March 31st, 2011 | Posted by john in Training Tips - (Comments Off on Bags!)

With April showers looming a day away (it always starts pouring on the first day of April, right?) I thought it would be fitting to write about one of my favorite items of rain gear. Truth be told, it is often my only item of rain gear since I don’t mind getting wet myself as long as it isn’t freezing. So read on and you will see how I turned baggies into their own post, albeit a short one.

I have written in here several times about how I always make sure to pack ziplock bags (though it doesn’t have to be any particular brand, but everyone understands what I mean when I say ziplock). They are handy for a variety of things and I thought I would spend a little time talking about what I use them for and why I pack them not only for the event but also for every training walk that I go on.

Phone Case

My phone is probably the most expensive thing that I carry with me on the walk. I use it as a phone, camera, video camera plus a device to update my social networking and blog stuff. When it rains, the last thing that I want to happen is for my phone to get damaged from water. While it is not always in it, I always have a spare bag for it in the event of inclement weather.

On a training walk last year, we got hit by some unexpected rain when we were still several miles from the cars. Thankfully, I carried enough bags not only to keep my phone dry, but also to let the people I was walking with snag a bag and keep theirs dry. I found out something neat on that day. If you have a touch screen phone, you can still use the touch screen through the bag! I was even able to place a call through it, but the audio was understandably a little muffled.

First Aid

Everything that I put into a first aid kit usually goes into a baggie. I separate it out by type: one bag for pills like ibuprofen and stuff, one bag for band aids (the wrappers done stand up to moisture very well even if it’s not raining!), the tape I use for blisters (it will stick to everything you put with it and it’s a lot easier to get it unstuck from a bag than say a sock).


Yes, I have said ti store your socks in baggies before, but I thought I should say it again. There are two reasons that I like to use baggies for socks:

1. To keep them dry before I get them on my feet.

2. To keep the smelly used socks from stinking up the rest of my gear.

Enough Reasons, Here’s Some More Details

When you are buying bags for y our 3-Day for the Cure experience or for a simple training walk, I recommend a variety of bag sizes depending on what you are carrying. I use snack size bags for things like pills, my phone and other smaller items. I use sandwich size bags for socks, my foot tape and other items of medium size. Then when it comes to packing I get the one and two gallon sizes to fit clothes in, plus garbage bags for anything larger.

I realize that writing a post about baggies is probably not the most interesting thing to write about, but I figured that it is something that I take with me every time I go, so I should probably write about it for people that haven’t thought about it! Don’t forget to bring extra baggies!


Setting Goals

September 28th, 2010 | Posted by john in Fund Raising Tips | Training Tips - (3 Comments)

If you have looked into your participant center and seen the “Goal” section then you know as well as anyone that setting goals for yourself on the 3-Day is an important thing.  Goals will help you keep going and give you something to shoot for as you make your way towards and on your 3-Day journey.  But the goals that you focus on may or may not be related to fund raising.

As I see it, there are there are several different categories of goals.  This week, I hope to cover what I see as some of the different categories and maybe mention what my goals have been through the years.  Hopefully it will inspire you to expand your goals for this year or years in the future on the 3-Day.

Planned Controllable Goals

Planned controllable goals are just that.  Goals that you set out in your plan at the beginning of the year that you have a good deal of control over.  Sure, everything in the world has some outside influence on the outcome of your goals, but there are things that you have more control over than others.  For instance, the economy could have a negative influence on your fund raising, but you still have control over the methods you use to fund raise and the amount that you put into your fund raising.  You may have a goal to finish all 60 miles.  Yes, injury could take you out of that, but a good deal of control lies in your hands for how much you train to get you ready enough to hopefully make it through the walk without being injured.

Ok, so here’s my planned controllable goals this year:

  1. Complete two 3-Day walks this year.  I am halfway through with this goal!
  2. Raise the minimum fund raising for both walks and do it before the end of May.  This one was accomplished thanks to some awesome friends and family and of course the guys at
  3. Use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to raise donations.  In the past I had used some Facebook to do this, but I really wanted to push myself further with the use of Social Medial and fund raising.  I think this goal is accomplished.  I had a lot of donations from my video fund raising series and am still getting donations on both Facebook and Twitter thanks to the Winners Choice Sweepstakes.
  4. Raise a good deal of money going door to door.  So far I have raised over $800 and I’m still plugging away at it, so I would say it’s a success.

