Tuesday, September 30, 2014

1864.8 to 1873.5 Miles: Walking on Pogo Sticks

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Virtual Hike

The animated street view didn't work for this leg, so the weather map will keep you oriented. The day's route follows route 12 in southeastern Washington.

The route did not pass through any towns today. 
As I was walking along the dark shoulder today with a streetlight behind me, I noticed my shadow was bouncing more than normal. I took a break yesterday, and I felt extra energetic this morning.

I began to wonder about the bounce in my step. What was causing it? Why was I bouncier today? Is bounce good? 

So, I started thinking about the structure of the legs.

I decided the knees behave like a scissor strut on the nose wheel of an airplane. The strut is like the knee and the shock absorber is like the muscles in the legs. The appearance is the different, but the purpose is the same.

The shock absorber has 2 functions: Absorb shock and in the case of the legs, return energy.

Ideally, the legs will act like pogo sticks and return almost all the energy to propel the walker forward.

How does it work? I don't know, but I formed an analogy. The cells act like little super balls in the legs. They compress with the impact and release returning most of the energy to the step. As a person walks more miles, the muscles naturally become more efficient at returning energy. I don't think this is something a person can consciously train for.

Lunar Training Cycle

Green - Easy       Yellow - Medium    Red - Hard

I took a day off yesterday. I was worried this week would be difficult because the last four days walking days ranged from medium to hard days. They were challenging.

This morning, I walked 5.6 miles seemingly without effort. I only have 4.2 miles to go today. I'll work on pacing myself in the early days this week so the last days aren't so difficult.

So far, it appears the training cycle is working.

Please comment: Your inputs help me learn what interests you.

See you down the road,

Road Walker

Monday, September 29, 2014

9/29/14: 1856.1 to 1864.8 miles: Completed six days of lunar cycle

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Virtual Hike

The shoulder is a little narrow on this section of the route. The centerline is grooved which makes it hard on walkers. For some reason, people don't like to cross a grooved centerline to give a walker more room.

The route passes through Pomeroy, Washington.

Lewis and Clark passed through here in 1805.

What do walkers eat?

I'm vegan for both ethical and health reasons. I've found a vegan diet gives more energy and reduces recovery times.

We made some vegan nachos with refried beans and fresh vegetables.

After a difficult day , I thought this walk was going to be difficult. I felt fresh the entire day. The only reason it wasn't a green bar day is my pace was not near 4 mph. It was a creative day, and I took many notes for building another blog.

Given that this week was somewhat tiring, I'm concerned about the next two weeks in the cycle.  The walks are easy. The 3.5 pedometer miles during the day are more tiring than I anticipated. Yesterday, I focused on getting them early in the day, and that worked well.

I'm going to enjoy my rest day.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

9/28/14: 1846.2 to 1856.1 miles - Creative Deluge

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Virtual Hike

Walking was difficult yesterday. My leg muscles were tired most of the day and I considered reducing the miles. The intentional walk of 5.9 miles was easy. 

The additional 3.5 miles of steps around the house were hard.  The Fitbit Pedometer measures exercise intensity based on steps per minute. It took 123 minutes to walk 7.9 miles. One mile of this was cutting the grass, so it was slower. 

It took 197 minutes to get the other 1.5 miles of steps. No, the numbers aren't reversed. Steps around the house accumulate slowly. Time on the feet means something, too. I was on my feet for over five hours yesterday.

These UFO's were flying over all day today on the animated street view for the virtual route. These are lens flashes, but they are fun to watch as they swoop over the road.
Campaign signs are another sign of fall. I was out early this morning, starting a 1.5 mile walk at 3:40 am. Since I'm tired today, I'm going to break my long walk into two or three shorter walks.

Thankfully, there is a day off tomorrow.

Creative Deluge

Yesterday my walking triggered a creative deluge that lasted all day. I was constantly stopping what I was doing to make notes in the notebook I carry with me. I had many ideas for this blog, my blog on blogging, and my new book.  

I like to say, "Walks impregnate creativity." 

The bars are now color coded to indicate how difficult the walk was.

  • Green: No tiredness during walk or afterwards
  • Yellow: Muscle tiredness indicating a good workout. 
  • Red: Pain during the walk or continued tiredness throughout the day. Close to limit.
Most walks will be yellow walks with some tiredness afterwards. If there are too many green or red walks, I'll adjust the cycle difficulty.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

9/27/14: 1838.5 to 1846.2 miles - Habit Stacking for Success!

