Charlotte Training Guide

Wondering how to get started on your training for the Avon Walk?  You’ve come to the right place! Below you’ll find information on the following:

Training Walks
Walking Shoes
Gear and Clothing
Tips for Walking


With proper training, determination and commitment (plus some dedicated time), just about anyone can participate in the Avon Walk, regardless of fitness level. The most important thing? Start now!  The sooner you get going, the more time you’ll have to build up your endurance and make sure you’ll really be able to enjoy the Walk. The best type of training, regardless of fitness level, is to begin moderately and to increase your training in small increments. Pushing yourself to go too far, too fast, will only result in injury.

A great way to get started with your training is to join a volunteer-lead training walk, which are free and open to anyone.  Training Walks are an excellent way to meet other members of the Avon Walk community.  See our Training Walks page for additional details.

You might also want to think about leading training walks for other Walkers no experience is necessary - you just need to be able to plan a route and walk safely!

Walking Gear

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on top-of-the-line equipment, but investing in a few clothing basics will help you keep you more comfortable while you’re walking.

Be sure to visit our Discount Partners list, where you’ll find special discounts for all Avon Walk for Breast Cancer participants on shoes, apparel and more.



The most important piece of equipment you will buy for the Avon Walk is a good pair of athletic shoes, and socks. Go to a store with a knowledgeable staff that is willing to take the time to help you find the right shoes for your feet. Focus on buying the pair of shoes that fits best to your foot - not the ones that look the best, or cost the most (or the least).

The following tips from our Official Sponsor, Reebok, will help you to be blister-free at the Closing Ceremony!

A few shoe basics:

  • Either a light weight walking shoe or a running shoe may be worn for this event. Try one of each to see what feels better for your foot type.
  • Mesh walking shoes are designed for walking.
  • Leave space (1/2 inch) between the tip of your longest toe and the end of the shoe while standing.
  • When you try on shoes, make sure that you try them on both feet. If one foot is larger than the other, fit the larger foot.
  • Athletic shoes should be comfortable from the start, requiring minimal break-in.
  • Try them on with the same sock that you plan to train and walk in.
  • Make sure the heel fit is snug and does not slip up and down when you walk.
  • Walk around in the shoes to ensure our foot is not sliding forward.
  • Make sure you have ample room in the forefoot for your toes to spread.
  • If you do not like the insole in the shoe, ask a salesperson to show you other options.
  • Always consider the four most important benefits when choosing a shoe: Fit, Comfort, Cushion
    and Control
  • Remember to replace your walking and running shoes every 300 to 500 miles (4 to 6 months for regular walkers/runners).
  • When you find a shoe that works, buy two pairs and alternate between them.

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Your choice of socks is another important decision, and a small purchase that can make a big difference in your walking comfort at a very low cost. Nothing can ruin a walk faster than blisters (caused by moist feet and friction). It’s vital you find a sock that keeps your feet dry, comfortable, and provides cushion and support.

A few things to remember when sock shopping:

  • No Cotton. You want a sock that will wick away the moisture. Cotton will absorb all the moisture. Not only will your feet get soggy and uncomfortable, but your chance of developing blisters increases significantly.
  • Shop around for socks that are made from synthetic fibers (acrylic, CoolMax, nylon, Polartec). These socks are designed to wick away the moisture and keep your feet dry.
  • Try on different pairs of socks to see which ones are best for your feet. Socks offer different kinds of thickness and padding. Socks that are padded in the heel and toe areas are good for walkers who are prone to blisters in those areas.
  • Make sure your socks are compatible with your sneakers! Socks that don’t fit cause bunching, and bunching can cause … blisters!

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Chances are you know what clothes are best for you. Use common sense when purchasing your sports bra, pants, shorts, t-shirts, etc.

Choose clothing that won’t ride up, isn’t restrictive, and won’t cause chafing. You should be comfortable and always be prepared for the weather. Layering clothing is often a good idea during a long walk, as both you and the day may warm up as you move along.

Other Gear

There’s one other walking essential, and that’s a water bottle (or bottles) or hydration system. How you decide to carry your liquid is completely up to you, but you must carry it. Hydration is essential, even on short walks, so get used to hydrating often. You’ll be glad you did once you start going longer distances.  You must provide your own water bottle or hydration system for the Avon Walk.

It’s up to you if you want to walk with a pedometer, a fanny pack, or any other walking gear. Remember - you want to be comfortable while you’re walking, so experiment with what will work best for you while training.  Don’t wait until the event to figure out what’s comfortable!