Planned Uncontrollable Goals

The next type of goal is one that you plan but you have much less control over.  In my mind, these tend to be the larger goals or the goals that you are in competition with others for.  It may be that you can put a ton of effort in there, but if the goal is too large or the competition is too stiff then you might not be able to achieve your goal.  Since these goals are larger and more long term usually than the controlled goals, they are a good way to stay motivated to keep fund raising or training or talking to people about the 3-Day moving even after I have achieved the minimum set forth by the 3-Day.  Personally, these are goals that I don’t usually share with anyone, but as time goes on, if I am making great strides towards my goals it becomes apparent to some people in my life.  Here are what my planned uncontrollable goals set this year are:

  1. Raise $20,000 – This is one that I hadn’t told anyone but the team from Boston and then only because at our first team meeting the question was asked what our goals were.  I realize that this is a fund raising goal and I could really push it and make the goal, but with the balance that I’m trying to maintain there are just to many variables to say that I can do it.  So far though, I am at about $17,000 so I would call it a success even if I don’t meet my goal.
  2. Be the top fund raiser in Dallas – This was one of my goals last year too and I didn’t make it, but that doesn’t mean that I should stop trying.  Currently I am leapfrogging with another walker over who the top fund raiser is, so I’m trying to pull out all of the stops to raise as much money as possible to achieve this goal.  I would REALLY like to make this one.

If there is anyone that would like to help me achieve one of the above goals, please donate whatever you can at  Anything that you can donate to help me reach those goals would be hugely appreciated!

Unplanned Goals

All of the goals that I have mentioned so far have been things that, at the beginning of the year, I have planned to strive for.  This next section is for those things that cropped up through the year that I decided to make a goal of even if I hadn’t thought of it before.  This could be anything.  I am pretty sure that Jay Furr had an unplanned goal to walk in 3 3-Day walks this year.  He didn’t start out doing this, but as circumstances changed he realized that it was a possibility and set his goal to do it.  My unplanned goal this year was to be an Energizer® Keep Going® Blogger.  It came up after I had set my goals and sounded like a great thing to try out for.  There was some fantastic competition and somehow I was chosen for Dallas.

The Point

So what’s the point of all this?  It’s definitely not labeling the goals that you have.  If that were the point I could have come up with a lot better names than I did.  Something like “The Super Terrific Awesome Sparkly Goal”.  No, the point is realizing that having goals on the 3-Day, just as in life, helps you realize where you need to be going so that you can determine the best way to get there.  Once you have the goals you can start your way to accomplishing them.  How you get there is entirely up to you!

What about you?  What are your goals for the 3-Day either this year or next?  I’d really like to know, please comment and share them!


Get Crossed

September 8th, 2010 | Posted by john in Training Tips - (Comments Off on Get Crossed)

If you’re like me, you have looked at the recommended 3-Day for the Cure training schedule and seen the “Cross Training” days and said to yourself, “I don’t need to cross train!  Those can just be rest days!”  Really, until recently I didn’t understand the importance and value of cross training, especially when it comes to an event like the 3-Day.  All it took was a question about shin splints.

Last week I visited my doctor and had the full intention of asking her about shin splints and then writing a post on here about that conversation.  There was a series of tweets on Twitter recently and it made me think about that.  Well, the conversation about shin splints didn’t turn up a whole lot more information than what I had already found online, but the conversation naturally turned to something else.

I also asked her about knee health.  When I had my shin splints, I overcompensated for the pain and as a result, my knee in the other leg started hurting.  It took quite awhile for that to go away, I would think it was gone but then go out on a training walk and then come back.  In fact, this past Monday was the first time I had walked since the Boston 3-Day that I didn’t have knee pain.  At any rate, that got me to thinking about overall knee health and what I could do to make sure that I didn’t have chronic knee pain that would potentially cause me to not be able to complete a 3-Day.  It would take a lot to do that, but I still wanted to look out to the future and be doing the things now that would be a benefit in the long run.

She told me that there are a number of things that can cause knee problems that you have under control.  The first thing that she mentioned was weight.  This made sense to me, the more weight that those joints have to support, the more likely it is that they will wear out.  So, in my mind there was nothing earth shattering there.

