These tips for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure come from my experience on the walk. Walking 20 miles a day for 3 days is a memorable feat and this advice will help make it all a bit easier.
Energizer selected me as their Keep Going Blogger for Cleveland and provided my participation fee.
I wrote a series of posts sharing my experience which you can find here:
- Susan G. Komen 3 Day For The Cure Preview Expo
- Susan G. Komen 3 Day For The Cure Day 1
- 3 Day For The Cure Day 2
- 3 Day For the Cure Day 3
- 3 Day For the Cure Keep Going Award
Prior to participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, I was full of questions. Even though there were lots of tips of online, I still wasn’t sure what advice to take – especially when it was conflicting. So to ease the nerves of others I’ve compiled a list of what I feel are important things to know about the 3-Day for the Cure®.
10 Tips for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure
#10 Hidden Mickeys
Okay, I know that aside from being out in the hot sun all day the 3-Day for the Cure is nothing like Disney World. However, just like that famous theme park be sure to keep an eye out for “Hidden Mickeys” on your walk.
No, they are not actually silhouettes of Mickey Mouse, but instead they’re messages of support from local community members. It may be a sidewalk chalk drawing, a dixie cup of lemonade, a handful of frozen grapes, a crayon-colored sign tacked to a 3-Day for the Cure arrow, a pink ribbon tied to a mailbox, or even a car blowing it’s horn as it drives by.
No matter what it is, these “Hidden Mickeys” will help keep you going. If your feet are hurting or the heat of the day is catching up to you, keep your eyes peeled and more than likely within the next 500 feet you will be inspired by something someone has done to show how much your walking means to them.
#9 Befriend Solo Walkers
As a solo walker this past weekend, I met a lot of other wonderful people. Everyone was extremely friendly and nice. I know that as a solo walker I was a little nervous about meeting others and walking alone, but really had nothing to worry about. There almost always seemed to be someone to talk to.
While this was the case for me, I just wanted to put out there to all of you walking with partners or on teams, take a minute to befriend that solo walker nearby. We don’t want anyone to feel alone on this incredible journey and it will mean so much to them. You never know you just may form a new friendship.
#8 COOL OFF
I may have stumbled across the ultimate must-have for those 3-Day for the Cure walks that take place in the hot summer months – COOL OFF Wipes. They are incredible! They resemble baby or hand wipes and come in small packages that are easy to toss into your backpack or fanny pack.
You open the package, take out the wipe, shake it, and the coolness is instantly activated. It was such a breath of fresh air to have these wipes along when the afternoon sun was hitting it’s peek. They stayed cool for 20 minutes or so and were so luxurious to rub on the back of my neck, place against my forehead, or to simply hold in my hands.
At one point, on Saturday after I returned to camp, I grabbed a bite to eat, showered and came back to my tent. The sun was even stronger at this point and my tent quickly became a greenhouse. I started to get a little woozy and grabbed a COOL OFF Wipe. Almost instantly as I held it to my face and put it on my neck, I started to feel better. I then guzzled a lot of Gatorade and the dizzy feeling passed.
If you will be on a 3-Day for the Cure walk and the weather is expected to be warm, pick-up a couple of COOL OFF Wipes or maybe bring along a pack of baby wipes. You’ll be thrilled you did.
#7 Take Your Time On The Last Day
On Sunday, I got up early to pack and fold-up my tent so I could leave when the route opened. I didn’t hurry while walking and even stopped at every Pit Stop, Grab n’ Go, and Lunch and still got into the Holding area (where you hang out before Closing Ceremonies) with more than 3 hours to spare.
When I arrived I was greeted by an enthusiastic group of 10 or so people, which I thought was great, and I loved them for it.
However, if I had waited another hour or two I would have been able to walk through lines of hundreds of people all high-fiving and congratulating me – which would have been an amazing memory. Also, there wasn’t a lot to do for those 3 hours. Some music was played, there were slushies to eat, and a slide show to watch, but that could have all been done with an hour to spare
#6 Comfortable Clothing
While this tip may seem like common sense, this weekend I saw walkers adorned in all sorts of outfits. What may be comfortable to you, may not be for me, so to each their own on this one. However, be sure to wear something that fits appropriately and breathes properly as it will be essential in helping you not overheat.
