is the time of year when we feel most generous as we contemplate our personal blessings. The holiday season inspires us to help those less fortunate than us. And of course, there’s that tax thing; December 31st is the biggest donation day of the year, and it is also the last day a donation can be made for a tax deduction. Coincidence? I think not. Although we’ve just passed this season a few months ago, keep this in mind for next year’s 3-Day fundraising.

There are ample fundraising opportunities to be found in each and every month. Use your calendar to look ahead to upcoming holidays/events and use those to help plan a fundraiser.

For example:

  • January – Super Bowl Party (ok- technically this is in February, but you will need to start planning in January)
  • February – Valentine’s Day gift basket sales
  • March – March Madness Brackets
  • April – Easter egg hunt
  • May – Kentucky Derby party
  • June – Car wash
  • July – Fourth of July BBQ
  • August – Back to school garage sale
  • September – Chili cook off
  • October- Halloween/costume party
  • November – Turkey Trot
  • December – Christmas center piece sales

As you can see, your calendar can be a helpful fundraising tool. Choosing a date to start your fundraising, and setting smaller goals along the way, then setting in motion the plans needed to execute your strategy will help ensure that you are successful.

Equally important is choosing a fundraising completion date. This will give you a goal to strive for and will help keep your fundraising front and central. Coach’s tip: choose a fundraising goal date six to eight weeks before your event. This will allow for a little extra time should you need it (no reason for undue stress!).

Of course, if you would like some advice with your fundraising or need an assist setting up a fundraising plan, be sure to give your coach a call at 800-996-3DAY. We’ve been in your shoes before, fundraising for the 3-Day as walkers or crew members, and we’re always happy to help!

Thanks, Eileen! And remember, the Participant Center on the 3-Day website is chock full of fundraising tools and resources, too!

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Coaches’ Favorite Moments from 2014 – Part 2

Every one of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® coaches has countless inspiring and moving interactions with our amazing Komen 3-Day walkers and crew members. I asked them to relive some of their most touching memories from the 2014 3-Day® season (see Part 1 of these favorite moments here).

Aubrey Cushing (Seattle Local Events Coach) – The 2014 3-Day season as a whole is one I will hold very close to my heart forever. The opportunity to be on staff in 5 of the 7 events lent me ample opportunities to interact with the world’s most caring bunch of people. I never forget how rare it is to be so enamored with the work you do, and what I get to do is one of my life’s treasures. Of course, it was wonderful to see all of the hard work come together for the Seattle event this year, and I’m still hearing about how much fun people had. That feels magnificent because it shows we were in tune with what people would like, and that’s priceless. The crew teams I got to work with were fantastic, but pit stop 2 in Dallas was the highlight of my staffing events outside of Seattle. I feel very blessed to have seen so much beauty in a world that can sometimes be full of negative things. In the words of Sinead O’Connor, 2014 3-Day season, “Nothing compares to you!”Aubrey_DFW

Jen Haber (Philadelphia Participant Coach) – The person who most inspired me this season was Janet D., who was our #2 fundraiser this year in Philly. Janet is 31 years old and was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in January of 2014. She spent the entire year in treatment and training/fundraising for the 3-Day. She walked with her sisters and best friends. When we spoke on the phone at one point in the season, she was telling me about the treatment she was going through and how (of course) it made training more of a challenge, she also made a point to tell me how much the 3-Day had been a huge source of inspiration for her. It made me feel so good that she was so focused on doing something positive while going through something so incredibly difficult. Since I wasn’t working at the Philly event, I’m so sad I didn’t get the chance to meet her in person but she and her team are signed up again for next year. Hooray!2015 personal page_Janet

Kim Collings (San Diego Local Events Coach) – A young first-time walker came to me during a Walk & Talk earlier in the year, almost in tears thinking there was no way she would ever be able to raise $2300. After a nice conversation about different fundraising ideas, she went home and tried a few different things that we chatted about. She ended up raising $5050! There was another special moment watching a mother and daughter at the Closing Ceremony. The daughter is stage 4 and it has metastasized in to her spine. The mother said in her ceremonies speech, “I am walking so my daughter can live.”

Jennifer Hanskat (Michigan Participant Coach) – One of my favorite moments came in Michigan where I finally got to meet all of the full-series walkers (the eight people who walked in every 3-Day event this year) for the first time and putting faces to the names.  I had been working with these amazing walkers over months of email and phone communication, and it was nice to meet everyone face-to-face.hanskat and series walkers

I worked at pit stops on the route for Atlanta and Dallas/Fort Worth, crewed with my mom and my aunt in Twin Cities (we’re three peas in a pod, and wherever we go and whatever we do, we have a blast), and walked in Philadelphia. Even though I hit my head after nasty spill on the rainy sidewalk in Philly, it was still one of my favorite events because I was walking with my husband.  For the majority of the weekend, it was just the two of us, walking and talking.  No big team, very few shenanigans (which is unusual for me!), just low-key time on the 3-Day with my hubby.

Molly Fast (Local Operations Director) – The moment that sticks out to me the most was from the Twin Cities 3-Day where I met Anna, a walker who turned 21 on the event and was walking with her sister Carley, in honor of their mother. Their mom was a longtime 3-Day participant who was home at the end stages of breast cancer. Anna and Carley’s mom passed away about an hour after they made it home from the Closing Ceremony. It was heartbreaking but so beautiful.

Stephanie Winkel (Twin Cities Local Events Coach) – I met Sandy at one of my very last Get Started Meetings of the season, just 3 months shy of the Twin Cities 3-Day. She was brand new to the 3-Day and she brought her husband along with her to see what the 3-Day was all about. It was at this meeting that I learned about Sandy’s inspiration for walking: her best friend’s daughter-in-law, Alison, a beautiful young woman, who at just 30 years old had begun the third year of her fierce and courageous battle with breast cancer.  The love and support of her two small children, husband, family, friends and community had been an inspiration for Sandy to witness. Though this family lived quite a distance away, Sandy felt the need to do something to show her love and support for not only this family but others currently battling breast cancer. After learning about the 3-Day, Sandy did go home and register.

I followed up with Sandy after our event to see how she enjoyed her first 3-Day. She replied, “The 3-Day experience was beyond my wildest dreams.  It was a ‘calling’ that I was compelled to take up, and was truly life-changing.  I needed to be a part of something that made a difference.  I definitely found that, and so much more. My reason for walking was to raise positive energy and funds that in combination would lead to a miracle for her and others.” I was thrilled to learn at this time that Alison, Sandy’s inspiration for walking, is now in remission and beginning to get back to life with her husband and two children. Sandy, in the meantime, will continue her efforts of bringing hope and healing to others by joining us again in 2015!