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.


Move Out!!

September 3rd, 2010 | Posted by john in At the Walk - (Comments Off on Move Out!!)

When the time for the event comes, sometimes you can plan so much that you forget some of the most important things about participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.  Namely, how to get your stuff to the event and then back home.  As trivial as this may seem, leaving it until the last minute is not a good decision.  Just like everything else on the 3-Day this part of your journey also requires planning in advance.

Getting There

For those of you that are traveling from out of town and staying at one of the 3-Day recommended hotels, getting to the event is probably the easiest for you (of course, this doesn’t take into account the airfare and getting from the airport to the hotel and everything else, but we’re just talking about getting to the event in the morning for now).  The reason for this is because you will be able to take the shuttle directly from your hotel to opening ceremonies.  This is great and I highly recommend it, even for those of you that have loved ones traveling with you.  It is much better to let them sleep in so that they can show up at the cheering stations well rested and happy!  Besides, the shuttle gives you the opportunity to meet new walkers as you make your way to opening ceremonies and you don’t have to worry about any long car lines as you wait to get into the event.

Options for those of you that live in the host city are a little different.  I’m assuming that you’re not going to stay in one of the 3-Day hotels overnight when you could be staying in your own bed.  With that in mind, you have a couple of different options.  First requires having someone who either likes you a lot, owes you a favor or both.  The first year that I participated in the 3-Day, I had a good friend of mine, Chris Puyear, my mom (and teammate) and I to the event.  It required him getting up very early and if I had any other options I would have let Chris sleep in.  The second year, my sister (and teammate) had her husband drive us to the event.  Her husband is much more of an early person than any of my family so this worked out well.

The third year of the 3-Day, our team of three went in together and got a town car to pick us up and take us there.  This was nice because we could all split the cost and none of our friends or family had to wake up extremely early and trudge across town to make sure we could participate in the 3-Day.  He even drove us by a fast food place on the way to pick up breakfast!

The last option that is available to you is to drive to the event yourself.  I don’t recommend doing this and I’m not sure if you can park at all of the events.  The first year, one of my teammates opted to drive herself instead of joining us and ended up having to pay $20 to park and then after the event was over had to go pick up her car there before she could drive the thirty to forty-five minutes home.

Before I wrote that last paragraph I was going to say that there is no wrong way to get to the 3-Day as long as you get there, but I can’t in good faith recommend you driving there.  Find an option from one of the others available to you if at all possible before you decide to drive yourself, it will just make your whole experience a lot less stressful.

Getting Back!

Before we talk about the event being over and trying to get back to wherever it is you go for the night, I need to mention this.  If you plan to stay at the 3-Day hotel AFTER the event and want to take the shuttle you will need to purchase a ticket for the shuttle.  If I am not mistaken, you need to purchase this on the first night in camp, but I am hoping one of the readers will correct me if I am wrong.  I have been lucky enough to have someone able to pick me up at closing ceremonies for all of the walks.

Speaking of having someone pick you up at closing ceremonies, I cannot recommend enough having someone come to closing ceremonies.  There are two reasons for this.  First, they really need to see closing ceremonies.  It’s an emotional thing and it’s the culmination of all that you have done for the past three days so your loved ones and friends should really think about joining you in it.  Second, if you get someone to come to closing ceremonies then they can carry your bag back to the car.  If they get there early enough, like my brother in law did last year, then they can even get your back back to their car before you even step out of the holding area.  That way you don’t have to stress out or worry about finding your bag at all!  If you have family or friends anywhere near the city that you are walking in, definitely get them to come along, if not for you then for them!

Now, if you don’t have friends or family at the event and you aren’t staying at a 3-Day hotel after the event, it’s not the end of the world.  The gear and tent crew does an amazing job of getting all the bags out and ready to go in as much order as possible.  You will see the sign with the letter of the tent you were assigned and you just have to find your bag in the group of people that shared the same letter, not everyone on the walk.  I’m pretty certain that there are taxis that are there to pick people up.  I have seen them after the events.  However, if you have a team and you are wise enough to plan in advance, it might be a good idea to arrange for a town car or other car service to pick you up so that it is reserved and you know that they will be there for you when everything is over.

Again, the key to any of these things is being prepared and planning ahead.  Do that and you’ll do just fine, no matter what kind of ways you choose to get to and from the 3-Day.


Leanne Johnston’s Favorite 3-Day Moments!

September 2nd, 2010 | Posted by john in Interviews - (Comments Off on Leanne Johnston’s Favorite 3-Day Moments!)

