January : Lessons From Walking 100 Miles 

Today is the day I completed 100 miles in January. Actually technically it was yesterday (today’s a rest day) but I did have until the 31st.

I’ve seen January for what it is. An important time to witness the winter season in full force. I’ve experienced magical morning sunlight. I’ve felt wet moorelands against the skin – soaking my supposed water resistant trousers.  I’ve seen pitch black freezing skies with stars that go on forever.  I’ve shuddered in the nearby mountain winds. I’ve heard  the dusting of ice fall off trees and hit the ground, fizzling as it melts. I’ve listened to the crunching of the snow as I contribute my footprints upon the fresh sheets. I’ve basked in what feels like the start of spring warmth, watching snowdrops and daffs appear from their seasonal slumber.  And I’ve stood in silence as the fog engulfs the path behind me sneakily.

When I step outside, whatever went on beforehand, the stresses of work, family and relationships, just a mile in among these seasonal delights and I forget it all.

Nature, the great outdoors has that fantastic quality of distracting you with her beauty. It gives your mind a rest from the nagging monkeys which bombard you daily.  I do believe everyone should have access to this even if it means a park, a canal, a garden, a local woods.

I’ve been mostly walking about 3.5 miles a day (a hop in the grand scheme of things) and using my weekends to venture further.  I particularly found the last week a little harder and so it got me thinking about what I’ve learnt so far.

Stretch

I’ve always had tight calf muscles. I specifically made them worse when I climbed up snowdon the first time. I walked on tip toes for a week after.  So you’d think I would have learnt right? I’d say to anyone walking daily no matter the type terrain, stretch before and afterwards. The last week’s muscle nag prompted me and I’m making a point of stretching  for the rest of the year!

Head Torch 

Take one with you always. This time of year catches you out with mist and fog. I’ve been caught out a few times this month. Luckily on last night’s fog induced ramble I had one with me (which Im currently testingreview coming soon)

Bananas

I know not everyone’s cup of tea but they especially help with energy levels. Useful on the inclines around here. I’m really not keen on the manufactured shot blocks and juices etc and I think fruit in general is a better alternative.  They also help with cramps but are meant to be eaten before exercise (that‘s where I went wrong).

Doggy Treats

One for the dog walkers. My pup has so much energy but since she’s so young I don’t want to knacker her our too much. A handful of biscuits during or after the walk helps to perk her up and on longer walks I carry a water bottle for her.

Empty Mind

There’s a branch of Science that suggests walking/ hiking often helps to rid of negative thoughts and I agree. I don’t think you should ever ‘mediate’ on negativity whilst you’re outdoors.  Common sense tells me whilst out in nature you should always be present because it keeps you safe. Ocupying your mind with (insert modern stress) leaves you open to potential danger. Did you see that pot hole? Barbed wire? Slippery bank? Of course not you were too busy going over the spat you recently had.

Walk When The Moment Allows

Time, motivation, fitness level etc can all prevent us from doing something. You set yourself a goal and then something gets in your way and you decide the force is against you, or you just can’t do it etc.  So the last week for me, the challenging week, instead of sticking to my before midday ramble, I just went whenever it felt right.  No schedule, no expectation, just go.

Support Group

It really helps even if you’re not the ‘in need of encouragement’ type. I have loved reading the Walk1000miles  Facebook group. Special thanks goes to Rik (for coming along on night walks with me – I’m not too sure he understands just how much I love being in nature with himI hope youre not reading this)! My mum ( as much as I like to walk alone in silence – I love our random chats about life and the universe) Fi ( it was nice to hear about your art projects and your colour interpretation of the evening sky ) Cerys (a pleasure as always to share a walk with a like minded friend) and of course my pup, in it with me forever (the bounce in her step makes it worth it).

And then there’s you guys, on here and my social media. Thanks all so much for your encouragement. It means the world and back to me!

There we have it – 100 mile lessons and I’m sure there’s more to come!

Have you taken up something this year that you’re fanatical about ? Tell me!