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I would walk one thousand miles…

Since 2017, I’ve set myself the challenge of walking one thousand miles per year. Not for any particular reason, I just wanted to walk more and I think I saw someone referring to that distance as a good goal for a year so I went with it.

The first couple of years I easily hit my goal, helped by the fact I met Adam who walks 5 miles a day just by walking too and from work. I tracked my mileage using the health app on my phone and set up a nice little spreadsheet with graphs to show my progress. It was interesting seeing the peaks – often coinciding with a holiday somewhere – and the troughs. Then lockdown hit, and whilst I still hit my goal in 2020 thanks to all the lockdown walks when we couldn’t do much else, the shift in lifestyle definitely had an impact on my movement.

In 2021 and 2022 I hit over 900 miles, but I was a long way from my target. I thought I’d got back in my stride last year, but I missed the target by just 18 miles. A move back to full time working from home in November was partly to blame.

This year I decided I wanted to meet my goal again but I needed some external motivation for doing so. In mentioning my desire to be more active to some colleagues I was recommended Conqueror Virtual Challenges. Their virtual challenges come with medals, and who doesn’t love a reward for recognising an achievement?! Other than my 10 and 25 metre swimming badges from primary school, and medals for doing the Moonwalk twice (the breast cancer charity walk that is, not the Michael Jackson dance), I’ve never won any prizes for doing anything active and I thought this would be the perfect way to not only meet my challenge but to keep track and keep me motivated throughout the year.

I scrolled through the various challenges they offer, settling on the Conquer 2024 challenge. Unlike most of their challenges which follow a particular route and a set distance, of which I’d have to do a few to meet my target, this one allowed me to set my own distance goal. I also liked the look of the medal more than some of the other walks.

Every day I update the Conqueror Virtual Challenge App with my walking distance from the day before and it shows me how I’m doing against my target. To meet the 1,000 miles goal I have to do on average 2.7 miles a day. Some days that is easy. Our Sunday adventures often see me clock up a good distance, as I do whenever I’m on holiday – I walked over 40 miles in seven days whilst in Barcelona in January. Other days, like those working from home days when I have no real reason to leave the flat, it’s harder. It generally seems to balance out though.

This weekend, whilst exploring València, I clocked over 8 miles on one day, and I’m currently well ahead of my target 71 days into the year.

I’m a sucker for a challenge (I’ll share more on my other challenges for 2024 another time) and while I don’t want to wish the year away as it’s going fast enough, I’m looking forward to getting my first medal in a long time. Let’s just hope my planta fasciitis doesn’t make a reappearance, as that really does make walking painful.

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