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Virtual Hike

The virtual route passes through Dayton, Washington. They have the oldest existing passenger train station in Washington. They also have the oldest continuously used courthouse. 

Main Street has the stereotypical railroad town buildings from the late 1880's to early 1900's. I love the old Main Street look  with their window displays and awnings. 

As I passed the Loaf 'N Jug this  morning, I had a feeling something special was about to happen. I was a little tired from the walking the past few days, so I knew it wasn't going to be a fast walk.

Special happened when I met the Kiosk.

The Kiosk gave me an idea for a new blog.

Walking impregnates Creativity.

Habit Stacking
The chart tracks my walking. How can I track my book writing and blogging?

I decided to stack two work habits with my walking. The top activity is walking. It is the most important activity because it impregnates creativity.

Completed activities are green. Intentionally missed activities are white. Unintentionally missed activities are red.

Each activity has a value in the left column based on their relative importance. The points are all or nothing.

The right column is the month to date average for each activity and for the combined activities.

Please comment:
How do your habits stack up? 

Friday, September 26, 2014

9/26/14: 1831.3 to 1838.5 miles: Conversations with my Coach

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Virtual Hike

Segment 29 cuts the Southeast corner of Washington State. It's only 67.9 miles long.

I walked a different route than usual this morning as I added 0.4 miles to my habitual walk. The picture is of a fountain taken through a waterfall. 

I wasn't done walking until after sunrise. The signs of fall are everywhere. 

While I was walking, I listened to the audio recording of the final draft of my new book, "Road Walking: Conversations with my Coach."  It should be ready to publish next week.

This blog addresses the physical aspects of walking and the mental aspects are in the book.

What's a hike without food? Yesterday, I made this Sloppy Joe from Anne's vegetarian chile, some onions and greens. It was an excellent snack. To make a meal, I'd add some homemade potato salad. This would be an easy meal to make on the road if I didn't mind the weight of the canned food. One advantage to using a pushcart is a little extra weight doesn't matter much.

28 Day Challenge
This morning, I was still a little tired from yesterday. The walks are easy enough, but the 3.5 miles in additional steps are difficult. They have more training effect than I anticipated.

I enjoyed a slow walk and stopped to take notes several times. These will turn into chapters in the new book I'm starting today. The book will record the results of training using the lunar cycle.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

9/25/14: 1825.3 to 1831.3 Miles. Scientific Management in Action

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Virtual Hike

This section of road has wide paved shoulders. It should be fast hiking. The route passes through Waitsburg, Washington near the end of the day.

There is a grocery store about a block west of the route. 
This might be a good place to eat. 

Waitsburg seems to be a tourist town that thrives off people passing through.

Every small town seems to have an annual festival. Waitsburg has a Pioneer Fall Festival in September.

Today's walk
I started at 5 am. There was no moon, so I could barely see. A group of runners from the University passed me on the bicycle trail. I didn't see them coming until they were close. Part of the problem was the light from the GPS was ruining my night vision. I'll have to make a cover for dark areas.

After rolling through a puddle, I decided to make a whimsical design with Wilson's wheels. The little "head" looks like Kilroy. If you don't know who Kilroy was, you are probably younger than I.

Completed Segment 28
Now, the route starts racing east across the top of the country. It's a race against cold weather and snowstorms which are coming soon.

Creativity Flood
I had a flood of creativity as I sat outside Loaf 'N Jug drinking my coffee. Creativity is one of the benefits of walking, and I took advantage of today's floods by making notes in my notebook.

28 Day Challenge - Scientific Management

Scientific Management in Action - Walking Log
The chart shows my running progress. More importantly, each day's entry will show Scientific Management in action. My inputs are miles, but they could be any type of work.  The output is not clear as I haven't stated it. One of the outputs is creative ideas for writing. These come when ready and it is difficult to measure creativity.

I added colored bars for the miles walked. Red bars mean I walked fewer miles than the plan. Green means I walked more. The colors are not a value judgment as it's hard to hit the exact mileage. Each day, I'll adjust the mileage to meet the planned cycle to date miles. I think I'll add a thermometer for the cycle. (Done.)

A fundamental part of Scientific Management is tracking activities. I use a method similar to this to track 20 minute blocks of actual writing. This means when I'm typing. I have an app on my computer that does this. I also track breaks, which are seven minutes long after 20 minutes of writing.

