Monday, October 25, 2010

My 100 day challenge

As you know, I've been doing a bit of walking recently. Not long distance stuff, just regular daily walking. It's all part of a plan to increase my general fitness and also to help me lose weight. It's going quite well. I'm now down below 15st (95Kg).

The walking thing began with a challenge to do 200, 000 steps in August. Although I soon decided that I wanted to set my own goal of doing 10, 000 steps a day, that seemingly arbitrary figure that gets banded about. I wondered if I could sustain walking about 5 miles a day over a longer period of time.

Surprisingly, after a couple of false starts, I got into a routine that has seen me pass 70 consecutive days (72 as of today) of more than 10, 000 steps a day. That means that since the 15th August I have been walking 5 miles (8Km) every day.

At some point, I can't remember when, the simple maths dawned on me that 10, 000 steps a day for 100 days was 1, 000, 000 steps. So I began to plan to work towards this target. It now feels within reach, although four more weeks is still a long time and anything can happen. I've already walked through a couple of injuries. I badly blistered my toes at one point and I damaged a calf muscle that I thought was going to stop me, but neither proved to be too much to overcome and I persevered.

As September closed I'd managed 47 consecutive days and was averaging 12, 500 steps a day. I estimate that to be about 6.25 miles a day. By day 72, today, the average is 12, 400 for October. I haven't calculated an average over the whole 72 days.

A couple of days ago I passed took my 1 millionth step since August 1st.

So what's the point and what have I learnt?

Well, first of all I guess I've learnt that it is possible to walk 5 miles a day, but it takes disciple. Some days it has meant getting up earlier than usual in order to get a good start. I usually try to do 5-6Km in a single walk to give me the 30+ minutes of aerobic exercise I'm looking for each day. It is a great privilege to have the kind of role that allows you to work this into your day.

Secondly, I've learnt that without discipline it just won't happen. With the whole eating plan thing I've been asked what I'm allowed to eat and what I'm not allowed to eat. I've been asked about how much will power I must possess in order to stick rigidly to the plan. My answer is usually the same. It's not will power, it's discipline. I don't think about allowed and not allowed, I think about making a simple disciplined choice about what I eat and when I eat it. The same is true about the walking. There are days when I really don't want to pull on the walking clothes and hit the streets, but I choose to do it.

The outcome of this disciplined choice is that I walk, I exercise and I get the chance to carry God's presence with me as I walk the streets.

So, I've got 28 more days of my 100 day challenge to go. I'm not presuming that I will make it, but I am getting more determined to do it. One day at a time, and no thinking too far ahead. The next day is the next target. Soon it will be 75, then 80, then 90. By that point I guess I'll allow myself a little sense of getting close, but rather like a cricketer who is nearing a century, you have to stay focused.

At my current rate, I estimate I will have done about 1.2M steps over the 100 days. I might just buy myself a new pair of trainers to celebrate!

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