Training Tuesday: Training Tips from Kelly Smith

Happy Training Tuesday, Challenge Walkers! Today we’re hearing from long-time Challenge Walker, Kelly Smith!  As a member of team Bring It – Pound Tar, Kelly has shared great information on training for Challenge Walk MS – enjoy!

Six years ago, I participated in my first Challenge Walk MS event as a member of a pretty small team.  Pound Tar started out as a “Team of 1” and I joined it in year three when it had grown to a “Team of 4.”  We prided ourselves on being the “Team that didn’t train.”  Well, six years older and six events wiser, I know better!

I have participated in some of the training walks and I walk fairly regularly to keep fit.  However, being a teacher and a busy mom of two school-age children, I find that I don’t have the time to commit to the formal training guideline suggested by the NMSS.  So three years ago, I decided to set my own goals.  And it has made all the difference in how I approach the event and how I feel.

First, I enlisted the help of a friend and team-mate.  We have scheduled walking times.  This helps keep us accountable to one another and makes it harder for us to skip the walks.  After looking at our schedules we discovered that we have about an hour to meet once we finish work and before we have to pick up our children from school.  We meet at a local county trail or near-by neighborhood two times per week and are able to walk about 4 miles each time.  This may not sound like much compared to the 50 miles of the Challenge Walk, but it has allowed me to improve my time and lessen the wear-and-tear on my body.  Plus, walking with a friend is a fun way to pass the time!

Next, I found that increasing my walking pace meant less pounding the pavement during the event.  I am by no means a speed walker.  And I still find myself toward the back of the pack during the event.  However, my goal is to walk every mile (which I am glad to report I have been able to do every year so far) and not to be the first to cross the finish line.  Last year I improved my time so much that I found time to take a nap upon returning to Wild Dunes before dinner.  That was a glorious accomplishment!  And come Monday morning I could feel the benefits of less time spent walking in my joints, arms and legs.

I’m sure the reason someone joins this event has an impact on the goals they set.  I walk for my sister and two of my aunts who have MS.  For me this event is about spreading awareness, finding a cure and getting together with my “once a year family.”  It is also important to me to walk every mile because I can walk, knowing that sometimes my sister and aunts cannot.  While I have adjusted my training goals over the years to feel better once the 50 miles are completed, it remains important to me to spend time with other walkers to talk and share our stories.

Would you like to share your training or fundraising methods with fellow Challenge Walkers? E-mail us at!


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