Shortly after completing the London Marathon I read a comment made by someone on social media stating “if you walked at any point during the marathon, then you have not run the London Marathon.”
Not only did I think this is the most ridiculous comment to make, but it also made me extremely angry. The person making the comment was obviously a runner who took their running seriously, however what right did they have to comment on how a person finished. For some the race is serious, it is about getting the best possible time and beating as many people as possible. For others, time is irrelevant. For many, like myself, it was not about the finishing time, it was about the finish. It was about completing your journey and crossing the finish line – regardless of how you get there.
I ran around 99% of the distance. There were short stops, generally around water stations and when I was saying hello to loved ones, when I broke into a walk. To regain my thoughts and strength. To give myself a talking to. I don’t care that I walked the 1% – I was doing whatever I could to see my journey through.
And the same still applies. The last few months have seen me loosing my running mojo at times and in doing so I have lost a little drive, motivation and strength. When I am feeling my lowest, running generally helps. But lately, at times, even running fails me.
It is at times like these that I have to adapt. I have to adjust my expectations and re-plan my day. So when this happens, I take to walking.
This morning was one of those days. The sun was shining, it was a glorious morning. However, the strength within me was lost. So I put on my trainers and took myself for a four mile walk – along the river and through the town park.
Walking, for some, can be the perfect exercise. And at times when running fails me, walking is better than doing nothing. So that’s exactly what I do.
I am lucky enough to be surrounded by green spaces – making my walks very pleasant and in the Winter, very muddy. I am also privileged to live in proximity of London and at times I like to wonder round the vibrant city.
In recent years I have been fond of the “walking trails” available in the capital, hunting down various characters from up coming films. When the Olympics were in our city I hunted down various “Wenlock” and “Mandeville” characters with friends, covering over ten miles in one day. Following years saw the release of movies such as Shaun the Sheep, Paddington Bear and Roald Dahl’s the “BFG.” Each movie had its own trail and each time I ventured in to London to hunt down as many as possible. Not only did it get friends together, but it also got us walking about the city in a exciting way and making exercise fun rather than just a chore.
What ever your reason for walking you need to enjoy it. So if you walk to get through an injury or illness, if you are suffering from a physical or mental block from running or if you simply just love walking – just don’t stop.
Get out there, keep active, feel the sun on your face.
As I said to myself today – “Walking four miles is better than no miles at all.”