The March Walking Challenge

I’m on the Apple Activities March Walking Challenge this month. The app has decided that I must walk or run 298 kilometres. It’s an average of 9.6 kilometres a day. This is both easy and challenging at the same time. Walking 10 kilometres takes about two hours.

When I had a broken arm I walked more than two hours a day, because I had nothing else I could do. I also walked that much because I couldn’t bike, take the car or drive the scooter. As a result, I needed to walk for everything.

My arm isn’t broken anymore. I’m happy to do two hours of exercise a day. I like to devote some of that time to cycling. Cycling 300 kilometres for me would be around 10 bike rides. I would complete the challenge in 12 hours or less.

App Weaknesses

Last month the challenge was to reach 500 Calories per day for 28 days out of 29 and I would have reached that goal if it hadn’t been for making the mistake of uploading a workout from Strava to Garmin. By doing this the app decided that instead of burning 1200 calories according to the Apple Watch activity app I had done just 220. Instead of being angry or frustrated I simply decided to take it easy for the rest of the month (a whole two days left).

The problem with the Apple watch is that you have no way of saying “use this data, not that data. If you make a mistake you have no way of undoing it.

The weather

We just had two days of rain and today is sunny. When it’s raining the appeal of going for a walk is lower. Going for a walk involves dressing for the rain, not being able to see or hear as well as usual. It also involves feeling the cold wind. Luckily when I was facing into the wind for one leg of yesterday’s walk I was on the last stretch, and I was warm from walking.

I wore my hiking boots. The beauty of hiking boots is that they’re waterproof and you can walk through puddles and streams without getting wet. I did walk through streams and puddles. I enjoy it. I had walked through mud. My excuse for walking in the stream of water by the side of the road was that it would clear the mud off of them before I walked back into the apartment.

One of the paradoxes of apartment cleaning is that it’s always done on the day when you’re most likely to walk in the mud and bring some back in. When mud is wet it stays on the shoes. The next day, when you’re running down the stairs, as usual, you dump a nice trail of mud behind.

Routing (pronounced rooting, not grouting).

I considered changing my routes. I would walk through muddy bits at the beginning of my walks and the clean ones, on the way home. This minimises the quantity of mud on my shoes when I get home. The second option is to wear the hiking shoes I keep in the car, on muddy days. Bringing mud into the garage doesn’t matter.

Methods

  • Ten kilometres a day – two hours of walking
  • Ingress – either by completing missions or by participating in an event
  • Peak days – walk 20 kilometers on some days
  • Running – running the same distance takes less time, but impacts the knees

Walking ten kilometres a day can be achieved either by simply spending as little time sitting as possible. We easily walk ten kilometres a day during a conference. We’re even likely to walk the equivalent of twenty kilometers

Ingress Missions and days are a good way to stand, and walk for hours at a time. In both cases, you’re covering reasonable distances.

Peak days are those where you walk twenty to thirty kilometers on one day, and bank the distance, so that on other days you can devote time to other tasks, such as writing blog posts.

Running is a good way of covering bigger distances in the same amount of time. It requires the right surface and shoes.

The futile Challenge

At the end of the day, the challenge is futile. If I cycle thirty plus kilometers I’m challenging myself to climb up hills, I’m challenging myself to sprint as fast as cars through villages, and sometimes I keep up on 50 kilometer per hour sections. If the weather is good cycling makes more sense.

I should achieve the challenge quickly, and get back to cycling.

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