The decision to take part in a charity walk or race is often a personal one. Many people choose to align themselves with a cause because of something they or someone close to them has been affected by. Illness can often leave people feeling helpless and wondering what to do. Running or walking in a cause related event can give people a feeling of empowerment. Here are three things to consider when signing up for a charitable walk or race.
1. Do you have the time?
Depending on the length or distance of the event, you will need to train properly, particularly if it’s your first event of the type. As an example, the recommended training schedule for a 60-mile walk has its participants slowly work up to being able to walk for 8-10 hours straight. To achieve that, the event coaches tell participants to begin their training 24 weeks prior to the walk. A suggested schedule for week 1 would be minimum of 2 days of walking for 30 minutes to an hour and 2 days of 30-minute light cardio. The schedule intensifies every week. In addition to following a training schedule, you may need to attend meetings or clinics and join a training group. Taking the time to prepare and train properly will help you avoid injury.
2. Can you raise the funds?
Not all events require fundraising, but most do. The rules generally require event participants to meet a minimum goal in order to be part of the event. In addition to meeting a particular goal, most events also have a registration fee. You may be agreeing that directly before or immediately after the event, the balance of any funds short of the minimum goal will be automatically charged to the credit card used to pay the registration fee. Make sure that you will be able to absorb any leftover costs or find out if there is an ‘out’ clause that will allow you to forfeit any funds already raised but skip participating without further charges.
3. Do you have the right gear?
A quality pair of running or walking shoes can be a bit pricey but are well worth the investment. They will be your best weapon against lower back pain, knee pain and, most importantly, blisters! Sometimes it is recommended a person have two pairs of shoes; one to start their training in and another to switch to mid training. Having a slightly newer pair of shoes for the event means less wear and tear and they will still have much of their shock absorption and traction left. Other items to consider purchasing are work out attire, special socks, water bottles, gear for possible inclement weather, themed spirit wear and even sleeping bags for overnight events. Transportation, food and lodging are also things that need to be on the list of considerations.
If you are looking for additional tips, most events have message boards or forums where ‘newbies’ can get advice from the veterans. People who have participated in an event before are probably the best resource. A little knowledge goes a long way toward ensuring the event goes smoothly and, most importantly, is fun!