A 3-Day Insider’s Take on Stretching

I’m here to talk a little bit about stretching on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, but first things first: I am not a doctor, a physical therapist or an athletic trainer. There are important health benefits related to stretching, which you should discuss with your practitioner before taking on the Komen 3-Day. But for today, one walker to another, I’d like to offer my take on the importance and benefits of stretching on the 3-Day®.

Susan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer walk stretching

It’s Simple

Atlanta 3-Day Day 1

The first benefit is the simplest: when your muscles are aching and working to the max, stretching feels good. Why wouldn’t you want to do something that makes you feel better?

This Isn’t a Race, People!Susan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer walk stretch

I’ve never run a marathon, but I know that for most long distance runners, the objective is to finish with a good time, without stopping. For athletes striving toward that goal, stretching is something they will focus on before and after their event, but probably not during. The 3-Day® is different. It’s not a race, no one is being timed, and not only is it okay to stop in the middle, the route is designed in a way that encourages stopping. Those pit stops are there for a reason—well, lots of reasons—and one of them is stretching.

Savor the Stops

Komen_3Day_breast_cancer_blog_stretching_walking_team

Stretch break and photo op. Boom. Two birds.

Taking good, thorough stretches at pit stops and the lunch stop is a no-brainer. But you can work stretching in throughout your walk, even if you’re not at an official route stop. For starters, you can stop any old time you want, as long as it’s done safely, and in a way that doesn’t inconvenience or endanger other walkers. Stoplights are awesome for this. You can even stretch while you walk, by changing up the length of your stride (think long, lunging steps), putting some emphasized swagger in your hips, or stretching your arms, shoulders and neck as your feet and legs do their thing.

Seriously. Stretch Because You CANAtlanta 3-Day Day 2

I’m a fast walker. It’s just the pace I’m comfortable with, and I like to crank through the miles quickly. I’ll be honest: I have been guilty of neglecting those stretching breaks in favor of keeping my pace up. But trust me when I say that I pay the price for skipping the stretches. The 3-Day’s recommendation is that you stretch at least 5 minutes for every hour you walk. Take the time to do that, even if you don’t feel sore while you’re walking. Your body will thank you for it in the morning.

Be Kind to Your Hard-Working BodySusan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer walk stretch

Walking 20 miles a day is something that most Americans in 2014 are not accustomed to doing. Hopefully, by the time you get to the 3-Day, you’ve trained well to build up your body’s stamina and strength, but regardless of how much training you’ve done, 60 miles in three days will take a toll on you. Stretching is a simple measure you can take to reduce the strain and pain of such a long stroll, and speed your recovery when the walk is over.

 

3-Day walkers, you can find an extensive stretching guide on page 11 of your Training Handbook, found in your Participant Center. What are your favorite go-to stretches? Tell us in comments!

 

 

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 TRAINING FOR THE KOMEN 3-DAY OR ANY ATHLETIC EVENT, YOU SHOULD FIRST CONSULT A PHYSICIAN AND HAVE A PHYSICAL EXAMINATION.

3-Day Participant Center –Tools for Connecting

Whether you’re participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® as a fresh-faced first-timer or a wily veteran, your Participant Center on the Komen 3-Day website is packed with resources to help you prepare for your 3-Day® journey.

I could fill a dozen blog posts going into detail about all of the nifty tools on the Participant Center, which empower you in your fundraising, training and event preparation, but for today, I just want to focus on a few that will help you connect with your fellow walkers and crew members. The first two resources below can be found under the “Connect” header in the left-side navigation menu on your Participant Center homepage:

komen_3Day_participant center_connect
Message Boards – Do you have a question that you want to ask your fellow walkers or crew members? Are you curious about other walkers’ reasons for getting involved in the 3-Day? Are you looking for creative fundraising ideas? The Message Boards are a great place to post your questions or comments where other 3-Dayers will see them. The boards are divided up by 3-Day location, and then further divided into categories, making it easy to navigate the postings.

