Last week I blogged about preparing myself mentally for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure®. Another important aspect of mental preparation is being informed -- knowing beforehand what you'll be doing and where you'll be going. We all start out knowing we'll be walking 60 miles in 3 days, but then what?
That's why the event website, www.the3day.org, is one of the most valuable preparation tools I can think of, whether you're thinking about joining or have already signed up. The site is filled with information about what to expect during the 3 days, how to sign up, what you need to do, what you need to bring, how you can prepare, etc.... There are FAQs, videos, a calendar, contact information and more. Once you register, you'll have access to even more information, like a training schedule and safety videos.
Frankly, I can't say enough good things about their safety video. Every single person who participates in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure® has to watch this video so they know how they can avoid injury and what to do if an injury does occur. I'm not a big online video watcher, so I thought I'd play the video and multitask (i.e. check email, fold laundry, etc..), but it was so interesting that I couldn't help give it my full attention. The video gives some excellent advice all Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure® walkers; in fact, it's advice that anyone doing long-distance walking or running should take. For example, did you know that.....
* The two biggest medical problems that walkers are likely to experience during the event are blisters and dehydration. Both could render a walker unable to complete his or her mileage for the day -- yet both can be prevented. To help prevent dehydration, it's important to keep drinking fluids throughout the day (don't forget to drink fluids with electrolytes, like sports drinks, so you don't lose too much salt when you sweat all those fluids out). If you aren't urinating every 3-6 miles, you should increase your fluid intake. To prevent blisters, make sure you lubricate your feet with petroleum before you stick those tootsies into your socks and shoes. And speaking of socks, carry an extra pair so that you can change into them when your first pair gets too sweaty.
* We're not walking in a vacuum: throughout the 3 days, walkers will be sharing the road with cars, trucks, bikes and each other, so observing safety rules and practices is more important than ever. Look both ways when crossing the street (it's surprising how many streetwalkers I see who don't do this, and I don't mean the tarty kind!) and follow all traffic signs.
* There will be pit stops along the route, around every 3 miles. Practice the Three R's every time you get to one -- Refuel, Rehydrate and Relieve. And remember to stretch for about 5 minutes every hour so your muscles don't cramp up.
I've really taken these guidelines to heart; for example, I never set out for a walk without a bottle of water, and I always stretch my heels, calves and legs for each hour that I walk. The longer my walks last, the more of a difference those tips make to my body afterwards! And the longer I walk, the more I remind myself to look both ways when I cross the street, because after walking for several hours my mind and body are tired, and I find that I tend to stumble blindly off the sidewalk unless I keep road safety at the front of my mind.
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