Living in Colorado can be a bit challenging for a novice walker. (A novice fitness walker, I should clarify – I imagine any terrain is challenging for a novice walker.) Although we don’t live in the mountains or even the foothills, our neighborhood is still filled with small hills. Or at least they seem small from the comfort of a car. 😉
I am lucky that the area immediately to the west of our house, which also happens to be the direction we need to head in for school each morning, has only a small grade but no real hills. However, if I walk the basic route to school and home, I only hit about .85 miles. I really want to get in a full mile, but most of the routes that get me up to that distance also include a hill.
I have managed these routes twice in the last week, but I can tell I’m not ready for them quite yet. My thighs were so sore after Friday’s walk that I didn’t walk again the rest of the weekend. (Although a lot of that just had to do with it being the weekend.) I did another today that wasn’t quite as bad, but I can still tell I’m going to suffer again tomorrow.
However, at some point, I have to be able to tackle these hills. I’ll never get a decent walk in if I don’t, unless I just repeat a small loop several times over, and that would get incredibly boring. Plus, I know the hills are good for my overall fitness level. So I’ve studied the maps on RunKeeper and found some routes that will help me build my endurance to the point where I can tackle the hills.
Week 1 (the rest of this week): I managed to find a single route that clocks in at 1.07 miles and has no hills, so that’s what I’ll do for now.
Week 2: A 1.1 mile route, but with a moderate hill.
Week 3 (and maybe Week 4?): A 1.32 mile route with a steeper, but shorter hill.
The good news is that the Week 3 route can easily be extended out to a main road that will allow me to add all kinds of variations to keep gradually building my distance. My ultimate goal is to add a bit of distance every 1 to 2 weeks until I hit 3 miles!
(Edited to add: This post inspired me to keep going on my route-mapping quest to figure out a 10-week plan to achieving that goal.)