Komen_3Day_participant center_message boards

Friend Finder – The 3-Day Friend Finder an online database that registered participants can search to find other walkers or crew members in their area. You search the Friend Finder by zip code, and can also filter the results with other criteria, such as walking speed or gender, and if you’re looking for a team to join, you can also sort the results to find team captains with open teams. Participants don’t show up in the Friend Finder search until they’ve visited the Friend Finder page for the first time (and have checked “I am willing to share my contact information…” in their profile) so if you’re registered for the 3-Day, be sure update your Friend Finder profile so people can find you too!

komen_3Day_participant center_friend finder

Training Walk Calendar – So you’ve connected with your fellow walkers online and now you’re ready to hit the pavement and train with them. Under the “Train” heading on the left-side menu, registered participants can access the training walk calendar. This is another list that’s sortable by zip code, making it easy to find walks that are close to you. Training walks are also a wonderful place to meet new 3-Day friends.

Komen_3Day_participant center_training walk calendar

Your Participant Center is packed with amazing resources, so take some time to log in and explore! If you ever need help finding something you’re looking for, the coaches are ready to point you in the right direction. Give them a call at 800-996-3DAY!

Dressing for Success on the 3-Day

Choosing what to wear on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® can be a big decision. Keep some important tips in mind when deciding on your duds.

Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 3 to find a cure for breast cancer.

Looking good, feeling good!

Comfort First – For many walkers, the Komen 3-Day is a chance to show their amazing enthusiasm with costumes, team t-shirts or matching outfits. We love seeing you strut your 3-Day spirit, but we strongly advise you to consider comfort before flair. Even if you’re speedy, walking 20 miles will take you, at minimum, 5-6 hours and even longer if your pace is slower. Don’t dress in something that you won’t be comfortable wearing for the long haul. (If you want some inspiration for costumes, whether you’re looking for creativity or comfort, check out our “Best Dressed” Pinterest board!)

Layers, Layers, Layers – Each day of walking will start quite early in the morning, when it still may be chilly out. You will warm up quickly once you start moving, but we recommend that you cover yourself in layers that are easy to remove when your core temperature starts to rise. If a cold snap happens to hit during your 3-Day, you can certainly bundle yourself up a little more, but don’t wear more than you’d be willing to carry once it comes off.

Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 2 to find a cure for breast cancer.

Keeping cool with layers

Not in Cotton – This cozy fabric is great for a PJs or a t-shirt to lounge around camp in, but when it comes to walking, cotton is not always the best choice, especially if you sweat a lot. Clothing made of 100% cotton absorbs moisture and holds it, so if it’s particularly hot and you’re perspiring, your comfy cotton will get wet and heavy quickly. Damp clothing leads to uncomfortable friction against your skin, which leads to chafing (no fun to talk about, and even less fun to experience) and blisters.

Get Wicked – You can keep yourself as dry and comfy as possible by wearing clothing made with moisture-wicking materials. These synthetic fabrics draw moisture away from your body ( “wick” it away) and towards the exterior of the garment, which, for reasons mentioned above, is much better than having that dampness right next to your skin. Look for clothes that are a polyester blend, or check the tags for “moisture wicking” descriptions.

Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 2 to find a cure for breast cancer.

Comfort and style can live happily together on the 3-Day!

Splurge on Socks – Take care in choosing all of your 3-Day apparel, but if you can only focus on one item, make it your socks. Get socks that fit your feet snugly, but still allow you to wiggle your toes. If you like short ankle socks, make sure they’re not so short that they slip down into your shoes when you move. And absolutely heed the above advice about which fabrics to choose. You’ll also want to bring extra socks, so you can change into a fresh, clean pair at mid-day each day.

Test Your Threads – Training is an essential practice for getting your body ready to walk all those miles, but it’s also a great opportunity for you to “test drive” what you plan to wear on the 3-Day. Narrow down your attire choices early on, and then train in them. If that cute pink top you picked up bleeds color, or those knee socks make your legs itch, or the shorts you love for tennis tend to…ahem…bunch up, you’ll want to know that before you realize you’re stuck in them for another 18 miles.

3-Day walkers: What’s been your favorite piece of clothing or gear to wear on the 3-Day? Let us know in the comments.