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When you’re a devoted runner, it’s beyond frustrating when you have to stop. But sometimes circumstances arise that force us to slow down to a walk, whether it’s something like a painful injury or uncomfortable pregnancy, or maybe you decide to switch gears and train for a multiple-day charity walk.
Even if you know a temporary break from running is the right thing and that a slower pace will help keep you in shape until you’re ready to run again, the thought of just walking can bring a regular runner to tears. So what’s a devoted runner to do to make something so seemingly boring feel as fast-paced and interesting as a tempo run or track workout?
Try some of these tips and you’ll be surprised how fast your so-called slow walks will fly by.
Use your walks as a way to practice mindfulness. When you’re running, it can be hard to make yourself focus on the little things. But when you slow down, you can teach yourself to regulate your breathing, pay attention to your stride, or practice reciting a motivational mantra; all these things will benefit you greatly once you’re able to start running again.
Walk Where You Need To Go
Make walking a part of your daily routine whenever possible to make it seem less of a chore. If you have any local errands to run, try walking to or between them. Or check out a neighborhood restaurant for brunch or dinner and work up an appetite walking there (and burn off your meal walking home).
Pump It Up
If you’re physically able, try mixing strength-training into your walk. Alternate spurts of walking with squats and lunges, and use things along the way for other strength moves, like a bench or curb for box jumps or a park slide for incline sit-ups.
Hit The Trails
If you can handle uneven terrain or climbing hills, try talking a walk in a local park, nature reserve, or trail. The changing scenery will keep your attention and being out in nature is a great way to feel instantly centered.
Tune In To TV
If you prefer to walk on a treadmill, use the time to catch up on your favorite TV shows. If you’re a Netflix binger, try only allowing yourself to watch your show when you walk; you’ll always be motivated to get on the treadmill if it means you can find out what happened after the last cliffhanger.
Make A Call
A walk is a great time to catch up on your telephonic to-do list. Use the time to return phone calls to friends or deal with pesky customer service calls you’ve been putting off. Just be sure to keep your eyes up and on your surroundings so you don’t wipe out while you’re chatting.
To keep your mind busy, download an audiobook or try a new podcast to listen to while you walk. Once you’re involved in the story, you’ll likely find yourself walking even further than you planned just to hear more.
Bring A Friend
Make a date with a pal to take a long weekend walk together. Try meeting for a coffee or smoothie before or after for a little added incentive.
Make It New
You’ll get bored really quickly if you walk the same lap around your neighborhood every day. Use a route-mapping tool to pick a new way to walk every day, or drive to different neighborhoods, parks, or towns to explore while you walk.