...as long as they're not running shoes.
March and April was marathon season. Not for me of course, if you've ever read any of my blog posts! I have so much admiration for anyone who completes a marathon, any marathon, under any circumstances. I have even more admiration for anyone who actually enjoys them! For me I have been left mentally scarred by my two experiences, but this of course is old ground that I intend to put firmly behind me.
So in homage to all those silly devils running the 26.2 miles I set myself a challenge. Not a very difficult challenge mind you, more of a chall. This challenge was to cover the marathon distance of 26.2 miles over the whole of April. And I decided to cover the distance by walking only.
This challenge was made a little harder by the fact that half of the month was dominated by school holidays. Just ask anyone with dogs and under 8's how difficult it is to get the kids to walk said dogs. They can jump around soft play like monkeys for 3 hours but ask them to walk a mile down the road and it's tantrum central.
During my challenge I only included "proper" walks - no school runs, no wandering around the house, no shopping. I doubled my dog walks and the job was done by 27th April, another medal in the bag.
If I had decided to complete the challenge by running the 26.2 miles, again a very do-able challenge, I would have subjected myself to a month of self-sabotage, procrastination, negative emotions and self-doubt. As it turns out, I looked forward to my walks, especially knowing that when the kids went back to school I could go a little bit further for a little bit longer.
For me 2017 has been a reflective period in my life so these walks were blissfully solitary, not the despairing pain and suffering that I always feel when I run (ok so that's a bit dramatic but you get my drift). Walking doesn't hurt my knees, or hips, or butt. I could enjoy the surroundings; April is a beautiful time of the year and walking gives you the time to look around. I can stop and talk to a passer by or fellow dog walker without worrying about stopping my Garmin or losing momentum or ceasing up. And most importantly walking really helped me to achieve clarity in my thoughts.
So the question is why have I persisted so long with the running, which I hate and despise and always have done?
what I lack in competitive edge, I gain in sheer stubbornness!
I had a coffee date with my sister last week, and had a bit of a lightbulb moment over a shared love of a cheese scone. We were chatting about our general dislike of exercise, bit strange I know coming from a fitness instructor. But not all exercise, just the hot and sweaty type of exercise, a very small sub-section of the term. We were brought up on fresh sea air, sailing and lots of walking.
My point is this...
Exercise, keeping fit, health, well-being, or whatever term you want to use, is different for everybody. It doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you do it.
We all overthink exercise, by categorising it as exactly that...exercise. This makes it sound like something we must do, another daily chore to add to the list, something that is forced upon us. But in truth we are simply born to move.
Just watch a confident toddler at play, a gymnast balancing on a beam or a world class boxer in the ring, to see how true this is. All three examples are made of flesh and blood in the same way as we all are yet they all move in very different and amazing ways.
Moving, that's all there is to it.
Perhaps if I had come to terms a little earlier with my hatred for running and accepted that it is not for me then I would be in a better fitness place now.
So for the time-being (never say never) I will be hanging up those running shoes and replacing them with walking shoes, and I too can conquer the world, but from a different, slightly slower perspective.