Second was flip flops.  “Flip flops?” I asked.  Apparently because of their lack of cushion and support for the feet, wearing flip flops can have a long term effect on your knees.  She even told me that she had teen athletes that she had treated that had knee and back problems that she felt could be at least partially attributed to them wearing flip flops.  So that did take me a bit by surprise.  After all, our kids wear flip flops.  It’s the easiest shoe to get them on their feet and out the door quickly during the summer.

The last thing she mentioned was cross training.  At first I didn’t understand.  After all, cross training could potentially put more strain on the knees depending on what you were doing.  Riding a bike I would think would cause a lot of wear down from repetitive motion problems.  Apparently though, it’s not the joint itself that necessarily benefits from cross training.

She told me that what cross training does is strengthens a broader diversity of muscles.  Look at it this way:  If you are a 3-Day walker and all you do to train is walk, then the only real muscle development will be in the muscles that are required to walk.  A lot of injuries can apparently happen by having one group of muscles overdeveloped and another group of muscles not so.  In fact, I’ll tie this back into shin splints and say that one of the causes I found mentioned when I did my online research into them said that a potential cause of them can be an imbalance in the strength of the shin muscle with the calf muscle.  There were several other potential causes listed, but I think this one illustrates the point and benefits of cross training quite well.

So even if it seems unnecessary to do the cross training, there are benefits of doing it.  Yes, like a lot of other things regarding training, you CAN get through the 3-Day without doing them.  I’ve walked in four events without cross training and for the most part did pretty well.  However, after thinking about the long term benefits of doing it, I will definitely start doing cross training.  I don’t want to just walk this year.  I want to continue walking until the threat of breast cancer is eliminated.  And to do that, I need to keep in mind my long term health.  I hope that you’ll do the same.


I’m Bored!!!

June 15th, 2010 | Posted by john in Training Tips - (5 Comments)

When you read through your Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walker handbook, you may think to yourself, “Geez, what am I going to do on all those long training walks, it’s going to be so boring!”. After all, while you are walking, you should not be listening to an MP3 player, using your phone, updating Twitter, posting blog posts or sending text messages. All of these are prohibited with good reason, too keep you safe. But it does bring up the question, what ARE you going to do on that 18 mile walk. This week I’ll explore some of your options and also ask you to post comments of any other suggestions you may have!

Bring a Friend

The most obvious solution is to bring a friend along with you for the walk. Now you notice that I didn’t say, bring a teammate. While your teammate probably qualifies as a friend, there are many walkers who either do not walk on a team or if they are on a team they don’t live near any of their teammates. So ask your non-3-Day friends if they would walk with you. I’m not suggesting that you bring them along on a full 12 mile walk, but tell them you’re going on a 12 mile walk and see if they would walk 4 of them with you. That way you’re not scaring them with 12 miles, but you have 4 miles that goes a lot quicker. Because when you’re talking with friends the miles will go a lot quicker than when you’re by yourself.

Count the Lions

On my first 3-Day Kandice, my team captain, and I came up with a game that kind of alleviated some of the boredom. You can do this on training walks too and while it is probably more fun with multiple people you can still do it on your own. As we walked through our first day, we started noticing that there were a lot of houses that had stone lions out front. A lot of them looked oddly out of place. We decided to start counting every time we saw a lion (even though there were two at most houses we still counted individually to make sure to include the houses with only 1 or with more than 2 lions).

It kept us on our toes about being aware of our surroundings and was kind of fun at the end of the day to say, “wow, we saw 37 lions today”. Maybe the area that you are walking in doesn’t have lions, but I’m sure if you look around long enough you’ll find some oddity that a lot of people have that you can start counting to help tick away the time a little bit. Keep in mind that since this game is only really occurring when you see the lions, you can play this with some of the other suggestions. Thanks to Kandice for playing count the lions with me!

Blog-Fund Raiser

I walk a lot by myself and I use a lot of this time to think about what I’m going to write in my next blog or what I’m going to do for my next fund raiser. I even thought up the idea for this post when I was walking a week or two ago. Most of the script for the first week of my video fund raiser I thought about and went over in my head many times on a walk before I even recorded it. Yes, it’s not necessarily hugely entertaining but I have found that it makes the miles go by a little quicker.

3-Day Alphabet

This is a game that I’m not sure I ever played but it makes me think of childhood car games. Basically the goal of this game is to go through the entire alphabet saying things that are related to the 3-Day that begin with the letter you are on. For Instance:

A – Arch Support
B – Body Glide
C – Camel Back

And so forth. If you’re playing with friends, take turns and go through the entire alphabet. It gets harder as you, so I don’t feel bad about giving some suggestions for the first three.