Leanne Johnston, Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure Online Ambassador, joins us again this week, but this time to talk about her favorite 3-Day moments.  Give it a watch and then go visit Leanne’s web site at:


Post-Walk Happenings

August 26th, 2010 | Posted by john in At the Walk - (1 Comments)

The walk is over. You’ve done 60 miles, you’ve got the shirt to prove it, so what happens now? The answer largely depends on what type of person you are and how you feel after the walk. This week I’m going to write about what you might think about doing, what to plan and what not to and also some hints for the family of walkers on what they can do to make transition back to non-3-Day life easier.

Walker Plans

I’m going to start by saying that it is probably a good idea to not have any solid plans for after the walk. I didn’t really think about this until this year because I had never taken the time to plan anything. But this year, Jen Hammel, who has shared her 3-Day moment on here, had a fund raiser at a pub that sounded like a lot of fun. I made plans in advance and really wanted to go. In years past I hadn’t had many issues with injuries so I figured that it wouldn’t be a huge problem. If you read my 3-Day recap for the Boston walk this year then you know that I developed a case of painful shin splints. At the end of the walk I just wanted to spend some time with my wife and have a quiet dinner with just the two of us.

Really, I have found that the best plans are made with your team during the last five miles or so of the walk. That way, you know pretty much how you are feeling and can make the appropriate choice. By doing it then, you still have enough time to discuss exactly what it is that you want to do and get word out to friends and family that you want there.

All that being said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to go home and crawl into bed after the walk. It’s a tough event and no one will fault you with wanting to take the night off.

So hopefully by now you’ve gotten through the night let’s touch briefly on Monday. If this is your first walk, I would seriously consider taking Monday off of work if you go to work. As I said above, you don’t really have an idea how your body is going to feel after the wall, so plan for the worst and hope that it feels better than that. If you really feel good, you can always go into work anyway, but you don’t have to. I won’t tell anyone you feel great.

For Family

Hopefully as a family member you also read the walker section of this post as well, because a lot of it still applies. I know that for the first year that I walked in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day For the Cure, my wife wasn’t sure what to do when I got home. She went to a site online and found some suggestions that she thought sounded very good to help take care of someone who just walked 60 miles.

I really appreciated the work that she put into it and there were many things that she did for me that were great. There were also several things that weren’t for me. I think the key thing here is to use some sense. Things like getting the house clean for when they come home is a no-brainer. Maybe your walker likes hot baths normally, now might be a good time to offer to run a bath.

I think that the key thing is not necessarily providing everything that a walker could possibly want, I think it’s more offering to do the things that you think they will want.  I know that as a walker, while it’s nice to be pampered after the walk I also don’t want to be treated like an invalid.  My wife has done a really good job of striking that balance.  I’ll say that there is not specific formula for all walkers since we are all different.  With that being said, here are some things to keep in mind with your walker:

  • If they want to go to bed when they get home, it’s not because they don’t want to spend time with you.  They have just had a very long three days and were most likely sleeping on the ground during it.
  • If they are willing to stay awake with you, invite them to talk about the 3-Day.  Personally, I could probably talk about it until I’m blue in the face but I don’t want to overwhelm my wife with details so I try not to talk about it a ton unless she asks.  Even doing that, I probably still talk about it too much.  As a supporter, don’t take all this talk as something that you’re excluded from.  Quite the opposite, all the experiences that we talk about for the 3-Day wouldn’t be possible without the help and support from our family and friends, you’re a part of it and we want to share it with you.
  • If you have kids, be prepared to relate all the details of their lives over the past three days.  This is pretty simple and I think goes without saying, but we miss the whole family while we are out walking.
  • I think I can generally say that all the walkers and crew would love a massage.  If it’s possible, talk to them about the possibility of scheduling a massage for them a day or two after the walk.  Then schedule it and pay for it so that they don’t have to do anything other than show up!
  • This last one really isn’t necessarily post-walk, but it is important.  Come to closing ceremonies.  Bring your family and friends to closing ceremonies!  Bring their family and friends to closing ceremonies!  Bring all those people to the cheering stations!  Your support is a huge thing to help us get through this, having you there is amazing!

So to sum up, for walkers don’t plan until the end of the walk.  This is one area where failing to plan is not planning to fail, it’s just practical for what you’re going through.  Family of walkers: show your support and run things by your walker to see what they want to do and don’t take offense if all they want is to curl up in bed!


Why Leanne Johnston Walks!

August 25th, 2010 | Posted by john in Interviews - (2 Comments)

Leanne Johnston is a veteran walker and 3-Day for the Cure online ambassador had this to share about why she walks. After watching why she walks, you should go check out her web site at: