Ouch! – Some Common Muscle Aches on the 3-Day

I don’t think anyone would disagree that walking 60 miles in three days is tough. It is harder on some than others, but that amount of physical exertion is going to take its toll on just about everyone.

In my experience, here are a few of the problem areas, in terms of muscle soreness, that you’re likely to experience on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®.

Glutes – While you’re out there kicking cancer’s booty, the strain of walking 60 miles may be kicking yours. You gluteal muscles are among the strongest and hardest working muscles in your body, and they work especially hard going up and down hills. The best stretches for your butt muscles involve squatting, so go ahead and strike your strongest “sumo” pose, or hold onto a friend while sitting back into an imaginary chair.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk training stretching

Shins – The muscles in your lower legs get quite a lot of action with all the walking you’ll be doing on the 3-Day, but you may have particular trouble with the muscles on the lower front part of your legs. Because of the way your feet flex, the shin muscles are generally harder to stretch than the calf muscles on the back of your leg, so it’s easy to neglect your shins when you stop to stretch. A good stretch for the shin muscles is to find a step or curb, point your toes down and gently push the tops of your toes against the curb. (*Note: if you are experiencing sharp pain along the shin bones in your legs, you may have shin splints, which are small, stressed-based tissue/bone injuries. Shin splints require more than just diligent stretching to manage and heal, so if you suspect you’re suffering from shin splints, talk to your doctor.)

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk training stretching

Back – If you experience pain directly in the center of your back when you walk, down your spine, you should think about seeing a doctor or a chiropractor. However, even with tip-top vertebrae, you probably will still experience some muscle soreness in your back. Your legs may be getting most of the action, in terms of movement, but your back is working hard to keep the rest of you upright and balanced while you walk. The good thing is, you don’t have to stop walking to stretch your back muscles. You can twist side to side, reach your arms over your head, or squeeze your shoulder blades together while you’re moving to give those back muscles some relief.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk training stretching

Hip Flexors – This is the general term that collectively describes the group of muscles in your upper thigh and hip area, which allow you to bend at the hip. These muscles can become tight when exerted, and may feel especially sore when you begin moving again after sitting down for a time. The good news is, hip flexors are easy to stretch. There are many variations on hip flexor stretches, but in general, think about straightening the front of your thigh/hip area, pushing your hips forward and squeezing your butt muscles.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk training stretching

Bonus Body Part! – Long distance walking may lead to problems with your iliotibial band (also known as the IT band), which is the long band of fibrous tissue than runs down the outside of your thigh, connecting your hip to your knee; it’s not technically a muscle, but still can become tight and sore when exercised. Tightness in the IT band can lead to knee pain (among other things), so work some “supermodel” stretches (hands on waist, legs together, hip pushed out to one side) into your routine.


The best way for you to prepare for the physical demands of the Komen 3-Day is by training in the months leading up to your event. By gradually increasing your mileage week by week, you build up your body’s endurance. Training early and often also allows you to identify any potential problems before you get to the 3-Day®.

If you’re prone to blisters, have specific joint issues (like knee or hip trouble) or foot problems, like plantar fasciitis, you may need focused medical attention (always check with your doctor when issues like these arise), but if you’re just dealing with good ol’ sore muscles, you can keep the aching at bay by stretching consistently throughout the day.

*Obligatory Training Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a trainer, just a walker who’s been through the ringer many times, in terms of muscle soreness. The 3-Day advises all participants to consult with a physician before undertaking any new fitness routine, and if you experience pain or discomfort during training, seek medical attention.

3-Day Guest Post – A Mother’s Day Training Walk

Liz P. is a blogger on the lifestyle blog “Prior Fat Girl”. She is also a mom and a Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walker, and she joins us today for a guest post.

I’ve been training for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® for a few months now, although training has been somewhat limited since I lead a busy life (but really, who doesn’t?). So last week, when we hit the 16-week mark I bumped my training walks up. I am still not perfectly following the plan but I am making an effort each day.

According to the 16-week suggested training schedule, Mother’s Day called for a 5-mile walk and to be honest, I was not in the mood. After all it was Mother’s Day, and I wanted to relax. I also felt guilty for spending time away from my family on such a family-focused day.