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#5 Backpack versus Fanny Pack
I chose to go with a drawstring backpack and loved it. It distributed any weight I had in it well and was easy to carry. I know others prefer fanny packs because their back sweats and this makes wearing a backpack uncomfortable for them.
I have two suggestions, however, for backpack carriers. The first is to find one with a zipper pouch on the outside or at the top to keep items you may need to reach frequently. The second is to attach a small bag or drawstring pouch to a strap on your backpack because you will be passing a lot of neighborhood residents who want to give you candy – if you want to be polite and take some, but don’t want to eat it right away you can slip it into the small bag dangling from your backpack strap.
I didn’t do this and for every peppermint, Starburst, or piece of licorice that I didn’t want to eat just then, I had to take off my backpack to put it away. It doesn’t sound like much, but after all that mileage extra motions and movement aren’t very welcome!
#4 Bring a Small Camera
I was amazed at the number of walkers I saw and spoke with that didn’t bring a camera. They felt it was too awkward to carry and didn’t want to worry about leaving it somewhere. But you just can’t miss moments like the one above.
One walker showed me her perfect solution – attach your camera to a lanyard around your neck. Obviously this would only work if your camera is small enough, but it was such a great idea. The camera dangled from her neck and she could just grab it and shoot on the spur of the moment. She also never had to take it off when using a port-a-potty so there was no worry about forgetting it or of it falling in -yikes!
#3 Wear the Right Shoes
You may have read this advice multiple times in multiple places, but it’s extremely important. The right shoes are essential on a event like this. I walked in my New Balance 760s and got away with only one small blister. I loved them throughout training. And during the walk they were not only very comfortable, but I also had no issues with my feet perspiring.
I heard stories of others who really struggled with their shoes on the event. One woman even lost her big toenail due to an ill-fitting shoe. And I saw one walker shuffling along on Day 2 in flip-flops because her feet were so badly blistered she couldn’t get her shoes back on. I still cringe just thinking about it.
I like to think I’m pretty resourceful and even frugal, but shoes are definitely an area I would spend money on if you are walking 60 miles in 3 days. The New Balance 760s are the official shoes for the 3-Day for the Cure and I think they are worth every penny.
#2 Don’t Set Your Alarm
On Saturday and Sunday morning, please don’t set your alarm to wake you up. You are sleeping within inches of one another and it will only aggravate those around you.
One of my tent neighbor’s alarms went off at 4:30 am, another neighbor’s at 4:45 am, and yet another at 4:50 am – at that point I was wide awake and annoyed. Not how I wanted to start the morning of such an amazing experience.
There is enough movement around camp from 4 am on, that you will wake up with plenty of time to make the opening of the route. On Sunday everyone in camp is up around 5 am packing and folding up their tents, so there is never a worry that you will oversleep.
#1! Sweet Dreams
There is a lot of advice out there about what to sleep on. Air mattresses, cots, pool floats, etc. I opted for the pool float which I thought would be easiest to pack and no problem to blow-up.
Problem #1 was that I couldn’t find a cheap pool float anywhere. I ended up at a pool supply store where I paid $6 for my float.
Problem #2 was blowing-up the pool float. I didn’t realize that after it sat in my bag on the hot gear truck and then that same bag sat in an open field in the hot sun, the plastic pool float would melt together!
I had to peel it apart and blow it up in 1-inch increments. It was awful and it took me 45 minutes. After walking 20 miles, you are not going to want to spend 45 minutes inside your toasty tent blowing up a pool float. Unless you have an alternative method for blowing it up, spend the extra couple of dollars on an air mattress and compressor – I’ve heard once the mattress and compressor are out of the box they don’t take up much room in your bag.
Those are my top 10 tips. I hope they helped a little. If you have any questions at all about the 3-Day for the Cure please feel free to contact me and I will be more than happy help!