My MoonWalk training starts here

In walking on November 15, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Nike Zoom trainersI’ve decided to make today officially Day #2 of my new regime. I’ve had a few trial runs but now I think I should commit. From now on I will be doing a brisk 2-4 mile walk EVERY morning after dropping my son at school. Ok, almost every morning.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to ‘do a Brooker’ (his recent Guardian column on accidentally becoming a runner sums up a lot of how I feel about fit people). There is no danger of me going to the dark side and becoming actually sporty, although I have bought some highly engineered trainers to lessen the chance of injury and have been eyeing up some Stella McCartney leggings on the She Active website (and, having seen the price, will be going to Primark or Uniqlo instead).

The way I see it, the benefits of my new regime are several:

  • It is warmer outside my house than inside.
  • I live in an area surrounded by green spaces and woods.
  • I also live in an area within walking distance of lots of great little food markets and new foodie places I’ve been meaning to try, which qualifies as multitasking.
  • Maybe observing the changing seasons close up will stop me from hating winter so much.
  • I might lose some weight.
  • Although not if I keep walking to Brixton Village and eating pork dumplings from Mama Lans every time.
  • I might get to play with my Nike+ iPhone app, if I can work out how to activate the sensor.
  • I love walking but it always seems like an indulgence time-wise.
  • I particularly like walking round cities because often it throws up ideas.
  • I can walk for an hour every morning and still be at my desk by 10am.
  • I have nothing else to do.
  • Well, nothing meaningful.
  • It might take my mind off the fact that I have nothing else to do by inventing something for me to do.
  • Or it might just delay the realisation till 10am each day.
  • I’ve always wanted to find out what endorphins are like.


But the Number 1 reason is that, having talked about it for years, I’ve finally signed up to do the MoonWalk next May – that is, walking a marathon overnight through London wearing a decorated bra and raising money for breast cancer.

I now realise that far from being the gentle evening stroll I was imagining, 26 miles is actually A LONG WAY. And even walking at a pace of 4 miles an hour, that’s going to take at least 6 1/2 hours, and with 20 minute queues for the loos, other walkers to dodge and the fact that I’d be unlikely to sustain that pace past about mile 5, and unlikely to be able to feel my feet past mile 20, I’ll be happy to crawl home in anything less than 8 hours. Which is A LONG TIME. That’s a standard working day. Just spent walking. Non stop. And I can’t even bear to think about the whole exposed midriff issue.

So far I’ve done a few mini practice walks to break myself in. Things I used to think were ‘long walks’ but turn out to be a fraction of the distance I’m going to have to cover. For example, I used to think it was a reasonable distance from my house to London Bridge; in fact if you walk along the old Surrey Canal and up Bermondsey Street, it’s barely 4 miles. In other words, I’m going to have to do that more than SIX TIMES.

Furthermore, it makes me realise that London isn’t quite as vast as I thought it was. It turns out there’s not really an excuse for catching the bus into town. I’ve dug out my old Time Out London Walks books and even walking along the river from Hampton Court to Thames Barrier only clocks up 29 miles, and they suggest that would take TWO DAYS. I once walked the entire route of the Circle Line (above ground) overnight as part of the London Night Hike for the brilliant Maggies cancer care centres, and even that was only 17 miles, more than 9 miles short of a MoonWalk.

I’ve no idea how I’m going to be able to stay up till midnight to even start the walk, but I guess that’s a whole different sort of training.

Watch this space for details of how to sponsor me!

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