The tracking system I use for writing is on paper. When I'm writing steadily, I do four cycles of 20 minutes of writing followed by a seven minute break. Then I take a half hour break to eat and do another four cycles. The result is 2 hours and 40 minutes of steady writing.

Scientific Management starts with a minutely designed system. Each detail of the system is refined when better methods are found. The way to find improvements is to use the system. A distant think tank that does not see the system in action cannot do it. This is because many improvements are not intuitive.

Management's job is to create the system and management is responsible for the results. Labor's job is to follow the system exactly.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

9/24/14: 1814.7 to 1825.3 miles: Starting 28 day challenge

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Virtual Hike
The animated map program wandered off course today, so I posted the weather map to show the location.

Yesterday was the first day of my lunar cycle training program. I was going to start tomorrow, but I couldn't wait. The details are in the past few posts.

From now on, I'll include a chart at the end of each post to show my progress.

The training cycle limited my morning walk to 4.8 miles instead of my normal 5.1 miles. This meant I had to explore a new route. I found these solar panels behind the University. I don't recall being in this area before.

It was difficult to limit my miles this morning because I wanted to walk more. I'll get my chance in a couple weeks.

I'm participating in a 30 day blogging challenge. This morning, Fiona Sefton showed an example of a word cloud. You can see her post here. I hunted around the internet and found a program to make a word cloud. I listed some terms that have to do with walking and this is what happened.

I think making a word cloud is a good brainstorming activity. 

These are some of the results of walking. To make success happen, I track the activities that make  success happen. For walking, that's the number of miles walked. 

Wish me luck on my next 28 days.

Scientific Management for Peak Performance and Success!

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"Scientific Management is simply management that is based upon actual measurement. Its skillful  application is an art that must be acquired, but its fundamental principles have the exactness of fundamental laws which are open to study by everyone."  
Frank Gilbreth

Scientific Management was the secret of progress from the early 1900's until the early 1920's. The basis of scientific management is studying each step of a process to optimize the step. Together a series of efficient steps create an efficient process. The result is Success! 
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I used the principles of Scientific Management to Join the Top 1% of all eBook Authors. I published these secrets on Amazon for all to read. This book is mostly about time management and process optimization. The principles are applied to writing in the book, but they are valid for any activity. 

To demonstrate the principles of Scientific Management, I am going to apply them to walking.

For every path to success, there is a core activity that must happen. Tracking this activity puts the future successful person in control of their destiny. If this core activity occurs, everything else will fall into place.

For writers, the core activity is time spent doing writing activities. For walkers, it is miles walked. A plan makes things happen. Up until now, I've been walking miles each day based on how I felt and how much time I had. This attained one level of success. Now, I'm taking it to the next level.

In the past few posts, I developed the lunar training cycle. It's time to act. 

Logging activities is the key to successful scientific management. I created the following table to log activities.

28 Day Training Cycle

Every four weeks, I create my training cycle. To do this, I only have to enter the first date in the left column and miles for the starting day in the green cell in the top left. Everything else is done by Excel based on my parameters. The program specifies a goal for each day. These are in the white cells.

On the bottom, the planned miles are the number of miles planned until the end of each walking day. The actual miles are the actual miles walked. The planned daily average and the actual daily average are also there. The targets and actual miles walked for each week are on the right. The totals for the cycle are on the bottom right.

Presentation of the data is the key to quick analysis. I linked the following chart to the table.

The black bars show the mileage goal for each day. A light gray bar appears next to the black bars when I enter data. I'm on day one, so there is only one light gray bar. The raw data is below the chart. I can see my progress with a quick glance.

I will follow this plan for the next 28 days. At the end of 28 days, I'll evaluate its effectiveness and change the process if needed.

For the next 28 days, I'll put the chart at the end of my blog entries. 

Follow me to see Scientific Management in action. It may be your secret to success!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

9/23/14: 1807.6 miles to 1814.7 miles -- 28 day challenge.

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Virtual Hike

The road on this section of the virtual hike may difficult to walk on as there is a gravel shoulder. Fortunately, there isn't much traffic. It will be slower, but not unsafe. 

More signs of fall
I completed my 5.1 mile walk this morning in 76 minutes, which is a record time for me. This is the first time I maintained 4 miles an hour for a long distance.

My walking speed is naturally increasing as I walk more miles. I'm not making any special effort to make it increase.

