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Training begins today!

Written by on May 7, 2013 at 10:13 am

Hello, Challengers!

I wanted to check in with you and see the status of your training. We are now 18 weeks out from the MS Challenge Walk and I thought I'd give you some motivational tips and information to help get you going!

To train correctly for this event, you need to progress slowly and listen to your body at all times. First, begin by adjusting the frequency of you walking, then the duration and finally the intensity.  The essential components of a good walking program are warm-up, walk, cool-down, stretching and strength training. We have an 18-week training schedule you can follow that will get you ready for the walk, starting with a three-mile walk today!

Five Good Reasons to Start Walking (besides the MS Challenge Walk)

  1. Reduces cholesterol levels
  2. Decrease high blood pressure
  3. Reduces risk of heart disease
  4. Increase energy
  5. Decreases stress

Five Ways to Incorporate Walking into Your Daily Life

  1. Walk your dog (or someone else's dog — with permission, of course!)
  2. Take a pre- or post-dinner walk. This is a great time to just be by yourself or take along your family for some quality time with them!
  3. Skip the elevator and take the stairs
  4. Do errands on foot, or park in the rear of the parking lot and walk to the store
  5. Walk to work — even if you telecommute, take a half-hour each morning to do a lap around the neighborhood, ending at your "office"

Five Steps to Take to be Successful

  1. Make a commitment to yourself
  2. Reserve time in your schedule
  3. Create a habit first
  4. Establish your long and short term goals
  5. Reward yourself when you meet your goals (a new bestseller, tickets to a concert or play, etc)

Beginning in June, we will be hosting MS Challenge Walk Group Trainings. I'll keep you informed on those dates as we get closer to June!  As this is my first Challenge Walk, I will be training every step of the way with you all!

Registered walkers should have received all your materials in the mail by now; if you have not, please let me knowThe recommended training schedule is in your guide and located online on our website. It’s time to dust off those sneakers (if you haven’t already) and get moving!  Be sure to contact me if you have any questions, otherwise I’ll be in touch with you soon.

Aileen is the Development Manager for the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society responsible for the 2013 Challenge Walk. She has interned with the National MS Society at the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter with Program Events and is looking forward to working closely with the Steering Committee and Challenge Walk Teams to make this year's MS Challenge Walk a memorable one!

Training for those 50 miles

Written by on May 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm

If you live in Massachusetts like I do, the snow has cleared and it's time to start thinking about your walking program. Here are some motivational tips and information to help get you going.

To train correctly for this event, you need to progress slowly and listen to your body at all times. First, begin by adjusting the frequency of your walking: we have several training schedules available to help you build up your regularity. Then slowly increase the time spent walking, and then the speed, or intensity. Through it all, remember the essential steps of a good walking program are to warm-up, walk, cool-down, stretching and strength training.

Here are some other positive aspects and techniques to keep in mind:

Five Good Reasons to Start Walking (besides the MS Challenge Walk)

  1. Reduces cholesterol levels
  2. Decrease high blood pressure
  3. Reduces risk of heart disease
  4. Increase energy
  5. Decreases stress

Five Ways to Incorporate Walking into Your Daily Life

  1. Walk your dog (or someone else's dog — with permission, of course!)
  2. Take a pre- or post-dinner walk. This is a great time to just be by yourself or take along your family for some quality time with them!
  3. Skip the elevator and take the stairs
  4. Do errands on foot, or park in the rear of the parking lot and walk to the store
  5. Walk to work — even if you telecommute, take a half-hour each morning to do a lap around the neighborhood, ending at your "office"

Five Steps to Take to be Successful

  1. Make a commitment to yourself
  2. Reserve time in your schedule
  3. Create a habit first
  4. Establish your long and short term goals
  5. Reward yourself when you meet your goals (a new bestseller, tickets to a concert or play, etc)

It's time to dust off those sneakers (if you haven't already) and get moving!

Lori is the Executive Vice President of Resource Development for the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society. She has been with the Society for over 10 years. MS Challenge Walk holds a special place in her heart, and every year, it inspires her to continue her work on behalf of the 19,000 people with MS and their families the chapter supports.

Destination in mind

Written by on July 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm

I'll admit, doing something like the Challenge Walk is out of character for me. I'm a destination walker: I walk to get to where I'm going. Even though I like the idea of going out for a stroll for fun or exercise, it's darn hard for me to get off my rear unless there's a real end to my journey — the grocery store, my job, Starbucks… So I knew I was going to have to think of something creative to get myself training for this walk.

