My 2021 Commitments Review: The One Where I Committed to Walking 500 Miles (And I would walk 500 more…)

Well, actually 601, but who’s counting?

To go along with my weight loss goal, I figured that eating a certain amount of calories was only going to be one part of reaching my health goals. I’m not really sure why I settled on 500 miles. There’s nothing special about that number. Nothing magical. It’s just a number that seemed really high, and at that time, rather unachievable.

I figured out that if I wanted to reach that goal, I would have to walk 1.37 miles a day. Of course, there would be no way I could do that every single day. We live in north Alabama, where from January till April it rains quite a bit, and it can get downright chilly. In fact, out of the first 31 days of 2021, I only was able to get outside and walk 11 of those days. I missed 20 of 31 days the first month of my commitment.

Not exactly the best way to start.

Part of the problem was I didn’t have any good cold weather gear. Solution – Amazon Basics and Costco Special sweatpants.

Another part of the problem with walking was shoes. To make it brief, I have a bit of a weird gait and my right foot has some major supination issues. My left foot is fine, but my right one gives me all sorts of fits. Years ago, I had gone to Fleet Feet here in Huntsville. It’s a place that measures your gait and uses diagnostic tools to see pressure points on your foot as you walk. I decided to go back and visit them.

First of all, let me commend Fleet Feet – the stores both in Jones Valley and in Madison. They are amazing and very patient. I went in knowing I’d have to spend quite a bit of money on a good pair of shoes if I was going to achieve this goal. I started out in a pair of New Balance support shoes. Fit well in the store, but when I got them on the road, they really hurt my feet. Fleet Feet has a great return policy, 60 days, no matter what. After about 2 weeks, I returned them, and tried a pair of Brooks Glycerin shoes. These shoes were AMAZING – the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. The problem was the back of the shoe dug into the back of my ankle, to the point where I came home and the skin had been rubbed off. So…I returned those, got a different pait of New Balance.

After those also made my feet hurt after just 1 walk (in an obvious, this aint gonna work moment), I returned them as well. I ended up in a pair of ON Cloudflyer shoes. These worked rather well for me, for about 4 months, and then they just started to fall apart. I reached out to ON, since the Fleet Feet return time frame was over, and to their credit, ON warrantied the shoes and replaced them.

I really wish I had gone with the Hoka shoes. My understanding is that they are the best of the best. When the replaced ON Cloudflyers wear out, that’s probably what I’ll try next.

But back to walking – how did achieve this commitment? Let me tell you that first of all, I am not a morning person. So I did very few of my walks in the morning. I committed to walking right after dinner most nights. It was a time after dinner, after we had done the dishes and cleaned up from dinner, where the gals in my home are getting ready for the next day, so I figured it would be as good a time as any.

I also committed to doing at least 30 minutes every time I walked. I arrived at this number after buying an Apple Watch. The Apple Watch has activity rings you have to fill each day, and the default number for exercise minutes was 30. So in order to see that ring get completed every day, that was my goal, 30 minute walks. I got that Apple Watch around the first of March, and I saw a radical transformation in my commitment level at that point. It makes it so easy to keep up with distance, speed, calories burned, and more. I highly recommend them.

I averaged walking about 2.5-3.5 miles every time I went out. I could achieve this in about 40-45 minutes. I even got to where I was doing some mile jogging intervals, but jogging is not my goal. Running is not my goal. Walking and getting my heart healthier was my goal.

I spend the time listening to a couple of different things. I’ll listen to a chapter of the Bible, and then I’ll listen to a portion of an audiobook, and then I’ll listen to my favorite sports podcast, Outkick 360, based out of Nashville. On occasion, I would listen to select music, but honestly I walk better listening to the other.

I also got to where on Saturday mornings, if we weren’t too busy, I’d go for a 5 mile or more walk.

By the end of the year, I got to where if I hadn’t done my walk, I felt sluggish and tired.

Now listen – if I can do this, you can as well. Seriously. Walking was never really something I loved. In fact, I did everything in my power to not walk if I could. If I could drive, or ride, or avoid it, I would. But now I love walking and look forward to it most nights. It will change your life.

I encourage everyone to get out and move. By the way, I blew past 500 miles, and ended up at 601!!