Sing a Song

While it may occasionally get you strange looks from people that don’t understand that you’re walking on a very long walk, singing can actually help pass the time. You can sing a song you already know, something that’s on the radio or go back to your days at camp and pick something from there! If you can’t think of anything, you could make up your own song. Since you’re only singing it for you, it doesn’t even have to be a good song!

Team Building

Another thing that I like to try to do while I walk is think about how I can get more people on the team. I like to think about my friends and who I think might be willing to join and raise the money and do the walk. If I think of some that might be good, I think of how I would approach them to get them to walk. Another way that you can think of team building is if you have a friend walking with you from the first suggestion. Now would be a great time to tell them about why you’re walking on the 3-Day and what a great cause it is that all these funds are going to and about the great experience walking on the walk. I’m not saying to accost them and make them not want to walk with you again, but sometimes just sharing your experience from the 3-Day is enough to get people interested in joining up. At the very least it allows you to spread more awareness about the cause!

So those are my few suggestions about alleviating some of the boredom while you are out doing training walks. Got an idea that I missed? Post it to the comments so that everyone can see it!


Don’t Risk Defeat by The Feet!

April 9th, 2010 | Posted by john in Training Tips - (3 Comments)

A lot of first time walkers (I did this too when I was a first time walker) will ask, “I don’t really need to do that much training do I? I’m active and in shape, it shouldn’t be too hard to do this.” In my first year I trained, but not nearly as much as I should have. I just felt like I could keep going on and on forever and it didn’t matter the mile count. True, I did finish, but my feet were in terrible shape and I was incredibly sore for more than a week after the event. After that, I realized that all the training walks that you do going up to the 3-Day for the Cure are not just so you can have done so many miles and be better prepared to just go the difference, in my mind there are actually three reasons (other than walking long distances) to do as much training as you can before the event. Here they are.

Pay Attention to Your Feet

The largest benefit that I think I got out of doing the many training walks was to learn how to pay attention to my feet. When you haven’t done a lot of walking, you don’t necessarily know that the right hand ball of your right foot tends to get hot spots and blisters. Knowing that, you can make sure to tape that section of your foot up before you start walking and have it not become a problem. It also means that when you’re out walking and you start to feel something different on your foot, you know that it’s a problem because you’re aware of what your feet should feel like after walking 6,12, or 18 miles.

Directly hand in hand with this is how to take care of your feet when you know there is a problem. There are lots of things that people will do to help out their feet. I use NexCare tape, but lots of other people use moleskin, Vaseline, body glide, blister band aids and much more. You won’t know what works for you unless you get out there, train, and experience the foot problems that you are likely to get on the walk.

Don’t Be So Callous

Actually, that’s not true. You need to be callous. In fact, being callous is reason number 2 for doing the training walks. As you do these many miles leading up to the walks, your feet are going to build up callouses. A lot of people have already said this in many places, but it bears repeating. Don’t go get a pedicure and scrape off the callouses that you have trained to build up. Callouses will help prevent blisters and you want to have them around for the walk.

Pace Yourself

I didn’t really realize this last reason to do training walks until the third year that I walked. Training with different paces is important. When you do the 3-Day for the Cure, you are going to be walking with thousands of other people. There are times when those people will not walk as fast as you want to go. There will be times when you walk slower. There is no right pace for walking 60 miles, but when you get among those other people and adrenaline takes over you will some times end up walking faster than you are used to. This can end up hurting muscles and also cause unnecessary blisters (as if there is a necessary blister) because you are walking at a pace you haven’t trained at and your body is moving in a way it is unaccustomed to in order to keep up.

To try and avoid some of the problems with this, you need to train at different paces. One day, you might go all out as fast as you can for an extended period, one day you might walk very slow. The key is to get used to training at multiple paces so that when you get excited that you met someone new and want to walk with them, you don’t kill yourself going their pace. If you look at the training walk plan that the 3-Day for the Cure provides you, you will see that they also recommend training at different paces.

So in answer to the question of “do I have to do all these training walks?” No, you don’t, but the more that you do, the better you will feel during and after your 60 miles. And let’s face it, it’s a lot more fun to walk into closing ceremonies than to hobble into closing ceremonies.