Walk Don’t Walk

After my recent summer excursion I was told not to run. My Achilles heel was damaged  and I was told to take 6 weeks or so off running to recover. Of course like all runners it made me decidedly twitchy. In an attempt to alleviate the heeby geebies I had a go at walking. Having developed a bit of a fondness for trail running and spent rather a long time completing some very slow marathons which involved some walking recently you would think that walks in the country would be a suitable replacement and no, no they are not.  It’s better than feeling like a useless blob of lard but… it’s just not running.

The biggest difficulty I have is that it just doesn’t quite fit me. I feel like a sore thumb, as out of place as a nun at a Richard Dawkins appreciation society dinner. I don’t have the maps or the ramblers anorak or the hiking boots so there is no pretence I am a serious walker. I have no child or dog so I can’t pretend I am a family man just doing family stuff and not just a frustrated runner completely out of my comfort zone trying to compensate. No, when I go walking I look like a twisted middle aged weirdo creeping around on my own up to who knows what. I am tempted to carry a drink in a paper bag and then I could at least be considered a legitimate wino but, I don’t think I could muster up the random shouting at strangers. It reminds me very much of when I first started to run, I felt out of place and impostor like then.  Possibly a figure of fun and comedy for the rest of the world. Of course it didn’t take long to become a way of life, I don’t even think about it now it’s just what I do, and even back when I started I at least had the trainers and shorts. Still at the moment walking just feels wrong.

Walking doesn’t seem to do the trick with thinking time either and that is a complete mystery.  You would have thought that there wouldn’t be a lot in it.  Both activities involve you being on your feet and moving but somehow running has the edge.  There is nothing like a good long run for filling the head with ideas, walking on the other hand seems to yield very little indeed.  Maybe it is simply a question of ideas over distance.  Same amount of time out there but less mileage means less ideas.  Perhaps it has something to do with the rhythm of running as opposed to a walk.  It could even be the effort you put in takes you that closer to the edge of things and clears your brain to let decent new stuff in.  I have to say, walking doesn’t give me ideas in the same way as a bloody good run does.

Another issue with the whole walking thing is that it feels completely unfocused. A bit like I am killing time waiting for something. When I run I have some kind of objective in mind. There is a purpose to it. Sometimes I am working on my pace so I will do a tempo run or visit track. On other occasions I will be building up my stamina so will do a long run and even if I am simply recovering, keeping my legs ticking over with a shorter more sedate affair it feels like I am making progress or working towards something. Walking?? The best I can come up with is I am walking because I am not allowed to run. Even trying to justify it in terms of cake seems to make no sense. I mean I have looked at the difference in calories burned and time taken, to be honest it is hardly worth the ratio. I would have to spend about an hour walking before I can even have a reasonably small slice of cheesecake. Running I can burn that off in 20 minutes I reckon. Yes walking is just a form of waiting for me. A dull and tedious way to stop me going completely crazy until I can run again.


2 thoughts on “Walk Don’t Walk

  1. I agree that walking doesn’t hit the spot the way running does, but because I am only a very average completer of ultramarathons I have learned that walking is part of the game so this year I’ve been practising it. Maintaining a purposeful walking speed on the trails is HARD. Way harder than running. And it require a lot more mental effort too. Give it a go!


    1. I can see exactly where you are coming from. There was a lady who did 10 ultras while I was doing my 10 and she had a pace on her when walking I could not keep up with. That kind of power walking needs practice and if you are doing the hardcore ultras and multi day events it is a skill worth developing. Sue ( who was the ultra runner I mentioned) was so inspirational she got her own theme tune which I will record one day.


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