Thank you to our friends at XShadyside 24 Hour Gym Pittsburgh for providing today’s giveaway prize!
There’s almost nothing as painful to a runner as not being able to run. And regardless of the reason for the time off – injury, illness, logistics, even just tapering before a big race (how do I put this nicely?) – we can kind of be jerkfaces. (Okay, that wasn’t so nice after all, but you know it’s true.)
For runners who can’t run, the closest alternative is probably walking. But unfortunately for some, walking just doesn’t cut it. This goes for all types of runners: fast runners, slow runners, run-walkers, walk-runners, so-slow-it-feels-like-walking-runners. Because if you call yourself a runner, then you are one. Period.
If you’ve been following along, then you know that I’ve been unable to run since December 2015. So I know this better than most. I do a LOT of walking, and even though I’ve come to love certain aspects of it, it just doesn’t come close to running. I used to run in my neighborhood all the time, but I rarely walk there. But when I got home from dropping the girls off at school yesterday morning, I stood in my driveway and thought, “Wow, this is PERFECT running weather.” So I charged up my Garmin, laced up my running shoes, and off I went.
As I walked, two thoughts ran through my mind. 1) Why isn’t walking as fun/interesting/exciting as running? and 2) What can I do (and what am I already doing) to make walking more fun/interesting/exciting?
Here’s the list I came up with. Some of them are things that I already do; others are ideas from around the web.
7 Ways to Make Walking Feel a Little More Like Running
1. Explore. Walking allows you to explore terrain that might not be suitable (or your preference) for running. I love walking on the beach, but I’m not the biggest fan of running there. Not certain about trail running? Try walking the trails first. Explore different parts of your hometown, but don’t be shy to drive a bit farther out to find your perfect walking spot.
2. Treasure Hunt. Since switching to walking, I’ve discovered a passion (obsession??) for beachcombing – sea glass, seashells, shark teeth, you name it. I’d never take the time to hunt for treasures if I was running on those same spots. If you don’t live near the beach, search for unique rocks. Learn to identify flowers, plants, and trees. Look for interesting pieces of trash – or better yet, collect the litter you find and dispose of it properly. You’d be amazed what’s out there when you (literally and figuratively) stop to smell the roses.
3. Listen to Books. Podcasts work too – but I happen to be a big fan of Audible. For some reason, it seems easier to focus on an audiobook when I’m walking versus running. (Maybe because most of my concentration is spent on breathing when I run.) I’m on a memoir kick right now – I’m currently alternating between Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.
4. Meditate. Running without music is almost unbearable for me. But oddly enough, I walk without music almost all the time, especially when I’m on the beach. The rhythm of the waves calms my breathing and my mind. And searching for sea glass (in particular) requires deep, almost meditative concentration – something I’m unable to replicate anywhere else. Kevin Geary, founder of Rebooted Body, suggests this:
…Breathe only through your nose for the entire walk. Don’t open your mouth. If you need to slow down at any point, do so, but keep breathing through your nose…This is a mental exercise as much as it’s a physical one. It also happens to be the number one way to ensure you’re completely present on your walks.
5. Walk with a Friend. Walking with a friend is no different than running with a friend (or friends), except that slower breathing might make it a little easier to talk. My best running friend is also my best walking friend. We pour our hearts out to each other on our walks. And like with running buddies, no topic is off-limits.
6. Write. At least half of my blog posts are composed (in my head) during my walks. And if I’m worried I might forget an idea, I make a note of it in Evernote using speech-to-text. This is also something I don’t do when I run. When I’m running, my primary mental objective is to get “outside” of my head. Walking, on the other hand, keeps me “in” my head.
7. Go Somewhere. Have a destination in mind when you start your walk – make your way to a coffee shop or to a friend’s house. Or even stop at the grocery store to pick up a few small items, and then carry them home in a backpack. You’ll (probably) be less sweaty and smelly, plus it’s much easier to carry stuff in a small backpack when you’re walking.
I found some other great ideas on skyaboveus.com – check it out, and let me know what you think! What things can I add to my list?
Now for the fun part – the giveaway! Our friends at XShadyside 24 Hour Gym Pittsburgh are providing today’s giveaway prize – a $25 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods. To enter this giveaway, follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.
Stuff you should know before you enter the giveaway —> * This giveaway is open to US residents only. You must be 18+ to enter. Winners will be notified via email and given 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner may be selected. Mommy Runs It is not responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is not sponsored by Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or any of their affiliates. Giveaway ends 2/2/17 at 11:59 p.m. EST.*