Blister Prevention Advice for 3-Day Walkers

Walking 60 miles in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® can take a toll on you physically, and the most commonly affected body part is sure to be your feet. Blisters are one of the most frequently treated medical issues on the Komen 3-Day, and a bad blister (or two, or ten…) can sideline an otherwise healthy walker.

The good news is you don’t have to resign yourself to living with blisters. There are steps you can take to stop a blister before it starts and further actions you can take to deal with a blister if you do get one.susan g. komen 3-Day walk breast cancer blog blister prevention tips

What is a blister? – The type of blisters that most 3-Day® walkers experience are friction blisters (as opposed to, say, a blister from a burn or an insect bite). When part of your foot rubs up against something—your sock or shoe or another body part, such as toes rubbing against toes—repeatedly, the top layer of skin will separate from the underlying layer. The separation will fill with fluid, causing a painful blister.

Stay Dry – Moisture can exacerbate the friction that causes blisters, so it’s important to keep your feet as dry as possible. If you’re prone to excessive sweating, consider using foot powder to minimize the moisture. It’s also a good idea to change your socks midway through a long walk (calculate the halfway point of a 10+ mile training walk and stop there, or swap socks at the lunch stop on the 3-Day).susan g. komen 3-Day walk breast cancer blog blister prevention tips

Socks – Speaking of socks, choosing the right ones can mean the difference between blister-free tootsies and a painful walk. Stay away from 100% cotton socks and opt instead for socks made with some sort of moisture-wicking material (look for names like Coolmax® or Dri-Fit on the packaging), which will draw moisture away from your skin. Also, make sure your socks fit snugly and don’t bunch up inside your shoes or around your toes; folds in fabric are a common cause of friction blisters.susan g. komen 3-Day walk breast cancer blog blister prevention tips

Shoes – Good shoes might well be the most important gear for 3-Day walkers, so take the time to get yourself fitted with shoes that are right for your feet. We recommend that you buy shoes from an outfitter who is knowledgeable about athletic footwear, as they will be able to see how you walk and put you in shoes that are right for your particular stride. Consider shopping at a store that specializes in running/walking shoes, as opposed to a “big box” sporting goods store. Taking the time to find the right shoes could ultimately make the difference in whether you get blisters or not.

Preventive Treatments – Aside from the foot powder mentioned above, there are other pre-walk treatments you can apply to prevent blisters before they start. I’ve had great success with the “foot lube” method. Lubricating products such as SportSlick™, HikeGoo BodyGlide® or even regular old petroleum jelly can be applied directly to the skin; slab it on your heels, the balls of your feet, between all your toes and anywhere else that’s prone to friction on your own feet. Put your clean, dry socks on over your gelled-up feet, and you’re good to go (and of course, you’ll repeat the process when you change your socks at the halfway point of your walk). You’ll feel like you’re walking through Jell-O for the first few steps, but before long you won’t even notice it. Meanwhile, the lubricant will keep a slick layer between your skin and your socks, never letting enough friction build up to form a blister. I’ve been using this method for over 10 years and have not gotten a single blister in that time.susan g. komen 3-Day walk breast cancer blog blister prevention tips

Ouch! – What if, in spite of your best prevention efforts, you still find yourself feeling pain in a particular spot on your foot? We use the term “hot spot” to define these pre-blister points, because it will literally feel like a little area of localized heat or irritation on your skin. This is not a full-blown blister yet, so as soon as you start to feel a hot spot coming on, stop walking and treat it by applying more powder or lubricant, or bandaging the spot to protect it from further friction. Many walkers prefer bandaging products like moleskin or molefoam over other adhesive bandages, but as with all of your 3-Day gear and products, you should try them out during your months of training to discover what works best for you personally.susan g. komen 3-Day walk breast cancer blog blister prevention tips

 

You can find more information about blister care and prevention and blister treatment can be found in your 3-Day Participant Center.

Always Faithful – An Inspiring Story of One Flag, Two Men and the 3-Day

In November 2013, when I walked in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in San Diego, my teammate and I were approaching a pit stop on the first day when we spotted a flag fluttering up ahead. Flags are a common sight on the Komen 3-Day, as walkers carry dozens of tall pink banners on the route, encouraging each other with their phrases of inspiration. But this was a flag that wasn’t so common on the 3-Day® – this was a full-sized American flag being carried by two men.

susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk san diego american flag marinesWhen we got closer, I got a better look at the pair. They wore matching pink socks and pink t-shirts with a beautiful young woman’s picture on them. We stopped and my teammate asked if she could take their photo (as many other walkers were doing, too), then we moved on. I spotted them a few more times throughout the weekend—they were hard to miss, with the Stars and Stripes always flying over their shoulders—but didn’t really get their story until months later, when I was thinking about how to commemorate Independence Day on the 3-Day blog. I immediately thought, “What about those guys in San Diego who carried the flag?”

