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.

How the 3-Day Stays Green in a Pink World

All of us here at the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® work hard to create a safe yet memorable experience for our participants, from the time you register until after you take your victory walk into the Closing Ceremony. Putting on an event for thousands of participants takes a lot of preparation, and the Komen 3-Day keeps environmental consciousness strongly in mind, not just on Earth Day, but every day when planning and executing its events.

SusanGKomen3Day_EarthDay

Here are some things the 3-Day® does to stay green:

Before the Event

  • A few years ago, we began posting the 3-Day walker and crew handbooks online to save paper. Only walkers who are completely new to the 3-Day get a mailed set. Today, except for a single welcome envelope sent when you register, all of your 3-Day resources are provided electronically.
  • This year, we stopped mailing out printed informational brochures, and instead provide details about the 3-Day in emails and on our website.

On the Event

  • Event staff, crew and volunteers are meticulous about trash pick-up at all event locations (our expectation is to leave our event locations cleaner than we found them).
  • Many of our event materials, such as route signs, are reused from year to year.
  • We have separate receptacles for trash and recycled materials at all route stops and in camp, and most camp locations also have bins for composting.
  • Participants bring their own water bottles to the event, which allows us to use gallon jugs of water rather than thousands of single plastic bottles.
  • We mix sports drink in 5 gallon jugs for participants to fill their water bottles as well, which also cuts out single-bottle waste.
  • The event staff and volunteers use GPS units for the event vehicles, which cuts back on waste from printed maps.

After the Event

  • After the Closing Ceremony, participants can donate their used shoes, which we then send to recycling centers.
  • All of our leftover water and snacks from the events are donated to local charity organizations.
  • All of the tarps, air mattresses, sleeping bags, etc. that discarded by participants after the event are donated to local charity organizations as well.

 

3-Day participants make the world a better place by raising money and walking, and we’re happy to do our small part to leave that world a better place too. What do you do to stay green on your 3-Day journey?

“At Mile 1, I Found My BFF”

When a submission email for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® blog came in from Lisa C., I was immediately hooked by her subject line: “At Mile 1, I found my BFF.” Lisa, who is walking in the Komen 3-Day this year in San Diego, wrote, “I love surfing around on the 3-Day® website and have been inspired by the banners that read such things as: At Mile 20, I Found My Commitment; At Mile 34, I Found My Inspiration; At Mile 60, I Found My Strength, etc. This got me to thinking about what I found along the miles of my own 3-Day journey. The first thing that came to mind was: At Mile 1, I Found My BFF.”

In 2011, a friend approached Lisa about participating in the 3-Day and she agreed without hesitation. “I immediately said yes, [but not] because I knew anyone with breast cancer. I said yes because I love a challenge. I signed up right away.”

The friend who had recruited Lisa ultimately decided not to walk, but that didn’t stop Lisa from charging forward. “I threw myself into fundraising and training. I was a constant visitor to the Connections [Message Board] for the Twin Cities 3-Day. I was asking questions left and right and receiving responses. Finally, someone asked if I wanted to join Team Girlapalooza. It turns out that there were several lone walkers joining this team for various reasons that year.”

Team Girlapalooza met up early on Day 1 of the Twin Cities 3-Day, and after the Opening Ceremony, they started walking together. That’s where Lisa met a fellow Palooza, Marli.

Komen 3-Day breast cancer walk team girlapalooza friends

Lisa and Marli

Lisa describes their first meeting: “Have you ever met someone and it seems like you knew them forever? That’s how it was for me [and Marli]. Within the first mile, we found ourselves walking side-by-side, at the same pace. We began chatting.” They learned about each other’s lives, jobs, homes and families as they walked. Nothing like 60 miles to allow you to cover every topic under the sun!

Lisa also learned that Marli is quite camera-happy. “She was constantly stopping to take pictures of or with various landmarks, sunrises, sunsets, pit stops, fellow walkers, crew and safety personnel. By the end of the walk, I just had to hold out my hand for her camera. I just knew when she wanted a picture. She taught me to slow down and enjoy the journey, which was great because I am the type of person who would have put my head down and just plowed through.”

By Day 3, Lisa and Marli were as tight as could be, and were saddened to have to part ways (Lisa would head back to Wisconsin, Marli would be going home to Arizona). They agreed to walk the following year in Washington, D.C.—the home of Team Girlapalooza. “We kept in touch with each other via Facebook and a year later we found ourselves in D.C. We met a few days early and got in some sightseeing (yes we walked about 20 miles before the 60-mile walk!). During our trip we laughed at the same things, finished each other’s sentences and tripped over the same cracks in the sidewalk. We often found ourselves saying things like ‘I was just going to say that’ or ‘I was just thinking that!’” Lisa says they got so involved with talking and catching up that they missed seeing the White House and had to double back to take pictures.

It was around that time that Lisa found out about a friend’s breast cancer diagnosis. “I no longer was walking for myself but to honor Nancy’s struggle and determination to beat this disease. Knowing someone with breast cancer has made me much more aware of the struggles of others.”

Lisa and her 3-Day bestie Marli met again for the 2013 3-Day in Seattle but sadly, Lisa was unable to walk because of a broken foot. “I felt like I had failed. Marli was there to support me the entire time. She convinced me that I wasn’t quitting. I posted online that you know you are a 3-Dayer when you are laying in a hotel room on a comfy bed eating pizza but you really want to be eating mac and cheese and sleeping on the ground in a pink tent.”

Lisa, Marli and other Girlapalooza teammates will be reuniting for the 3-Day in San Diego later this year, and they both look forward to reconnecting and continuing their adventure.

Lisa wrapped up her story with a final thought: “So, for all of you first time walkers out there, know this: the Susan G. Komen 3-Day will change you in ways you never imagined. At Mile 1, I met my BFF.”

 

What have you found on the miles of the 3-Day? Tell us in comments!

sisterhood is powerful robin morgan quote susan g komen 3 day breast cancer women walking quote