It all started with a conversation with a friend towards the end of 2018. We were on a walk together and he was keen to take the long way round to the pub because, it turned out, he sets himself a target for miles walked every year and he was worried he wouldn’t make the distance before 31 December. This conversation made me realise two things; firstly, although I consider myself a keen walker I have no idea how many miles I walk each year and secondly I have a bit of a competitive streak. We get out for a walk most days now we are retired as this is a free activity that we enjoy. These walks might just be a circuit around Salford Quays for a mile or two, or to the local park or cemetery or it might be a utilitarian trip to the supermarket. On top of these daily trips around Salford we take longer and what you might consider ‘proper walks’ in the countryside in Scotland, the Lake District and wherever else we might be visiting.
Although this is not a competition, my small competitive streak wanted to find out just how the distance I walked each year compared with my friend and so I decided to set my own target for walking in 2019. My own rules are that I can count any distance that I walk, even if it is just to the supermarket, as I have chosen to walk there rather than take the bus, cycle or drive, although I don’t count distances under one kilometre such as to the corner shop or our tai chi class.
Someone I follow on Twitter is aiming to do 2,019 miles in 2019 in aid of the Trussell Trust. You can combine cycling, swimming, running and walking for this challenge but it is still quite a challenging target and I am in awe. I don’t intend to put my own target out there for fund raising for a charity but I did begin thinking I could try and walk 2,019 miles throughout the year. I quickly calculated that this needed an average of around 5.5 miles a day and that this was perhaps too much of a stretch. Thank goodness for kilometres! I always walk and cycle in kilometres, they are so much easier to get through and sound more impressive and so it was only natural that I would come up with my own target of 2,019 km in the year, around 5.5 km a day – much more achievable.
A spread sheet was set up and the counting began. After two and a half months I am feeling the target is achievable [unless, of course, I break a leg during the year] but not easy and I certainly don’t feel I can let up for a few days. If I have a couple of days when I don’t walk anywhere I know I have to make up those kilometres with a long walk.
Up to the time of writing this post I have walked 486 km (301 miles) this year, which is an impressive [I think] average of just over 6 km a day.
A couple of things I have learnt from being target driven with my walking this year:
- I am now keen to get out whatever the weather – not necessarily a bad thing.
- I have to be organised and record how far I have walked every day before I forget.
- I am more keen to walk than cycle when we are making the choice about how to travel somewhere so the bikes are feeling neglected [perhaps next year I’ll have a cycling target].
- The added frugal bonus has been that we rarely take the tram into town these days as I prefer to clock up some kilometres.
- The expensive downside could be that I wear out more pairs of shoes during the year!