There's a lot to be said for practicing the art of staying consistently relaxed for long periods of time. Doing so leaves you with the ability to settle yourself, both physically and mentally. Staying relaxed and smart in the midst of adversity should be every athlete's goal. It's the prime directive of our walking programs and you will ultimately discover, as others have, that it opens up the door to self-mastery.
Here is How to Make the Most of Your Long Walk:
- Spend the day before hydrating. Drink lots of water all day so your body is well hydrated when you head out on your long walk.
- Avoid any activities that will over tire your legs.
- Eat a good carbohydrate meal the night before. No protein or spicy foods. Keep it simple and clean-burning. There's nothing worse than having distress in your lower digestive tract when you're out there on the road.
- Plan your route. Know where you are going to go. Decide whether you will walk a loop or an out and back.
- Let someone know where you are going and roughly what time to expect you back.
- Clothes and equipment: This is a good time to learn to carry a pack or belt for fluids. You don't want to cut a walk short due to dehydration. Also, if you start your walk in the early morning, be aware that the day may warm up quite a bit while you are out there, so choose your clothes with those thoughts in mind. It may feel like long sleeves and tights when you wake up but after a few minutes of walking you might wish you had on lighter gear.
- On the morning of your walk, spend a little extra time doing your ChiWalking body looseners followed by the Grounding Stance and get yourself as relaxed as you possibly can. There's no need to bring along any tension here.
Things to Keep You Focused While You're Out There on Your walk:
- Set the countdown timer on your watch to beep every 10 minutes to remind you to check in with your posture, your ChiWalking technique, your level of relaxation and to drink a mouthful of water.
- Practice your ChiWalking skills. Pick two or three things to work on throughout your walk.
- Let your mind and body get into the consistent rhythm of your cadence. It can be very relaxing and meditative. Just watching your footsteps keeps you in the moment and takes your mind off of how far you've come or how far you're going. It brings you back into the present moment which knocks out any chance of boredom and builds patience (which we could all use more of).
As I said, I look forward to my long walk all week. I enjoy every minute of being out walking and I know when I come back I'll be in that great space that only a long walk brings on...a relaxed, pleasantly fatigued, peaceful place of knowing I've just benefited my whole being.