I found an easy way to do a little more training right off the bat. I work about a mile away from where I live, and walk there every day. With the help of Google Maps' walking directions, I found a way to make my usual route about a half a mile longer. As an added plus, it's a lot more scenic — instead of walking past a mile of apartment buildings and busy intersections, I take my time and loop around a nearby park area, complete with a walking path and a pond filled with excitable geese. My destination remains the same, but I can take an extra ten minutes to see a prettier part of town and get my feet used to walking greater distances. In another month or so, I hope to reevaluate my route and change it to make the trek even longer.

Chill frozen yogurt

Tart frozen yogurt can be a powerful motivator!

Of course, an extra half-mile per day is helpful, but I won't be ready for 30 miles unless I start doing some distance, too! My solution for my motivation problem is basically shameless self-bribery. If I'm feeling hungry for frozen yogurt, I can "earn" it by walking a huge loop around the neighborhood that ends at my favorite frozen yogurt shop. What's more, I can find interesting-sounding coffee shops or ice cream stores that are reasonably far away from me as destinations, using training time to get better acquainted with my neighborhood. Somehow, the walk home always seems shorter with something cold and delicious in hand!

I'm hoping to slowly break out of my tendency to be a destination walker, or at least better remember that not all destinations are physical locations. The Challenge Walk's destination is may physically be Cape Cod, but it's actually a world without MS, and I hope to walk all the way there — though I might show up with a frappe in hand.

Kahmmie was a first-year walker in 2010 and had just started to get involved with the MS community, with the inspiration of her then significant other, Ken, this site's webmaster. She lived in the Boston area and attended graduate school full-time.

An invitation to one-day walks

Written by on April 9, 2010 at 2:19 pm

One-day walks logoFifty kilometers can seem like a vast undertaking — but it's easier to conceive and accomplish by breaking it into smaller chunks. Nobody who doesn't want the mother of all blisters walks 50K without having first walked many smaller distances.

A great way to begin this training and to experience what it means to be part of the larger NMSS walking community is to participate in a one-day walk. The Greater New England Chapter coordinates these three- to five-mile fundraising events events throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. In case you missed it in Kara's last update, there is no registration fee or fundraising minimum for Challenge Walkers — and even if you or your friends aren't registered yet, the fundraising is a modest $25.

The first one-day walks are being held this weekend, with plenty more occurring throughout April and May, and a final round in September. I'll be riding bicycle support in Worcester tomorrow and will be walking in Laconia next month. At these walks and all others, you'll find yourself surrounded and assisted by dedicated, grateful, and cheerful volunteers. See the full schedule and sign up today to begin the journey that is the MS Challenge Walk!

Ken, an Arlington resident, joined the MS Challenge Walk in 2005, more than a decade after his mother was diagnosed. After walking for three years and 150 miles, he switched to the support crew and now rides his bicycle along the trail, providing whatever encouragement (and snacks!) he can to the 600 walkers. He is also an alumnus of the event's steering committee and is this site's webmaster.

Setting a pace

Written by on July 22, 2009 at 11:00 am

When you set out on the MS Challenge Walk, you'll be in the company of hundreds of other walkers. Sometimes someone will zip up from behind you and leave you in their dust; other times, you'll come up to someone and politely pass them as you go on your merry way. In either case, there's a lesson to be learned: no matter what everyone else around you is doing, you need to go at a pace that suits you.

The average walking speed is 3-4 MPH, which doesn't sound like a vast range, but consider: between the lower boundary and the upper one is an increase of 33%. If your boss asked you to work 33% harder, or to work an extra 13 hours a week, you'd rebel! And so will your body if you make it work harder than it wants to.

I learned this lesson the hard way. I got to the Hyannis Village Green too late for the opening ceremonies and thus started the walk at the back of the pack. Determined to make up the time and catch up to my fellow walkers, I set myself an ambitious pace. As a result, the first night of my third MS Challenge Walk was the first time I'd ever thought to myself, "I might not be able to finish this." My body was that sore.

If you're concerned about finishing the walk in a certain time, don't be. It's not a race, and there's no prize for finishing first. If you start your walk as soon as the route opens, there's plenty of time to complete it at a comfortable speed before the support crew closes up shop and brings everyone home.

Marathon runners learn to set a pace, saving their energy for the long haul. The same is true for walkers. One definition of "marathon" is "any contest, event, or the like, of great, or greater than normal, length or duration or requiring exceptional endurance." Given the undertaking you each have dedicated yourselves to, I think it's entirely appropriate to wish you a successful and safe MS Challenge Marathon.

Ken, an Arlington resident, joined the MS Challenge Walk in 2005, more than a decade after his mother was diagnosed. After walking for three years and 150 miles, he switched to the support crew and now rides his bicycle along the trail, providing whatever encouragement (and snacks!) he can to the 600 walkers. He is also an alumnus of the event's steering committee and is this site's webmaster.