Thursday, August 9, 2007

What if I’m a Walker, not a Runner?

We talk about running a lot, but we also recognize not everyone is a runner. Not everyone wants to be. And, it’s a good idea to build a good base of walking before even attempting to start a running program.

As Leo has pointed out, patience, perseverance and progression are key elements to any program of exercise. If you’ve taken the plunge with Footloose! and just started walking, then make sure you add progression to your regimen. Each week, try to increase in one of the following ways:

Time: walk longer – add 5-10-15-30 minutes to your time.
Distance: walk farther – add another kilometre or five – or add in one looong walk every week
Speed: walk faster – increase your pace until you notice a change in your breathing
Endurance: walk hills – change your route several times a week to include a hill or two

And, don't forget Pals. One of my own running partners once said, “Sometimes I think you can find words with a running (or walking) partner that you can’t even find with a close friend.”

I believe she is right. You develop a level of trust when you exercise regularly with someone. There is something about putting out an effort together, walking or running side-by-side, facing forward, encouraging and sharing strength, that grows trust and opens the flow of communication. I know the gals I ran my first marathon with will be lifelong friends. (Each of them had a form of arthritis; some were able to run, some walked the marathon. You can read about that experience here. ).

Carol Shannon and Golda Elderkin of Riverside-Albert have been supporting and encouraging each other throughout the Footloose! program. Each day, they walk the Crooked Creek Trail in Riverside-Albert. It’s a great uphill workout, if you haven't tried it yet. And they enjoy each other’s company. Carol says the thing she loves about Footloose! is having an incentive, a goal, and a friend to walk with. At the end of the day, if she hasn’t logged her 10,000 steps, then she heads out to the back yard and walks around the barn until she reaches her goal.

Now that’s commitment!

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