1609 kilometres, 160934400 centimetres, 2 million steps… However you want to measure it a thousand miles is a pretty long way!
Over the course of last year, I’ve effectively covered the same distance as walking from the Peak District to Milan! I can tell you now; it’s not been easy or plain sailing, but #Walk2016 has been worth every step.
Looking back I can’t believe it’s been a year since I signed up for ViewRanger’s #Walk2016! Back in December 2015, the prospect of walking 1000 miles seemed a great target but also a little daunting, especially given the number of sports I love doing! However aside from loving a challenge, my key motivation for signing up was to try to discover interesting new routes and places.
Over the past 12 months, I have definitely done this! From uncovering unfamiliar tracks only 15 minutes from my doorstep all the way to epic adventures further afield, this challenge has taken me on some unforgettable journeys! Of these, the absolute highlight for me had to be climbing Mont Blanc, my first 4000m peak. It was one of the best things I have ever done (you can read more on that here).
As well as pushing me physically this challenge has also taught me a lot about myself. Initially, I found it hard to head out walking over running or biking, as in my mind these had the bonus of also acting as training. However, an ankle injury early in the year meant a month off running. Although at first I was frustrated this soon turned around as I found my weekly walks provided precious head space giving me the time to dream up more adventures and plans.
I had been going about it all wrong – before this, my sole focus had been on the mileage, not the journey and enjoying myself. As soon as I started focusing on mixing things up, the miles were flying by. Somedays I would set out to explore a new area I had not been to, others the aim would be to try and improve my photography or capture the sunset, and some days were entirely random rambling!
Now I am going I have no plan of stopping and have big plans for 2017…
I will definitely be taking part in #Walk2017 but also getting involved in ViewRanger’s new challenges with #Bike2017 and #Run2017. If I walked as far as Sheffield to Barcelona last year – how far walking, running and biking can I go this year..!
My advice to anyone keen to sign up would be:
Firstly get in the habit of logging your miles!
At the beginning of the year, you feel like you have ages to hit your target, however time passes quicker than you think and all your short walks quickly add up!
Secondly set milestones.
For the second half of the year, I broke my #Walk2016 into monthly targets to make sure I was keeping on track. Not only did this ensure I wasn’t getting behind. It also was a great excuse for a mini celebration at the end of each month!
Mix it up!
Finally incorporate your hobbies and interests into your challenges – whether that is photography, learning more about nature, joining a club to meet new people or creative writing it all adds to the experience and is really rewarding.