28 Day Challenge
I modified the lunar training cycle so the maximum mile days are 50% higher than the minimum mile days. I also modified the program to generate a chart.The new program is here. If you want to use it, you can download it to your computer.

This is the chart for the last 28 days. I was not following a plan for these days. I had fewer miles the first half of the cycle because I was painting my house. I decided to start on Thursday, which one of the first days of the Jewish year. (There are about 5 New Years in Judaism.)

My goal is to make the gray bars for the next cycle as close as I can to the black bars.

Peaking for a long day
The best day in the cycle to take an extra long walk is the first day of the cycle. There will be two weeks of tapering before and two weeks of rebuilding after. On the first day of each cycle, I'll try to match the high miles for the cycle without stopping. This will start in four weeks after I complete the first cycle.

The long walk is an optional part of the training program. If a walker was planning for a marathon, they would adjust the cycle so they walked the marathon on the first day of the training cycle.

No wrong way!

There is no wrong way for a walker to train as long as they put in the miles. I didn't care what the sign tried to tell me this morning. I went that way anyway.

Sometimes I like a plan to give structure and other times I don't like structure.

I want to see what happens if I follow the lunar cycle for three cycles. Perhaps I'll become a lunatic.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

9/22/14: 1802.9 miles to 1807.6 miles: Lunar Training Plan - Pigeon head

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Virtual Hike
Animated Street View

This leg ends in Walla Walla, Washington.

Leaves and crab apples are starting to fall on the sidewalks. There were blossoms in the spring. The cycle of the year continues.

"I see you joined a fraternity."
"Birds of a feather flock together."
"You may need a wet wipe."

Each day I try to find a memorable picture. Some days are better than others. The statues are at the local University, and yes, that is a real pigeon on his head.

This picture is begging for a caption contest. Put your entries in the comments. Feel free to include the URL for your blog.

Lunar Training Plan

Circadian Rhythm
Our body has many rhythms. There is the daily rhythm of sleep and waking which people are familiar with. There is the weekly rhythm of work days and days off. 

Many people do not consider there are monthly and yearly rhythms that affect our training.

This post will address the 28 day rhythm of the body. If we tune ourselves to this rhythm we can maximize the training effect. 

The "New Moon" day is our day of minimum training. The "Full Moon" day is our day of maximum training.

One day out of seven is a rest day.

This cycle does not have to be aligned with the actual phases of the moon. We can tune our body to any 28 day cycle we like.

Plan Overview
The Lunar Training Cycle starts on day one with the minimum miles, peaks at the maximum miles on day 14 and returns to the minimum on day 28. Every seventh day is a day off.

Why it works
This plan takes advantage of the training effect of stress and recovery. 

The period above the average miles causes minor stress. 

The period below the average miles allows recovery.

How to get started
Buy a pedometer that automatically records distances on the computer. You can use a cheap pedometer and log the distance manually, but that's tiresome. I prefer a Fitbit Zip pedometer. You can by them in many sporting good stores.

All distances count whether on a planned walk or short steps during the day.

Training effect is based on steps, so don't worry about inaccuracies because of short steps.

If starting from scratch, gradually increase steps until getting 31.1 miles in a week. (This is where the training table in the next section begins.)

Training Table

I created a spreadsheet with a complete training plan for all people. You can access it here.

After you access the table, print the spreadsheet which is four pages long.

The highlighted row is the miles on the maximum effort training day.

If you prefer a chart, you can print the image at the end of this post. 

Look on the bottom of the spreadsheet for your seven day average miles. That column is the first cycle of your training plan.

Plan is initially a step backwards!
That's right. Initially the number of miles is reduced because every seventh day is a day off. 
The training table doesn't show this. 

On the rest day, do not take any walks. Try to minimize other steps.

These rest days help the cycle work, so do not skip them. 

Not an exact science
You may go slightly or over the recommended mileage on some days as you are calculating the distance with a pedometer. Try to get close. Exactness is not part of the program. Avoid taking extra walks when it is clear you will go over. Take an extra walk if it is clear you will be under.

The plan is too easy!
That's right. It is easy in order to prevent chronic injuries. Accelerate the plan at your own risk. If you do find a cycle too hard, repeat it or go back a cycle

When is the marathon?
Marathons are for runners. I have bigger plans. See you next post!

Does this work for runners?
The plan is slightly different for runners. I'll make a post for runners in a few days.