I couple of weeks ago I decided to up my walking schedule. I had been walking twice a day, relatively short walks of a half a mile to a mile and a half, occasionally on a particularly busy day, taking ony one walk. It was apparent that one short walk was not enough, and days I didn't get both walks in I would be stiff. I decided to take one longer walk each day and see how that went. The first two days I walked 2 1/2 miles around my neighborhood, which has some pretty steep hills. Then I worked out a 3 mile loop in my neighborhood, and planned a couple of alternatives for days I didn't have time in the morning, or found myself elsewhere.
For the past two weeks I've taken a walk of at least 3 miles every day. Although the first four or five days I was constantly exhausted, I noticed immediately that my walking was improving and that I moved better overall. I also stopped freezing up and getting stiff in the evenings which meant that I fell asleep more easily and slept better. Although I can't say that I necessarily want to take a 3 mile walk every day, especially on those days that my schedule does not permit an early morning walk, I walk anyway. I have not yet progressed to a point where I can skip walks, although that will probably come in time, as I continue to improve.
The difference between 2 1/2 miles and 3+ is significant, at least for me. I'm not built for speed and I've always been a bit of a slow starter. But I have stamina. The first two miles of a walk are a struggle. They are still a struggle even though the walking is much easier. But somewhere along the 2 1/2 mile point I undergo somekind of mental shift and it gets easier. It is not that I am less tired. It is not that any aching muscles or pains go away; they don't. Something happens at 2 1/2 miles that makes me stop struggling against my aches and pains and integrate them better, almost as if I become my pain, and that allows me to move beyond it. At 2 1/2 miles I am ready to push through. And the benefits of pushing through, in terms of focus, mobility, and energy, are significant.
My usual circuit ends at 3 miles back at my front door. If I want to change the length of the walk, I have to make that decision somewhere around the 1 1/2 - 2 mile point, right when I least feel like adding to my slog. If I am not walking from home at 6 AM however, there are more options. A couple of my evening walks have extended past the 4 mile point, not because I was trying to walk further, but simply because I forgot to stop. I do think this is a good sign. 2 weeks is not quite enough that walking is a habit yet. If I stopped I'd have to start all over, but it is a good start.
The next step is writing. I've climbed out of the boat. I'm in the water. I'm going to blog every weekday at least for now, until I have my groove back, until something changes that makes that impossible, and who knows when or if such a change will occur. I don't really have a plan for what I will write. If I write, and I walk, and I get through my days and meet my obligations that will be enough. There are many other things I want to explore, many creative outlets I wish to resume, but there is no rush.
I tend to be the type of person who throws myself into things, following whatever captures my attention, until I hit a wall. This time, I'm going to try going step by step. I might still crash, but hopefully I won't burn.