I had to work that morning and then we headed to my in-laws’ house for the rest of the day. But I planned ahead and I brought my walking gear along so I would be prepared to go for a walk. (My Mother’s Day gift was even a hydration belt for my training!) After lunch and a nap with my baby, I knew that it was time to head off for a walk. In fact, I had cut it a bit too close to do a full 5 miles, but I did not let that stop me from doing something.

susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk liz paul prior fat girl training

Though rain was in the forecast it was a beautiful spring day in MN. There was a brisk wind that was both warm and cool at the same time. Flowers were blooming and lots of people were out enjoying the precious sunshine. Leaving my kids in their grandparents care, I headed out.

As I walked on Mother’s Day I thought about my Grandma – Ruth Ann Mercer. She died when I was a teenager after 8 years of breast cancer and then other types as it metastasized. My Grandma was an amazing woman. She went to college in her 50s because she’d always regretted not being able to go when she was young. She majored in philosophy!

She did not let anything stop her when she set her mind to something, which is part of the reason I believe she lived for 8 years with breast cancer. In the end it was her decision to stop treatment and I remember gathering with her for our last goodbyes. In many ways I was too young to really understand her choice at the time, and had no real insight to ask to hear her stories and knowledge. I wish I could know that now. I miss her.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk liz paul prior fat girl grandmother

With each step on Sunday, I thought about my Grandma. I thought about the chocolate chips she kept in the pots and pans drawer in her house, in case of an emergency chocolate fix. I thought about how she could sew anything out of anything. I thought about learning to play Gin Rummy with her.

And I thought about how I am not able to introduce her to my new daughter or how I cannot take a 4-generation picture of the strong women in my family because of breast cancer. But perhaps my daughter will see breast cancer eradicated in her lifetime, or perhaps I’ll see it myself. I walk because I want people to know their grandmas.

I didn’t quite manage the full 5 miles. I made it 3 miles before rain and the promise of Mother’s Day dinner at the in-laws beckoned. I didn’t manage every step, but I did get out there and I trained. Training is hard as a mother of two young children. Training is hard when holding a full-time job. Training is hard because it is hard. But it is not as hard as cancer.

So I walk on Mother’s Day to train for 60 miles. I walk for my Grandma. I walk for my daughter’s future.

The ABC’s of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day – Part 3

It’s time for Part 3 of the ABC’s of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®. This special alphabet is made up of 26 people, places or things you’ll encounter on the Komen 3-Day. Check out Part 1 (Letters A – D) here, Part 2 (Letters E – H) here, and don’t forget to share your ideas for each letter here on the 3-Day blog or with us on Facebook. You can also help us spread the word about the 3-Day® by pinning these images on Pinterest. The more people who learn about the 3-Day, the more we can make a difference in the fight to end breast cancer forever.

Inspiration Susan G Komen 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk Rainbow

On the 3-Day, inspiration is all around you. Every mile is filled with stories, laughter, hope and crazy costumes. From the community cheering stations to the colorful pit stops, from a child on the side of the road holding up a “thank you” sign to the woman walking next to you in a pink “Survivor” shirt – there are so many reasons to keep walking.

See also: Impact and Ice Pack 

Join a Team Susan G Komen 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk

Next to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® coaches, a team is the best support system you can have as you fundraise, train and walk all 60 miles on the road to end breast cancer forever. Whether you want to form a team, join a team or grow the team you already have, being a part of a team is always rewarding. See one team’s inspiring story by watching Team 211 on YouTube.


K is for Komen Susan G Komen 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk

Susan G. Komen® is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $800 million in research and provided almost $1.7 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life.

See also: Kick-off Event

L for Legacy Pins Susan G Komen 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk

Legacy Pins are collectible pins, exclusive to the 3-Day. You can visit the Legacy Pin stop on Main Street to pick up any pins that you have earned throughout the year; at the very least, you get your Walker (or Crew) pin, but may also get pins for hitting fundraising milestones, 5- or 10-year walker-versaries, captaining a team, celebrating being a survivor, and more! Visit The3Day.org/Legacy for more information.

See also: Lounge 


What other people, places, or things would you pick for I, J, K and L? How about M, N, O and P? Share in the comments here or with us on Facebook or Twitter.