Planning the Perfect 3-Day Training Walk

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Summer is a great time to kick your training into high gear, and with our 2018 3-Day season just around the corner, your training walks are likely getting longer and longer. Whether you’re walking on your own, using our 3-Day training apps, or joining an official training walk leader to train, now is the time!

To help you make the most of your next training walk, we asked Coach Liz – an experienced  training walk leader – to give us her tips and tricks for planning the best training walk possible. Honed from years of experience, here’s how she gets it done…

When planning a route, I always have two web browser windows open: the Miler Meter pedometer to map our the miles and Google Maps to look for shade and places to stop and take a break.

I usually find a place to start on Google Maps that is open early and has sufficient parking, which you can see on Google. For example, Safeway at McQueen and Ray Road (Point A on the map below). Then I look for a grocery store, fast food restaurant, convenience store or coffee shop that is somewhere close for an end spot (Point B).

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Then I start mapping on pedometer to plan about 3-4 miles through the city streets and housing areas to get from point A to point B. This route is an out and back (3 miles out and turn around and reverse back to start). I make sure the route has some shade and sidewalks. And, whenever I can I try not to have us facing the sun as the day or route gets later and longer. That’s a pro tip for you!

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I put it all together with turn by turn directions that I hand out, so everyone knows the route. We don’t want anyone getting lost!

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As the training walks get longer, I plan longer walks with stops every 3-4 miles. I will also plan some walks with loops so if someone needs to bow out or needs to stop they can.

We always make sure to take time to stretch before and at our “pit stops” on the training walks!

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When we get to the longer walks, particularly on the 15+ miles back to back, we get our local crew or our families to come out and provide “mock pit stops.” It really helps the new first time walkers start to get a feel for the 3-Day, and it makes the walks so much more fun! Plus, it helps our families and communities get more involved in the 3-Day.

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Also, on any walk that is more than 13 miles we also build in a lunch stop. I remind all our walkers to be sure to bring a change of socks and money for lunch.

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And of course, we train on all terrains, to make sure the walkers are prepared for the whole route. In the photo below, we added some hill training by walking to the top of Hayden Butte (it is only a 0.7 mile walk but the elevation gain is 278 feet!)

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We hope these tips help you and your fellow 3-Day participants plan some amazing training walks! See you all soon!

The Insider’s Guide to the 3-Day – Every Step is a Journey

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Welcome to the Insider’s Guide to the 3-Day! If you’re not sure what you’re in for, let us tell you!

If you haven’t read our earlier installments, you can check them out here:

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No one is better qualified to add to our Insider’s Guide than 3-Day Coach Gina, who has walked the Michigan 3-Day, and now leads both the Michigan and Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day as our Crew & Volunteer Coordinator. Gina is also a breast cancer survivor, and deep supporter of every member of our 3-Day family, from walkers to crew to Youth Corps and beyond. She is sharing her personal memories and 3-Day journey with us, in the hopes that her story might inspire others to join our family.

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Getting Ready: 3-Day Fundraising

  • Ask everyone…and then ask again! Never doubt how much family and friends want to support you on your 3-Day journey. For participants, “the ask” isn’t easy, but you are asking for a cause you believe in, so allow donors to see your passion and how much you are willing to do in this fight.
  • Whether or not a person donates, ask them to forward your email onto their family and friends…And watch your donor circle grow. Always remember that follow-up is key!
  • Utilize social media and have fun with it. Try a Ten Dollar, or Twenty Dollar Tuesday, “I am walking for…” Wednesday, High Five Dollar Friday…the possibilities are endless. Create that sense of urgency and enjoy the process of connecting with folks while watching your fundraising grow.
  • Double (even triple) your fundraising dollars with a matching gift. Check out our matching gift page at The3Day.org/Matching for detailed instructions. Simply ask every donor, “Does your company participate in a matching gift program?” That $25 donation might become a $50 donation!

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Getting Ready: 3-Day Training

  • Follow the suggested training program and make it your own. Given everyone’s busy schedules, it might seem daunting when you look at the entire 24-week or 16-week training schedule. Take it week by week and get the miles in when you can.
  • A lunchtime or evening walk (once it’s not so hot!) is always good. You’ll probably find that the weekends will be when you train the most, but this will differ from person to person. For me, it was important that I saw my mileage increase each week, not necessarily my number of training walks.
  • Look for official training walks being led in your area at org/TrainingWalks. These are led by 3-Day training walk leaders and are an excellent way to train, meet fellow walkers and have some good ‘ole 3-Day fun!

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And then it begins…Friday morning on the 3-Day

You cannot deny the buzz in the air the morning of the Opening Ceremony. Excitement, nervousness, anticipation, lots of moving pieces…And lots of PINK! Get your tissues ready (or at least I did!) once the Opening Ceremony begins, because it’s an experience like no other. An experience that sets the stage for your three days ahead.

