I am training for Avon39 – The Walk to End Breast Cancer in Santa Barbara this year. This is the seventh walk in as many cities. My first walk was Houston in 2011. The Avon Foundation hosts seven walks in seven cities across the U.S. So, in many ways this walk completes an item on my bucket list: to walk in each host city.
In order to participate, each walker must commit to raising a minimum of $1,800. I have managed to accomplish this, and more, each year due to the generous donations of family, friends, classmates, co-workers, and even complete strangers.
In addition to raising money, walkers are encouraged to train. The walk is 39.3 miles over two days. The first day is 26.2 miles (a marathon). The second day is the remaining 13.1 miles. Each year I have committed to walking 13.1 miles each day for a total of 26.2 miles or a marathon.
Reebok® is an official sponsor of the Avon Walk. They publish a training schedule for us to follow, should we so choose. It’s a wonderful guide, but it is not something I have ever followed. Based on the training options, I am considered an “intermediate” fitness level:
- You currently walk (or do other sustained activity) for 30 minutes or more
- You can run/walk a 5k distance
- You exercise regularly 3-4 times per week
The truth is that if I were to follow one of their training schedules, I would have to select the “beginner” level. In looking at the training schedule, it really is all about endurance. Each week you increase your total mileage for the week. I’ve been walking one mile a day for a couple of months now. Recently, I decided to try to increase my weekly total by adding a mile to at least three days a week. I started with 9 training miles per week. Two weeks ago I managed (almost) 11 training miles.
I’ll be honest. While I do try to walk a mile each day, some weeks it just doesn’t happen. Due to obligations that take me away from my daily routine I do not always try to find a way to walk that mile. Conferences are a perfect example. While hotels do have a fitness room, I find that I never pack my sneakers or a t-shirt. My excuse is lack of room in my suitcase. Other times I’m busy with commitments and I don’t build in the time to take that walk.
What I have found is that consistently walking, even a few days a week, has built up my endurance. I find that if I sit too long at my desk I want to get up and move; take a short walk around my building or home. I also find that it is easier to walk that first mile, and the second one is kind of fun. I have a teammate who does her training walks on the weekends. She has been trying to increase her pace. Recently she shared that this week’s training walk “didn’t even hurt.”
And that is the result I am striving for. To walk more each week so that 13.1 miles per day is feasible.
If you would like to support my fundraising efforts, consider a $49 tax-deductible donation ($7 x 7 years).
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