Walking the Walk for Breast Cancer: Tips & Tricks

It's that time of year again, when people across the land make the commitment to walk to raise money and awareness for the battle against breast cancer. Since I walked the 3-Day two years in a row, I am often asked for tips. Rather than email the tips where only a few can see them, I had this brilliant idea to post them on my blog. Sometimes, I have these glimpses of my formerly brilliant self.

These tips are based on the 3-Day Breast Cancer walk, but can easily be adapted to suit the 2-Day Avon Breast Cancer Walk. (When I walked, it was the 60-mile Avon 3-Day. It was THAT long ago.)

Keep in mind, YMMV on all of this. It's what worked for me.

  1. You will be on your feet for 8 hours or 5 hours depending on how quickly you walk. Slower is not always better. Fewer hours on your feet = fewer hours on your feet.

  2. Duct tape is the best thing to put over blisters. Pull some off a big roll and wrap it onto itself to carry it with you. Moleskin also works, but duct tape is easier to come by and cheap.

  3. Gatorade will make you bloated. Instead, keep hydrated w/water and keep electrolytes up w/frequent small snacks. We used Gu the second year, but only in small amounts. The key is to eat a little along with the water.

  4. A hydration backpack (like a CamelBak) is far more comfortable than a fanny pack. You won't want something wrapped around your middle for that long.

  5. Running sandals. Strap them to your backpack w/small bungee cords, and change into them for the last 5 miles or so each day. They are like heaven and will allow your feet to breathe.

  6. Extra socks and/or double socks. It's all about avoiding friction. Double layer socks work well for this.

  7. Shoes. Have 2 pairs of walking/running shoes. Alternate to the 2nd pair on day 2. Make sure you have walked in both pairs before the big walk.

  8. Train. The more you walk, the easier it will be. Walk outside, not on a treadmill. There's something very different about concrete and pavement. If the weather is crappy, walk in a mall or on an indoor track.

  9. While doing the actual walk, you will be on sidewalks a lot. Stay to the high side of driveways...avoid the dip. A day of walking down the dip will create some gnarly blisters.

  10. Keep moving. Taking long breaks at the snack stops will do you in. It makes the day longer, and it makes it harder to get moving again.

  11. Stay in a hotel. Don't camp. I'm assuming they still do the camping thing as part of the walk. There's no honor in camping. It's not the 3-day walk and camp. It's the walk. Your donors are giving you money to walk, not sleep on the ground. Many people stay in hotels. Split the room with friends. It's good bonding time, and sometimes you can score a hot tub. Taxis can be called from the stopping points or you can arrange a local friend to carpool your group to the hotels. We stayed somewhere close to the route each night. I cannot recommend this enough...even if you love camping.

  12. This next tip may be TMI, but I'm giving it anyway. Vaseline. We had a single-dip rule in our group. Dip, and apply it to your butt crack. Seriously. The chaffing. Oh, the chaffing. You do not want it. Apply liberally and you will be fine. Remember, it's a lot of walking, and a lot of stopping to pee, therefore a lot of wiping.

  13. Body Glide. Runners use it to prevent chaffing in other areas. It's good for feet, thighs, and the like.

HAVE FUN! It really is a blast. You will meet amazing people. When I was collecting donations, I had my donors give me the names of people they wanted me to carry with  me on the walk. I bought a gross of those bracelets like you get at concerts and wrote the names on them, attached them to my pack. So, it was like I was carrying this group of remembered loved ones with me. Very powerful.

If you're walking this year, leave a comment with a link to your donation page.