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…of the WALK 1000 MILES challenge!


Your brain isn’t always as great a partner as it might be when it comes to the big challenges.

Do you recognise any of these? Time to get them out in the open – and give them a good walking-to.


1 “It’s not for people like me”

The truth is it’s not for people like anything. The only thing that does unite us is the hope, then knowledge, that life gets better one step at a time. All the rest we have the pleasure of discovering about each other. And walking 1000 miles isn’t like an Olympic event where all the competitors need a common baseline of fitness and physique. Instead, it takes you from a start-line marked ‘Where you are’ to a finish marked ‘Closer to where you want to be’. And your fellow challengers aren’t ranked alongside you, but filling the stands, cheering for you. This is what makes #walk1000miles such a unique event: it’s a team game AND an individual quest, where we can all win gold, and (as you’ll see from the community on Facebook) when one wins we all win.


2 “I’m falling behind!”

One of the most common and insidious questions your brain puts to you, especially when you’re seeing other people’s mileage. It does it because it’s a sofa-loving, nervous spaniel of a thing, and it would much rather stay in the warm being stroked by you than go out there in the cold for an uncertain reward.

In fact, your brain has very little to do with your challenge, and nor does its flaky alter-ego ‘motivation’. Stop listening to those two, because…

It’s totally irrelevant what other people are doing. The challenge pits you against only ONE other competitor – the alternative you who said ‘No’ to being bothered to do it. Every time you decide to walk anywhere, even 20 minutes round the block in an ill-tempered march in the rain before bed, you’re kicking the ass of that other competitor.

Time is NOT ‘running out. 12 months is a huge amount of time, and the clock only started the day you did – not 1 Jan (unless that’s when you did).

2.73 miles is not a daily-rotating scythe you must jump or be cut down by. It’s simply the average you’ll have hit when you reach 1000 miles using every day of 12 months. Some days you will do more – maybe much more. Many days you will do less. That’s the magic of averages. Your challenge is NOT in peril if you have a few crummy days.


3 “I’m too late to start”

Well maybe for 2021… but 2022 is just around the corner!


4 “Walking can’t make much difference”

Hoo, boy, you’re in for a surprise. Despite not being impactful, fast-paced or Red Bull-sponsored, walking is astonishingly effective at boosting the whole spectrum of health and wellbeing. “The difference it makes is absolutely huge,” says doctor and author Peter Davies. Against Type 2 diabetes, ischaemic heart disease, hypertension, stroke, obesity, depression, osteoporosis, glaucoma, arthritis and more – study after study reveals walking an hour a day is the most potent defence. “It’s a better preventive drug than any medical prescription I can give,” says Dr Davies. “Walking really is the best medicine,” says Alison Sabine, Consultant Rheumatologist. “Patients of mine who walked regularly during lockdown have fared so much better. Walking feels more important now than ever before. If everyone walked daily I believe it would save the NHS.”


5 “I’m too busy today”

Walking even a short distance lowers stress, boosts perspective and problem-solves – and every 20 minutes is a mile toward your total. You can get more done with less sense of pressure after a walk. So when your brain looks to this as a get-out – ask yourself, aren’t I actually too busy [ital] not [/ital] to go for a walk?


6 “It’s just a number”

Yes, it is! And we don’t believe in reducing the manifold pleasures of walking to a mechanical march to reach an arbitrary number either. But we do know that however pleasurable and beneficial walking is, and however those benefits compound when you walk daily, there are times when inertia or our mutinous brain will urge laziness on us instead. THAT’s when the friendly spur of #walk1000miles comes into play – and the shimmering prize of 1000 miles (just a number, but WHAT a number!) – yanks you up to do something you know for a fact you’ll come back feeling great from. How many other people in the world can say they’ve done that? Feel this purposeful? Have this compass that points the way ahead in even the foggiest of times?


7 “I don’t feel like it”

That’s natural because your brain is an energy-preserving device that hasn’t fully twigged we don’t live in a world of food scarcity anymore – and it’s aided and abetted by ‘motivation’. Don’t pander to it. Practice discipline. Because though one part of you doesn’t feel like it, a better part knows just how glad you’ll be you walked today. When we consult our motivation, it’s a riffle through the excuse book (‘Let’s see if it brightens up’, ‘We’re too busy, ‘What’s the point?’ ad infinitum). When you let discipline take over, it’s an easy autopilot: off the sofa, hit the pavements and paths for 45 minutes or an hour’s walk, KNOW you’ll feel great you did. And filling in those little windows on your 1000-mile progress chart builds capital you do not want to lose.


Now listen…

Be kind to yourself, always. But be firm with that fretfulness, self-doubt and silliness that is trying to hold you back from (A) DOING it and (B) ENJOYING it. Every itty-bitty weekday mile – and every wonderful weekend mile of wider horizons and boundless optimism that awaits.


(courtesy of Country Walking Magazine)

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