At the beginning of this year I signed myself up to the 1000mile challenge. It is a challenge run by Country Walking Magazine, the idea is to walk 1000 miles throughout the year. This works out to be 2.75 miles each day.
I’ve learnt since signing up that people approach this challenge in different ways. Some only count the miles they intentionally walk, others count all their steps through the day.
I knew I was never going to manage the challenge on intentional walks alone, but it would still be quite a challenge to complete with my daily steps. I’ve not been as fit and healthy as I am now in years, so lets give it a go!
Last year with the kids home I had gotten quite used to my routine of going out for a walk with them every day, but as soon as they went back to school in September I very quickly slipped back into not walking at all. So in January when I started this challenge it was hard work. Having the kids at home really helped as I knew I had to get them out of the house for a walk everyday.
I set myself a daily target of 5000 steps, which according to the challenge app equals 2.5miles (I realise now the challenge app is very generous!). In those early days I did find myself walking up and down the lounge at the end of the day to add those final couple of hundred steps!
I’ve found having an achievable daily target really useful, no boom and bust (well there has been some of that too), mostly pacing, a reason to push myself out for that walk in all weathers (no such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothes). Even the kids began to look forward to the walks come rain or shine!
I have done some bigger days. When the kids were off school we would make an effort to do a longer walk on Friday afternoons, 3 or 4 miles was our usual aim and it was lovely to get out as a family and enjoy some local walks.
At the beginning of March my eldest daughter decided she wanted to sign up to the challenge too! You can sign up at any point in the year and you still have 365 days to complete the challenge, it doesn’t have to go from Jan 1st. However she is quite determined to catch me up so we can finish together! Since going back to school she has missed her daily walks with me, so we have done a couple of longer walks on the weekends to make up for it.
My first 100 miles took me a little over a month, passing the marker on the 5th February, the second 100 took me exactly a month longer passing the 200 mark on the 5th March. I set myself a mini challenge to do the next 100 miles quicker. Heading into the Easter weekend I knew I needed just 7 miles to cross the 300 miles mark, so on Friday (2nd April) my daughter and I set off with an aim to cover those 7 miles and smash my target! Not only did we cover the 7 miles, but we kept on going and added another 3!
This also smashed another personal goal. When my eldest daughter was a baby I walked everywhere with her. She would only nap when I was pushing her in her buggy. So we walked A LOT! One day I left her with her dad and set off from home in Seasalter to try and walk to Reculver. I only made it to Herne Bay that day. The walk we did together on Friday took us from home all the way to Reculver together! So gave me that added sense of achievement.
Yes I hurt at the end of it. Yes after I kept telling myself over and over in my head that it was a stupid thing to have done. I smashed through all of the brain signals telling me I should stop now, and I kept going. And in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have done it. But a week or so on and I seem to have survived even clocking up another long walk this weekend to Faversham!
Long may it last!
As a side note –
Who else checks their Facebook “memories” most days? Just to check in and see what was happening on this day in previous years, good and bad.
Well today 5 years ago I posted “How do I lose the anxiety associated with going out by myself” and I posted a handful of photos.
I had tried to go for a VERY short walk by myself. I literally walked 2 streets. I had to constantly ground myself, the photos are close ups of small flowers and then the view when I sat down on a bench half way round to take some deep breaths and summon the resources to get back home again.
I remember just how scared and ridiculous I felt that day and it makes me even more grateful to be where I am today and to be doing this challenge.