Many people love doing charity walks for both fundraising and fitness goals. It feels really good to be able to raise money and awareness for a cause about which you feel strongly. Some of the most famous charity walks in America are the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, 60-mile, Walk for Breast Cancer and the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, which is a 2-day, 39.3-mile walk. There are other charity walks out there, like your local Turkey Trot, which are much shorter and less time-intensive, but if you’ve chosen to do a longer, more intense charity walk like the two mentioned above, you’ll want to get started fundraising and training very soon. The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, for example, asks you to not only walk almost 40 miles over two days, but be also to raise at least $1,800 in order to even participate in the event. This may seem daunting, but you can totally do it.

Fundraising

For many, the fundraising is actually the most daunting part of the charity walk process. Lots of people don’t like asking others for money, especially in this tough economy. However, once you start asking, you’ll probably find that people are willing to donate to a cause they believe in, even if they have limited funds. You might also find that some of your friends’ employers have donation matching policies that will allow your friends to donate more, and will allow you to raise more money, faster. The best way to start is by asking who you know. Send out emails, letters, and even print up business cards with your fundraising website on them. Also, use social networking to your advantage. Sites like Twitter and Facebook can help you reach more people than are in your address book. Once you blast everyone with an email and social networking pleas for money, wait a few weeks and ask again. People do want to donate, but sometimes they need to be reminded more than once.

Training

Lots of people who hear about long-distance charity walks think that it’s easy to do because it is "just walking." However, what they don’t realize is that, even though you’re not running a marathon, sometimes walking one is more difficult. When running a marathon, you are on your feet for three to six hours. When walking the same distance, it can take you over twice as long, and that is a really long time to be on your feet. Also, the city usually does not shut down the streets as they would with a marathon, so you have to spend time stopped at crosswalks and rest areas. A great idea is to find a training program that will help you reach your fitness goal before the event, and stick to it. It’s easy to think that you can skip a few days here and there in your training, but that is a very bad idea. Keep it up, and you will feel fit and ready in no time.

The Event

During the event, be sure to keep nourished and hydrated. Switch off between water and sports drinks to help keep hydrated and replenish electrolytes in your system. Also, make sure you are eating at least 100-150 calories per hour. This will replenish what you are losing, and will keep your blood sugar from dropping suddenly, preventing you from finishing the walk. Also, stick to easily digestible carbs and proteins, like crackers and peanut butter. These will help you avoid muscle cramps, and the salt in the crackers will help keep you hydrated as well. Most of all, have fun! Charity walks are great for reflecting as well as making new friends.