There are some pluses and minuses when runners transition to the commitment of a long walk, such as a Susan G. Komen 3-Day, which clocks in around 60 total miles. We turned to Staci Roos, a participant support coach, for her best advice for slowing down.
“The great news is you have the gear,” she says. Often new walkers don’t have a sports bra and wicking clothing—never mind athletic shoes. Roos says they recommend wearing running shoes while walking, because they are lightweight and made for mileage.
You can follow a specific walking training plan, but Roos has advice for runners who might not want to stop.
Do a pace check.
Before you start training, test yourself with a 5-mile walk. If it’s really easy, ramp up to 8 miles and then 10 followed by a long walk (8 or so miles) the very next day.
See how you feel.
You’ll be on your feet a lot longer; a 10-mile run might take two hours versus a walk that will be closer to four. Take note of when you need to retie your shoes or you wish you had a fresh pair of socks or you start feeling blisters.
Start training from there.
Once you determine your tipping point, follow the training plan from that week (whatever the long walk distance is).
Include at least two back-to-back long walk days.
You can run on the cross-training days or more often, but Roos suggests always walking two days in a row each week, and increase your mileage gradually.
This is a much larger time commitment than many runners are used to, so you need to wrap your mind around that.
Plan your route.
You’ll need bathroom breaks, and you may want food and extra water.
Bring what you require.
Another difference from running is you might want to carry more stuff like snacks, water, lip balm, tissues, or even a photo of your inspiration and your phone to track the journey. Practice in training what you plan for the official walk.
Plan to share.
A great race can be a huge emotional high, but this is going to be even bigger. As opposed to tuning into music and running in the zone, participants will talk. After all of the training and fundraising, you’ll surely have your own stories to tell.