Training for a Multi-Day Walk

Fitness, News and Advice
on September 5, 2011

At the same time walkers are embracing half-marathons and marathons, others are challenging themselves to even longer distances covered over several days. The most popular multi-day walks are the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, a 60-mile event, and the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, a two-day event consisting of a half marathon (13.1 miles) followed by a marathon (26.2 miles). These events require not only dedication to getting in shape, but dedication to fundraising for breast cancer.

Participants often have a family member who has or has died of breast cancer or are survivors themselves, adding a strong sense of community to these events. Are you interested?  Plan to spend 6 to 8 months in preparation, depending on how many miles you can walk today. Look ahead to the date of an event that allows you 30 weeks of training and you’ll have a great time walking as well as communing with others!

If possible, train with a group, whether through your workplace or other organizations affiliated with the event. You may be able to join one locally, or form one yourself. See the event websites for more information

Both events provide your water, lunch and snacks on the course, as well as a place or tent to sleep in, meals and showers in the evenings. Participants feel welcome and well taken care of.

Beginners who are in good health with no musculoskeletal problems should be able to complete a multiday walk with proper training, but may want to tackle something much simpler first, like a 5K followed by a half-marathon. That will give you a good idea of what you’re in for and make you much more likely to have a successful and enjoyable walk.

Here are two training schedules, one for the 2-day and the 3-day events. If you are not already able to walk an hour at a time, and occasional 6 mile walks in about 2 hours, you should start with a 5k training schedule first. If you’re already a regular walker who walks daily, it may be tempting to keep up that pattern, but your rest days are very important to helping your body recover and increase endurance as you increase your weekly mileage. Then you taper down for 3 weeks which is also critical for arriving fresh, strong and rested for your event.