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Gold Challenge Update: In Praise of Walking

September 13, 2011

Hello everyone! How’s everyone’s Tuesday going? Mine has been OK – nothing much out of the ordinary has happened yet. The weather has been out to get me today – pouring down with rain every time I go outside and then when I go inside the sun comes out!

I haven’t done an update about how I’m getting on with the Olympic Gold Challenge for a while (you can read my other updates here and here). I’m doing the challenge to raise money for Cancer Research UK and you can go to my Gold Challenge page to see my progress.


If you’re catching up, the challenge is to complete 2012km before the start of the London Olympic Games in July next year by whatever sporty means you want (e.g. running, walking, cycling, rowing, swimming, canoeing). My goal is to complete 39km (about 24 miles) a week and I’m racking up the kilometres mainly through running at the moment. However, it would be a massive challenge to run that far every week, especially as I’m still a relative newbie to running. So, I’ve been supplementing my running with lots of walking too.

I love walking!


Me back in January wearing about 20 layers to avoid the cold

I find it so peaceful and meditative to walk on my own – last year I did a 37 mile hike over two days all on my own. I’d been having a hard time and that walk was the best medicine that I could have possibly have. Walking can also be a very sociable activity as well. I joined a local walking group last year and roamed the Yorkshire Dales for miles and miles chatting away.

Unfortunately I had to stop walking when I injured my foot Sad smile Walking  more than a mile was something that really caused me pain, even though I could run fine (weird, I know!). Thankfully, my foot seems to be on the mend and I have gradually been able to increase the distance that I can walk. Doing 4-6 miles doesn’t seem to cause me any problems and I’d love to try a longer walk again soon.

Consistency has been vital for me to keep on target, so I’ve tried to walk 2km every lunchtime. Rain or shine, I head out onto the streets of Leeds and pound the pavements. There are some wonderful benefits – my head feels much clearer in the afternoon and the day seems to go quicker if I have a walk to look forward to. I used to be guilty of eating lunch at my desk and surfing the net as a break, but I know that it’s not good for me! There are downsides though … I tend to spend money, especially as my route takes me past a health food shop, a running shop and Waitrose. I don’t take me purse with me anymore!

I also believe that walking is an excellent form of exercise that often gets overlooked in the healthy living blog world. Walking long distances and hiking can be a real cardio workout, and walking whenever you can all adds up to increasing your daily activity. It’s also a great place to start if you’re intimidated by other forms of exercise or if you’re recovering from injury or illness.

I can imagine that I’ll be tottering around with my zimmer frame when I’m 90 – I hope walking will always be a real pleasure for me.

Do you like walking? What are the benefits for you?

Remember – you can join in the Olympic Gold Challenge as well by going to You don’t have to do 2012km – you can aim for a shorter distance or try out one of the other challenges.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 13, 2011 5:24 pm

    You’re doing really well! Loved what you said about walking being overlooked, I know that when you’re used to running or another form of intense exercise that going for a walk doesn’t seem as hard core or that you’ll get any benefits, so it’s nice to remind ourselves that you do, plus like you said it’s so good to clear your mind.
    I’m going up Snowdon on Thursday and looking forward to a good treck!

    • September 13, 2011 6:04 pm

      Wow! Snowdon must be a tough hike…I would love it if it would be at all possible for you to take some pics while you’re up there.

      I’ve been up a few Scottish mini-mountains but nothing as hardcore as Snowdon…

  2. September 13, 2011 5:29 pm

    Wow brilliant progress 🙂
    I love walking and often me and Andy will have a little walk after dinner- nice for a chat and also to stretch the legs and get some fresh air after work. When w were marathon training this went by the way-side as we were so tired from all the running though!

  3. September 13, 2011 8:02 pm

    I LOVE walking. I love finding a new route to explore part of the country I haven’t been yet.

  4. September 13, 2011 8:11 pm

    I love walking too! I definitely agree that a quick walk break at lunch time is a real refresher for the brain – totally zaps that afternoon slump. Good to hear your foot is letting you walk further again!

  5. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance permalink
    September 13, 2011 9:03 pm

    37 miles of walking is pretty impressive– good for you Sarah! I do like to walk myself, but never really end up doing it as much as I’d like to. It’s really a shame 😦

  6. September 13, 2011 9:37 pm

    Wow that is a whole lot of walking, I am very impressed Sarah! I walk so much more now that I am back at school, I am really loving it again

  7. jenandberries permalink
    September 13, 2011 9:44 pm

    Oh wow that hike sounds brill, sorry to hear about your foot though, I feel your frustration! i totally agree, just a short walk makes you feel 100 times better! i’m a huge walking fan, I’ve not got a driving lisence so walk everywhere – sometimes up to 10km a day but it’s just normal for me now 🙂 hehe Waitrose helps keep your strength up though, love buying their nine bars 😛

  8. September 14, 2011 6:44 am

    Wow – i love that you walked Snowdon, good on you girlie. I much prefer to walk than to run – I agree, it is totally overlooked!

  9. September 14, 2011 9:23 am

    I would love to do more walking – or probably it would be hiking, I love to walk in the countryside, I think I need to get my husband more into it! I can totally see why walking alone would be so calming too, I guess in the same way that running can be. I know in the future I will definitely do more walking as I get older, much better on the joints than running!

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