I have been dabbling with running recently, mainly because I needed an efficient way to increase my lung capacity and running seemed like the cheapest, most time-efficient method of increasing heartrate as quickly as possible. I don’t love it, it is a tool to increase specific fitness of my cardio-vascular system. I can sort of lose myself into the rhythm of the run now, but still, not loving it as a mental escape really.
Walking on the other hand is really different. I can get into a daydreaming zone really quickly. I often don’t take my phone. This is a learnt protection after I went through a period of getting sustained headaches and the optician reckoned it was because I spent even my school run walks (back in the day) answering emails on my phone, or texting – or updating FaceBook. Lesson learnt – our eyes need a total rest from staring into middle distance. Apparently, the old advice to look away from your computer screen is hugely outdated, as that was based on us only looking at that distance during work hours. Not every waking hour.
So, walking is now just walking, letting my mind wander, enjoying chatting to fellow dog walkers, saying hi to a few people, listening to the birds. Not really being any more productive than that. And I love it. This week I am reading Claire Balding’s book about the Radio4Ramblingsprogramme, Walking Home. It is really lovely, I like her writing style and love the radio programme.
It is also inspiring me to plan to walk a long route – not all at once, but in chunks over a year. I was dragged around part of the Pembrokeshire Coast path as a young child (about 10!) and have memories of that being very hard work. But Claire Balding’s descriptions of the benefits of a longer hike are appealing. I seem to remember St Kenelm’s Way being a local possibility. Need to do some research I think. And brush up on map reading skills. And replace my boots.