Taking on 60 miles!

To say you are fully supported on the 3-Day route is an understatement.

From the pit stops, where you refuel and rehydrate to the Porta-Potties, where you…well, you know! The cheering stations where families, the community and strangers who are now friends come out to cheer on walkers and sprinkle encouragement through their words and signs.

I must give a shout out to our all-volunteer and all-around amazing Crew. Crew members commit to all three days like the walkers and experience a different kind of 3-Day. You will find Crew around every turn, and at camp, making sure walkers are fully supported. At pit stops, the lunch stop, and patrolling the route on motorcycles and bicycles. Crew sets up camp, hauls participants’ gear. Medical Crew makes sure participants are happy and healthy all weekend.

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One of the high points for me personally is seeing the Youth Corps, our friends in yellow. These are youth who commit to serving the walkers throughout the weekend. To see these kids and teens giving their time and energy to the fight against breast cancer really speaks to our future.

If I can sum up my experience it’s that I remember, at times, thinking, “I cannot walk another step.” Then I would look around, see my fellow walkers, and the support, and I would realize that walking is the easy part and we keep going because hearing the words, “you have breast cancer” will forever change a person’s life.

Camp: A More Than Pink Sleepover!

Camp is otherwise known as the fabulous “pink bubble.” Coming from a non-camper, this is not the camping I would normally think of. The word “glamping” is much more like it, and even then, I am always amazed the detail that goes into making sure 3-Day participants are made to feel welcome and comfortable all weekend.

Your pink tent will be your home away from home, and you’ll eat a yummy breakfast and dinner in the dining tent. My advice is to immerse yourself in the 3-Day campsite; it’s really part of your experience. Watch the camp show, visit 3-Day Main Street, and shower in the shower trucks. It’s a memorable experience like no other.

Just like on the route, you are fully supported and won’t want to leave this sweet bubble of love and kindness. Alas, Sunday will arrive, you’ll bid farewell to camp, pack up your belongings and be reunited with your gear at the Participant Finish Area.

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Closing Ceremony and the morning after…

For me, the last day of the 3-Day is bittersweet. Walking into the Closing Ceremony is indescribable. Since each participant has their own reason for participating in the 3-Day, each participant might have a different feeling when they take their final steps of the Victory Walk from the Participant Finish Area into the Closing Ceremony.

I always feel the walkers and crew of the 3-Day are part of a special group, bound together by their passion, enthusiasm and drive to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. I will never give up, and you will feel this drive and passion from the moment you register for your 3-Day journey, too!

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Celebrate National Selfie Day with Coach Jennifer

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Did you know that today (June 21) is National Selfie Day? Considering it’s also the first day of summer, that means it’s the perfect time of year to head outside and take some fun, candid photos with your favorite people. We certainly hope that group includes some 3-Day pals!

Selfies are commonplace on the 3-Day. We use them to grab a team photo, capture the excitement of the Opening Ceremony, snap a candid moment along the route, show off the beauty of our host cities and as a way to remember a truly special weekend.

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But do you have your selfie game up to snuff? If not, we’re here to help.

The best way to hold your phone for a horizontal selfie, in the opinion of all our 3-Day coaches, is to hold the phone with your pinkie on the bottom, your pointer finger on top, and the middle two fingers behind the phone for stability. If you position yourself on one of the edges of the selfie group (not in the middle), you’ll be able to capture tons of people or a cool background. Just click the shutter button with your thumb and…ta da! Perfect selfie!

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If you really want to know what it takes to get the perfect 3-Day selfie though, ask Coach Jennifer from Michigan! She’s been a 3-Day walker as well as coach, and she always gets the best pictures on event.

Here are her top tips:

  • Always hold the camera up and look up into the camera for the most flattering selfie, or hold the camera slightly above your head, pointing down. Don’t take a selfie from below. No one wants purposeful double chins!
  • Try to take the selfie in shade – if that’s not possible, face into the sun to eliminate shadows.
  • Take off the sunglasses!  (Even facing into the sun!)
  • Check your camera settings to see if there is a timer option. My Samsung phone has a timer feature that gives you about a 5 second countdown which makes it super easy to get a great selfie. Make sure you can see everyone in the photo before starting the timer.

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  • Smile! Yes, a genuine smile. Forget the silly duck face, most people can’t pull this off anyway.
  • It doesn’t have to be perfect. Candid shots are sometimes some of the best pictures. 😉
  • Use a filter to make it more fun.
  • Speaking of fun: Have fun with it! Some of my favorite selfies are the ones where there are a lot of friends trying to cram into the phone, laughing and simply having fun!

Need more inspiration? Here are some more great selfies from more of our 3-Day coaches!

Share your best 3-Day selfie with us in the comments! We love seeing your smiles!