A Change of Pace

Why walk when you can run? Running covers more ground, quicker, so more miles can be put in the bank, and miles in the bank is what we like. Usually. 

I went for a good long walk in place of a run for the first time because I was horribly hungover and the slower motion of the walk was less irritating to the various internal agonies that I was undergoing. Not a great excuse I know, but I found it refreshing, not just for my hangover but as a change of pace as well. Now I have a new job, which is mostly sedentary, and I’m popping out on lunch time walks most days. In a great stroke of fortune where I work is a great walking town.

Frankly, it doesn’t have a huge amount else going on.

The countryside encroaches on all sides, green paths wind their way unexpectedly through the housing estates, hiding the fairly standard suburban architecture behind intelligently placed (or perhaps intelligently left be) belts of trees. A tremendous heath also protrudes quite suddenly from the landscape, providing rolling hills which are great for running, of course, as well as golf (there’s a course, so I imagine that’s true), and walking.

I can be at the heath in 10 minutes, and squeeze in a decent loop before my hour is up. 

Since I’m on my arse all day, what better thing is there? 

I could, I suppose, run on my lunch break. But that would mean getting changed, getting in a run, getting showered, and getting changed again, all within the space of an hour. If I was really strapped for running time it would do the trick, but right now I’d prefer to get up earlier and run with a little more freedom on the clock. 

It’s nice to get out anyway and poodle about at a slower pace anyway. I run in some lovely places, but you can only appreciate it so much at running speed. Slowed down, I feel the breeze all the more vividly, enjoy the gentle curve of each distant hillock on the horizon, and generally just really get a kick out of simply Being in the outdoors.    

And does it do much for my fitness?

In a running sense, maybe not.

Overall, I think yes. Any chance to get my body out of the debilitating position that sedentary work puts me in should be taken, and any opportunity to rack up some extra steps happily grabbed. There is a general belief that: running a lot = health. It mostly comes from people who look at the amount of running I do with some disbelief, not aware that there are a lot more miles in the week for a lot of runners doing more than me. What they don’t realise is that some of those runners can barely touch their toes. In fact, runners aren’t exactly the most athletic lot. We all know we should do more cross training, but the problem is that making time to do that often takes time away from the limited time we have to run, and so we don’t bother. And then we can’t touch our toes. I, thankfully, can actually still touch my toes.

Yes I’m bragging, I know.

But it is always on my mind to be more balanced in my training, to not sacrifice health and athleticism for miles. Walking in my lunch break isn’t going to help my athleticism but I do think it brings balance, and keeps me healthy; physically, and mentally.

That slower pace, that gentle movement, is reassuring, settling. It serves as a reset in the middle of the day which leaves me feeling healthier, happier, and generally more content with the state of things.

I can heartily recommend it.

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