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Nothing is more important to us than your safety. Please review the following safety tips and start integrating them into your training regimen right away. Adhering to these safety guidelines now will help to insure your safety on the Avon Walk.

  • Follow the rules of the road.  This includes obeying all traffic lights, signs and signals.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone. Familiarize yourself with traffic flow, bicycle traffic, other pedestrians, and safe stopping places along your route.
  • Do not walk with headphones or cell phones. These can distract you and being distracted leaves you vulnerable to injury. The use of headphones and cell phones is strictly forbidden while walking on the Avon Walk.
  • When possible, train with a buddy or at least notify someone what route you will be taking, when you are leaving, and when you plan to return.
  • Always carry money and ID.
  • Wear reflective clothing when walking in the early morning or evening hours.
  • It is important that you remain hydrated while you walk. You should be drinking every half-hour to hour during your walk. A lot will depend on the temperature; the more you sweat, the more you will want to drink. Energy drinks and electrolyte replacement drinks replace the salt lost by sweating. It’s recommended that you alternate between water and a sports drink. Remember, if you are thirsty, you are already beginning to dehydrate. Dehydration can lead to serious physical problems. Drink before you are thirsty.
  • Keep your blood sugar boosted by eating an energy bar (or equivalent) about an hour before your walk. On your longer walks, carry a nutrition bar or other snack and stop to eat. When you don’t replenish your body with nutrients you are more susceptible to dehydration and lowered blood sugar.
  • As the distance increases, the pace should decrease. Be sure to rest between longer walks.
  • Be conscious of the weather - apply sunscreen when necessary, carry an umbrella or wear rain gear, bring an additional pair of socks, etc.
  • Listen to your body - it always knows best! If you are too sore or feel a possible injury coming on, stop. If you think you need medical attention, get it. Walking through an injury can only make it worse. Eat and drink when you need to. Get enough rest - it’s as important to your training program as the walking itself.

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Stretching is a very important aspect of a good walking program don’t neglect it!   It doesn’t take much time and is critical for good walking form and injury prevention.

Stretch prior to and after every Training Walk, and add another five minutes of stretching after every 60 minutes of walking.

A few general stretching tips:

  • Stretching should be done s-l-o-w-l-y
  • Never bounce or force a stretch
  • Hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds
  • Breathe deeply while stretching; with the exhale, gently try to stretch a little farther
  • Don’t worry about how far you stretch; regular stretching will increase your flexibility
  • Stretching should always feel good!
  1. Calf Stretch
    Stand a few inches from a wall, leaning your forearms on it with your head down. Slide your left leg back away from the wall, keeping the heel on the ground, until you feel a stretch in your left calf. Hold for 20 seconds; repeat on right leg.
  2. Quad & Knee Stretch
    Stand a few inches from a wall and balance yourself with your left hand. Bend your left leg up behind you and grasp the top of your left foot with your right hand, gently pulling your heel toward your buttocks. Hold 10-15 seconds; repeat on other side.
  3. Groin Stretch
    Sit with the soles of your feet together at a comfortable distance. Hold your feet and slowly pull your torso toward them, bending from the hip, not the shoulders. Hold 15-20 seconds.
  4. Hamstring Stretch
    Sit with your left leg straight in front of you and the sole of your right foot resting on your left inner thigh. Slowly and gently lean forward from the hips toward your left foot. Do not lock your left knee - it should always be slightly bent. You can increase this stretch by wrapping a towel around your left foot and using it to gently pull your torso closer. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat with right leg.
  5. Upper Hamstring & Hip Stretch
    From a seated position, bend your left leg up toward your chest, using one hand on your left ankle and the other around your bent knee (you may choose to lean against a wall for support). Pull the entire leg toward you and hold for 15-20 seconds. Repeat with right leg.
  6. Back & Body Stretch
    With hands shoulder-width apart, grasp the top of a ledge, refrigerator, file cabinet, or anything firmly rooted that is slightly taller than you. With your hips directly above your feet and your knees slightly bent, let your body “drop” so that your hands and arms are bearing most of your weight. Hold for at least 20 seconds.
  7. Shoulder Stretch
    Raise your shoulders toward your ears, tensing the muscles in your shoulders and neck; hold for 5 seconds and then relax. Repeat 3-4 times.
  8. Chest Stretch
    Interlace your fingers above your head, palms facing upward. Push your arms slightly back and up; hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 3-4 times.
  9. Triceps and Side Stretch
    Reach arms overhead and grasp left elbow with right hand. Bend your left arm behind your back and gently pull your elbow behind your head. Keeping knees slightly bent, bend your torso to the right as you continue to pull your elbow. Hold 10 seconds; repeat on other side.

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