Things to think about before you put on those walking shoes and while you are walking
We hear and read a lot about how to prepare for a charity run. It’s even been the subject of a number of films – such as Simon Pegg’s “Run, Fat Boy, Run”. However, if you are doing a charity walk, it’s just as important to be prepared. This simple checklist can be personalised for you to help you get the most out of your walk for charity.
Why am I doing this walk?
Chances are there’s a clear reason you decided to get involved in this walk. One of the biggest charity walks near where I live in Birmingham, UK, is the Breakthrough Breast Cancer 5K. Participants wear pink and complete 5 kilometres however they want – running or walking. This is a highly personal journey for many. Most of the participants wear the name of someone in their family who has been affected by this cancer on their running vests and it is hard not to be moved when you see that people are dedicating the day to their mother, grandmother, sister or wife. Remember why and who you are walking for and allow that memory to guide you. This can be a time to reflect if you need it to be.
On the other hand, charity walks do not necessarily need to be serious occasions. Having fun will help you get through the journey if it is a long way or you’re not used to walking far. If you have signed up to the local Halloween zombie walk, or are taking the children on a springtime stroll for a good cause, you could be laughing the whole way round.
What should I wear?
Things to check before you set foot out the door to attend the charity walk:
- What is the weather going to be like?
Put on sun lotion if the sun will be strong; bring a waterproof coat if it will rain. If it’s cold, the best solution will be to wear layers and take a lightweight bag – this way if you do warm up you can adjust your clothing and you can cover up quickly if temperature drops.
- Wear the best shoes for the job.
People frequently post pictures of the new running shoes they’ve bought for the marathon they are training for on Facebook – or at least that’s what I see in my new stream! Walking shoes with good grip, waterproof material and good arch support can make all the difference. If they look good as well as being comfortable that’s a bonus!
- Do you have a number, walking vest, colour or special item of clothing you need to wear?
Don’t forget to put it on! This is probably less easy to forget if you are doing the walk in a chicken costume– in this case you might just want to make sure all the pieces of the costume are there.
- Grab a bottle of water and stay hydrated!
How shall I warm up?
Warming up is still going to benefit you for a walk. Stretch your legs, especially your calf muscles, swing your arms in circles and circle your hips as though you are slow motion hula hooping. Some lunges and star jumps will also help you loosen up and get the blood flowing. This will help you get off to a great start, rather than warming up as you walk.
What should I do during the walk?
Remember to smile and have fun! Hopefully you will have great weather and a scenic route to enjoy, but there are always sights to see when you walk wherever you are, which we all miss when we drive. If you are walking with friends, family, neighbours or co-workers, chances are there will be plenty to talk and laugh about whilst you walk. If you are taking the challenge alone, this is a good place to meet new people, as the good cause brings like-minded individuals from throughout the community together. Sharing the stories behind your walk can bring people together. If you are shy, listen to your favourite song on headphones but pluck up the courage to say hello, especially when you get to the end. There may be a meet up organised for after the walk, so go ahead and join in!
After the walk you deserve to give yourself a big pat on the back – well done for completing the walk. Whether you have raised awareness of a great cause, raised money or just raised your hand to be counted when someone asked you to join, there’s an achievement to celebrate. You might even have made some new friends along the way. Who knows – maybe you enjoyed it so much you’ll be back next year?
This is a guest post from Liz at World Vision UK, the international aid organisation where you can sponsor a boy or girl and change a life forever. If you are planning a charity walk soon, we would like to wish you the best of luck for your day!