So, you have decided to you want to exercise, but just don’t like running or the idea of running or you can’t run due to injury. Now, what do you do? How about competitive walking? Where do you start? Glad you asked.
1. Get a good pair of shoes – go to a local running store and tell them that you are going to be walking, but don’t let them put you in “walking” shoes. You should get running shoes. Yes, running shoes not walking shoes. The walking shoes that are on the market look more like old people shoes and your feet will sweat in them.
2. Get some nice socks – while you are at the running store have them recommend a pair of socks for you. There are so many on the market at this time and constantly changing.
3. Download a fitness app – so many people have smartphones these days and carry them everywhere. My favorite app that is not connected to a fitness watch is Runkeeper. When you go to the website for Runkeeper you can create your walking routes. Plus you can choose your activity, music and what stats that are told you aloud.
4. Clothing – you don’t want to wear cotton, especially when it’s warm. How do you know what to wear, take the outdoor temperature and add 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Then you dress according to what you would wear for that temperature. So, if it’s 50 degrees out, you dress as if it is 70 out. You don’t have to buy new clothes to get out walking, but hey, it’s a great excuse to get some new clothing. When it’s cold out, be sure to dress in layers.
5. Fitness watch – you can get one if you like, but it is not required. I personally use a FitBit Charge 2 and thus use the FitBit app. I like the challenge of getting steps in during the day. Plus, the 10 minutes to the hour to make sure you get in your steps.
Now that you have all the gear, it’s time to get out and get moving. How far do you go? This depends on what level you are at already. Some people it will be just to the end of their driveway and some it will be a bit further. However, no matter which distance you start at don’t get too anxious to go too far. You will get there. You want it to be challenging but you also don’t want to get discouraged or injured.
Congratulations, you made it out for your first walk.
So, what’s next? How do you keep going?
1. Get a walking buddy – do you have a friend or family member or neighbor that has mentioned they might start walking? Talk to them and get them to take the same steps you did.
2. Track it – mark the days you walk, how far you walked and how long it took you on a calendar or in a journal
3. Share it – share your accomplishments on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whichever social media you are most active on. People will encourage you.
4. Encourage others – yep, encourage others to keep going and it will help you to keep going
5. Set goals – what distance would you like to do? Have you seen a race that you’d like to do? What distance is it? Where is it? Put it on your calendar. If you’ve never walked any distance before you will need 10 weeks to get up to a 5K and 16 weeks after that for a half marathon.
This is a great place to start for competitive walking. You will see as time goes by you will become apart of a great community of walkers and runners. This group will be very encouraging also.