We did a little research and discovered that “those guys” are Bob and Rob H., a father and son from Southern California. Both men were first-time walkers in San Diego last year, taking part in the 3-Day in support of Heather, the woman whose picture they wore on their shirts. Heather is Bob’s daughter and Rob’s sister, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer in April of 2013 at the age of 38.

Rob shared, “She had started undergoing treatment last summer, and we wanted to raise money for [Susan G. Komen®] because we were impressed with their use of the money over other charities (large percentage going towards research and offsetting expenses for those that can’t afford things associated with treatment, insurance, various other expenses, etc.). We wanted to contribute to the effort.”

And what about the flag? Heather told us, “My brother has been a competitive runner for many years. He has done triathlons, Ironman and Ultraman races. When he does his races he is always carrying the American flag. My family is a military family. My dad is a retired Marine of 30 years, my brother Rob is an active duty Marine and my husband is also an active duty Marine.”

Rob added, “Being Marines and proud patriots, my dad and I carried the American flag to foster camaraderie, motivation and inspiration to our fellow walkers. No matter what is going on in the world, everybody gets behind a flying American flag!”

Bob and Rob will not be walking this year (Rob is in the process of moving to the East Coast on new military orders), but Heather will carry on the legacy that her family started last year and will walk in her first 3-Day this November in San Diego as a proud survivor.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk san diego marines american flag

Heather’s team, appropriately, is Team Semper Fi.

Semper Fi is short for “Semper Fidelis,” the motto of the U.S. Marines. Translated, it means “Always Faithful.” I can’t think of a more perfect name for a family who came together and endured the fear and pain of a breast cancer diagnosis, stepped up to it and walked 60 miles toward a cure, all the while maintaining faith in the power of pink, under the colors of red, white and blue.

thomas jefferson walking quote komen 3 day breast cancer walk 60 miles

Join us for our second 3-Day Tweet Chat on July 9 – Training Tips!

With the first Susan G. Komen 3-Day® rapidly approaching, we’d love to hang out with you on Twitter and chat about training. Training is one of the best ways to ensure your success on the Komen 3-Day, so let’s share our best tips and strategies for successful training.

Join us on Wednesday, July 9 at 6:00 p.m. PDT (9:00 p.m. EDT, and 8:00 p.m. CT) for a Tweet Chat all about training. Never done a Tweet Chat before? That’s okay! Some people call them Twitter Parties or Twitter Meet-Ups, but whatever the name, it works like this:

  1. Sign on to Twitter at 6:00 p.m. PDT (or a few minutes before).
  2. Make sure you’re following @The3Day on Twitter.
  3. On Twitter, search for #The3Day, which is the official hashtag we will use for this Tweet Chat.
  4. You can also use the website TweetChat.com. Sign in, enter the hashtag #The3Day, and you’ll be able to watch and tweet in real-time with us.
  5. We’ll ask some questions to get things started, and we will also share tips and tricks from 3-Day veterans and coaches. This will be a great way to meet your fellow 3-Day participants, ask your questions, and motivate yourself to keep your training on track. Our 3-Day Social Media Team, Alyssa and Erin, can’t wait to tweet with you!SGK_3-Day_Twitter

Not on Twitter yet? Here are a few quick tips to get you started:

  • It’s free and easy to join at Twitter.com.
  • Go to twitter.com/the3day and click “Follow” to make sure our messages show up in your feed.
  • A hashtag is a way to “file” tweets and collect them under a certain topic, so you’ll be able to see everything everyone is tweeting under this hashtag. Just search for #the3day in Twitter and you’ll be able to see everyone’s messages about the 3-Day, not just ours.
  • When writing your own messages, keep in mind that tweets can only be 140 characters at a time, so it’s best to keep things short n’ sweet.

 

If you can’t make this Tweet Chat, you can always search #The3Day on Twitter to see all of the tweets that came from this Tweet Chat. Do you have any questions? Ask here, and remember, the 3-Day coaches are only a phone call away at 800-996-3DAY!