Most walkers who are new to the 3-Day put a lot of focus on training their bodies for the challenge of walking 60 miles. The 3-Day provides all walkers with a number of training materials to help them prepare physically, including very thorough 16- and 24-week training schedules and a training handbook. For someone who is taking on the formidable goal of walking about 20 miles a day for 3 days in a row for the first time, this kind of detailed regimen is generally a good fit.
But what about walkers who’ve done the 3-Day before? Many of our veteran walkers have done the 3-Day five, ten, even 15 or more times already. Others, perhaps, are new to the 3-Day but have experienced other endurance events (marathons, triathalons, etc.) and don’t necessarily need to start their training from scratch.
We asked a few 3-Day vets to give us their thoughts on the best way to approach training if you’ve done the 3-Day before, or are already in great shape physically.
Elaine – 9x walker
Team – GET YOUR PiNK ON (10 team members, all veteran walkers)
Walking in San Diego in 2016
Elaine says, “I walk almost every day, a minimum of 3 miles year round.” She also does water aerobics and rides her bike. Elaine and many of her teammates live in San Diego, and train together when they can. “We generally try to walk all year and living in San Diego allows us to do that.” She does have teammates who live elsewhere, and Elaine send emails periodically to check in with them, but adds, “Since most are veterans, they really know what it takes to get ready.” A few teammates who live in hot climates like to do their training very early in the morning, or indoors on treadmills. Elaine shares, “I have worked weekends my whole life, so needless to say the first year was intimidating when I got the 24-week training schedule. When I have days off during the week and everyone else is working, I will pack a lunch, my beach chair, do a 9-mile walk then hang out at the beach. I have tried walking more than 9 miles by myself…but just do not enjoy it much.”
The bottom line: Keep moving all year! If you’re able to walk short distances consistently throughout the year, you’ll be more prepared for the longer mileages when you get to event time.
Pala – 21x walker
Team – Walking With Purpose (2 team members)
Walking in Michigan, Twin Cities, Atlanta and San Diego in 2016
In spite of her prolific 3-Day resume, Pala—who walked all seven 3-Days in 2015—is “old school” with her training. “I do my best to follow the 24-week training program as far as mileage per week. My walking days usually differ from the schedule but by week’s end my mileage is there.” Pala lives in Michigan and attends the 3-Day’s official training kick-off event, but doesn’t usually come to any official 3-Day training walks aside from that. “I fit my walks into my schedule around other commitments.” One might assume that, after completing the 3-Day so many times, Pala would allow herself to coast a little bit through the training schedule. Not so. “In my opinion, in order to enjoy, not just endure, the 3-Day weekend, training is probably the most essential element for a successful walk. Walk those sidewalks, step up and down those curbs. Incorporating different terrains, inclines/hills, and weather conditions during training conditions you for the weekend’s successful (s)miles.” Pala, who lives with her husband Tom (a long-time crew member), adds a special shout-out to a particular group of her fellow walkers: “Kudos must be shared with the walkers who work full time, have families to care for and yet manage to fit in training. The first year I walked and realized the time commitment needed for the long training walks, it amazed me to think of those with full time jobs (I was working only part-time), those with families and the associated responsibilities. It is just the two of us and we can eat whenever, skip household chores, and only had grandchild obligations (by choice) twice per week. To me, these full time workers stand out and have my utmost admiration. Those workers with families even more so. I am sure some sacrifices have been made by all.”
The bottom line: Even an experienced 3-Day pro can benefit from following the full training regimen, if their schedule allows it.
Carrie – 1x walker
Team – Boobilicious (5 members – 2 long-time vets, 2 “sophomores,” 1 newbie)
Walking in the Twin Cities in 2016
Carrie is not a long-time walker. In fact, she’s coming back for just the second time this year. But as a regular CrossFit participant, she’s already in great shape. “While I feel like I am always in training and keep up with my physical fitness, I start officially training for the 3-Day right around Mother’s Day. In the early weeks I like to get in 1-2 walks that are around 5 miles. My first 10-mile walk is typically around the 4th of July. Then I hit it hard with 3-4 walks a week, including at least one long walk on the weekend. I don’t follow a strict training program, but fit the walking in with my regular CrossFit training.” Carrie, who lives in the Twin Cities, is a fan of the 3-Day training walks in her area. “I prefer to attend the official walks instead of walking on my own. It is fun and inspiring to meet other walkers; we share training tips, fundraising ideas, and just get to know each other.” Carrie encourages her fellow walkers to trust themselves and their instincts when it comes to 3-Day prep. “Everyone has their own philosophy on training: one of my team members is diligent in her training program while another doesn’t train at all. I think it is critical for each person to understand, and be honest with, their current fitness level. For me, it was important to try out my gear, especially my shoes, socks and underwear (yes, it is really important to test out your underwear!). I learned very quickly that a bad pair of socks leads to lots of blisters. I also decided that I didn’t need to walk every day for training if I was doing my standard CrossFit, but I wanted to get some longer (15+) walks in to just get a feel for what it will be like.”
The bottom line: Being in good shape when you approach the 3-Day is a great start, but it’s still important to put in the miles with walk training too.