Trying to create balance…

My 2nd walking marathon (part 2) September 18, 2012

{In the first part of this series, I began with the selection and gearing up issues and choices I ran into with walking my second marathon. Now, we’ll move into training and fundraising. Also, now’s as good a time as any to repeat that I am NOT a medical professional, I am NOT your doctor, and I am not a certified personal trainer. Before you decide to do any of the stuff I talk about, go talk to someone who can give you a professional medical opinion.}


Ah, training. My least favorite part of any event – not because I don’t like having to train but because I often find it hard to allocate the time to train. When you’re training for an event that involves speed, like running or swimming, your training is timed around a speed sport. When you’re training for an event that may or may not involve speed but that requires a lot of endurance, your training is timed around building endurance. Walking a marathon isn’t something where you immediately focus on how fast you can do it; the goal is to finish, not necessarily to finish first. And, unlike training for something like a 5K or 10K walk (which I don’t even really train for, after the number of them I’ve done in my life), training to walk 26.2mi can take TIME. Think about it this way: the average non-speedy walking speed is around 15-20min/mile. That means that a 5K (3.1mi) walk should take about 45-60min to complete when not packed in like sardines. A 10K should be double that, so maybe up to 2-1/4hrs. A marathon, however, could then run you anywhere from 6-1/2hrs to 8-3/4hrs.

Imagine trying to train for an event that takes you an entire work day. It’s nuts.

And then there are the logistics, like finding bathrooms along your route (once you’ve mapped a route), staying hydrated and fed, and even HOW to map a route! It adds up to a lot of stress very quickly.

To minimize frustration, I came up with a couple of routes that I could easily tap as standard walks, and I familiarized dh with them so that he would have a general sense of where I’d be when in my training walk. Google Maps has a nice option for doing walking directions; it’s not perfect, but it’s useful enough that you can drag the route around until you find your desired mileage. For me, a 10K is my preferred length for a weekend training walk, since I can’t get 2hrs of dedicated time during any given day in the work-week to walk. Typically, if I can manage to get about one hour a day, 2-3 times a week, I feel like I got a decent set of workouts in for a work-week. On the weekend, at least one longer walk (such as a 10K), makes me feel a lot less like a schlub.

There are training calendars out there that will help you figure out what you need to walk and when, such as these from The Walking Site. Remember, though, that it’s not all about just walking. You have to intermix the walking with other exercises, like strength training or some form of weights work, so that you’re cross-training. Whether you decide to go for personal training or just buy a DVD from Jillian Michaels, there are tons of low-cost, high-value options to help you build strength and insert some variety in your schedule. For me, I found that some of the workouts I did when testing out products I was reviewing, like the Empower Fitness Fingertip Grip Medicine Ball, helped me cross-train. And the stretches I got from the trainer at my gym were ones I used both when I was cooling down from walks and when I was stretching during the marathon walk.

Think of all of these things as tools that go into a toolbox; use what you need when you need it, but fill it as much as you can so that you have the best possible chance for success.

I will admit that I didn’t train as much as I wanted to this summer. Early and often, I let picking up the kids, my husband’s triathlon training schedule, and a whole host of other things give me the excuse as to why I wasn’t working out that day. So, when it came to the day of the marathon, I really didn’t know how I would do. Scary stuff.


The other marathon associated with this walk is the fundraising component. You can raise as little as $300 (or at least that was the minimum this year), and once you cross the threshold of $1250, you start making “Pacesetter” designation. Given that I’m not sure I’ll ever raise another dime for Komen, I wanted to pour all of my effort into this; I decided I REALLY wanted to make Pacesetter.

I started out by leaning on the tools available through the Walk web site. Most events these days have either use a solution from Kintera or make their own Kintera-like setup, so there are the usual reports, e-mail features, etc. I blasted out an e-mail and waited. And waited. And waited. Sigh.

Realizing that my own group of friends and family would be insufficient to get me where I needed to go (and understanding that from the moment I set my goal of $1250), I set up a meeting with the Corporate Social Responsibility team at my office. For some folks, this may be a function embedded within Human Resources; ours is a wholly separate team that handles all of the requests for fundraising events, among other things. Anything related to philanthropy goes through them. Unfortunately, since I work in Rhode Island and live in Massachusetts, I wasn’t able to use all of the internal means we have available in order to promote my events. Ah well. This is where knowing A LOT of people comes in handy. Being shameless also helps, too.

I decided to do two events, the most profitable being an “opportunity drawing”. In any other world, we’d call that a “raffle”, but there’s all kinds of legalese around raffling, whether or not it’s gambling and BLAH BLAH LEGAL BS BLAH. The way it works is simple enough: just come up with a bunch of baskets or gifts that people can donate to get a chance to win. Each donation results in the donor getting tickets. The key thing for it not to be a legal nightmare is to make sure that anybody can participate; if someone had no money (or simply didn’t want to donate) but wanted to get a ticket, I’d give them one. It’s as simple as that. Also, I had to keep the total value of any one gift to no more than $250. OK – easy enough.

I had a few things I pulled together myself, plus a basket donated by a co-worker and a bunch of stuff I got at BlogHer ’12. That raised me enough to get me about 1/3 of the way to my goal, which placed me within striking distance when combined with what I’d gotten from friends and family. A few more reminder e-mails and some pleas on Facebook got me the remainder weeks before the Walk started – and I raised almost $1400. It was really amazing.

Realizing that some long walking events, like the 3-day breast cancer walks, have stiff donation minimums (usually $2000 or more), I can’t imagine trying to raise money without doing something drastic – like opportunity drawings at work, having a lemonade stand, or hitting up extremely rich relatives. It’s hard to raise money when the economy’s somewhat in the tank and people are more worried about making their mortgage payment than cancer research. Still, people opened up their wallets, and I’m sure it helped my cause tremendously that The Jimmy Fund has tremendous name recognition in New England. The fundraising was somewhat stressful, but the help I got from the Walk organizers made it a ton easier (once they had my event information and approved it, I was able to get official materials with the Jimmy Fund Walk logo to use as part of my promotions). Key lesson for those who haven’t done this before: work with the official teams in your office and at the event, since they are there to help you. Most companies like to tout their philanthropic work, so don’t be surprised if they jump at helping to take credit for the good work you do. For me, that’s fine…as long as I get what I need in order to raise the most possible money for charity.

Next post in this series: walking…


4 Responses to “My 2nd walking marathon (part 2)”

  1. Tammy Says:

    I think this might be a really great idea. I hate to run but I can walk forever and I love a goal.

  2. Congrats ~ Found your blog on Google while searching for a related topic, your site came up, it looks good, keep them coming !

  3. […] the prior parts of this series, I talked about selecting a walk & gearing up, training & fundraising, and actually DOING the walk. This last post focuses on the recovery, which was an area where I had […]

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