Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Taking up the walking challenge again!

I can't believe that it's 4 years since I set myself the challenge to walk a million steps in one hundred days. It all started with a challenge to walk 200,000 steps in August 2010. From there I started walking every day and kept a record of steps for the next year. I remember purposely choosing not to walk my daily target of 10k steps around day 105 to try and avoid becoming overly obsessive about it all, but continuing to record and challenge myself over the course of the following year. In August 2011 I set myself the target of walking 500,000 steps in a single month.

Well I think it's high time I took up the challenge again, so I've started to load up my pocket with my trusty pedometer and hit the streets. When it comes to being achievable, targets have to realistic. I'd like to do the 100 days again, and I think I can do it but it's more challenging this time than it was 4 years ago. Back in 2010 I could easily hit my target by walking up to the station and back twice a day. I'd get up and walk with Anne, call in at the office or just walk home again and then later in the day walk back into town or wait until the evening and walk up to the station to accompany Anne home. Now the station is only 8 minutes away, about half a mile, and so I have to make a plan to go and walk each day rather than simply incorporating into my schedule.

We're back to the discipline thing again, something I discovered last time and often talked about when asked how I managed to keep to the plan. So discipline it is. Actually, the last couple of days have been interesting because I've had a cold and not really felt like exercising. So instead of seeing my walk as exercise, I've simply gone out to get some fresh air. I've wandered more than walked purposefully and the steps have accumulated. I find getting a good 30-40 minutes done in one hit is great. It makes a good dent in the numbers game and rather than looking at the pedometer in the afternoon to discover I've only done 1,000 steps I might look and see that I only have another 2,500 to go to hit the 10k marker.

So how about joining me in this challenge? Let's make the first target to achieve 10k steps on 10 consecutive days over the next 2 weeks. That give you 14 days to do it and the chance for a couple of restarts if something should get in the way. I might even offer prizes to those who are nearby enough to not need me to post them!! Or maybe you can offer yourself your own prize. It doesn't have to be extravagant, a water bottle for example might be all you need, or if I'm giving out prizes, all you will get!

The rules will be simple enough: I'll trust you to be honest about what you actually do and the only criteria is that you manage 10 consecutive days. If you don't have a pedometer then I'd recommend the one I use. It's an Omron Walking Style II. It's been replaced I think by the mark III version, but I've seen the MkII still available in a few places. I like it because it seems to work quite well and you can stick it in a pocket rather than having to strap it to your hip like you have to with some devices. You can of course get an app for it with some devices I'm sure.

If you don't have a pedometer or can't wait for delivery to get started, then why not use a mapping app to measure the distance of your walk to the station or the office. For the purposes of this challenge we'll assume that 5 miles (8Km) is equivalent to 10K steps. Or you could use something like Runkeeper or Map my Run on the iPhone to measure a walk.

So that's it. 10 days is the first marker. If you don't quite make it first time around, keep going. when I first started in August 2010 I spent the first month working out was normal for me. That's not a bad idea, there will be plenty of time for you to pick up the challenge, it's never too late to have a go. It might be that hitting 5K will be a big step up for you personally and that 10K is just a step too far (puns intended and apologised for too!)

I hope to get fitter and healthier as a result because in the end just being able to say I've done 100 days again isn't really the point.

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