Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pedometers Wars: Race the Pace! 2459.3 to 2470 Miles: 11/27/14

Track teams may run a race every week. Winning shouldn't matter!

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Completed Segment 37
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Today's Weather

This leg along Route 12 in eastern Montana is flat and fast. There are no services. There is a creek close to the road, but it looks like there is always a fence blocking the way to it. It may be polluted since it is near railroad tracks.
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The reality hiker would be in southern Alabama just north of the Florida border. The temperatures are in the mid to high 40's. Skies are clear. The timing for the reality hike is still working perfectly. 

Lessons from Pedometer Wars


Starting on Nov 7th, I wrote five articles on Pedometer Wars:

  1. Pedometer Wars
  2. Pedometer War Strategy: Constant Daily Steps
  3. Pedometer War Strategy: Focus on Very Active Steps
  4. Pedometer War: Need a Day Off
  5. Pedometer War: Find a Dream War for a Personal Best
At the beginning of the month, I committed to winning the Colorado Springs FitBit competition. I am far in the lead in this competition, Although there are three days left, it's out of reach for second and third place. Besides, I'm not done walking.

So far, I walked 709,343 steps (about 331 miles)  averaging 26,625 steps a day (12.7 miles) a day. This is an increase of about 50% from last month.

University Cats

What happened?

During the first two weeks I was in a "Trailing Seven Days" competition with Justin. I was beating him for a few days until I friended him. Once we were competing, he started beating me no matter how much I pushed. The result was he took me out of my comfort zone and I realized I could increase my goals. Now we are exchanging places again, although he is mostly leading.

During the last two weeks, I followed my cyclical training plan and tried not to worry about the competition. Eventually, second and third place in the Colorado Springs FitBit competition started falling behind. 

The back exit


Being pushed out of comfort zone was good and bad for me. I was pushing the fatigue barrier more than I liked in the first two weeks. That's when I decided to revert to my training plan.

The most valuable lesson was focusing on the very active minutes or meaningful miles. You can read about it here: Monitor Meaningful Minutes, Not Miles.

The cyclical training program has reached its limit of usefulness.

On the long day I got my 40,000 step day (19 miles) for the first time. I went for it because I saw it was in reach.

The two 15 mile days with a rest day in between were difficult from because I had difficulty finding the time. Going forward, I'll need to have my long days on Saturday and Sunday.

The other problem with this plan is there were too many long days clustered together. I decided  to realign the training to match my schedule while increasing the miles in the cycle.

Cat Eyes. There were about 5 cats
in the culvert

Race the Pace

In one of his books Joe Henderson, former editor of Runner's World magazine, columnist, coach and all around coaching genius mentioned treating weekly races like a speedwork day. His focus now is everyday people and not elite runners. 

I decided if I were going to walk a half-marathon in an organized race, I'd want to have walked one many times before. In my case, it will be three times a week. I wouldn't treat the half-marathon as a race. It would be a normal part of training.

The pedestrian wars are 30 days long. If someone is going to beat me, they are going to beat my normal training cycle. If I'm to win, I'll do it with my normal training cycle. Except for the last two or three days of the month, it's easy to make a tactical error seeking a short term lead in exchange to fatigue that leads to a loss. If I do push on the last two or three days of the month, it ruins the next month. Therefore, I'm going to "Race the Pace" meaning I'll follow my planned training schedule.

Sawtooth Training Cycle

Training is a cycle of stress, rest and recovery. Recovery is only needed if the stress is too high. Therefore, I plan to keep the miles low enough not to cause any fatigue or injuries. The long days should seem easy after the six days of lower miles. If not, I'll change the plan.

This cycle schedules the long days on the weekend, so it will start on Nov 29th. 

This cycle will help the trailing seven day competition as after the first seven days, I'll always have about the same number of steps for the past seven days. 

Goals for December

  1. Participate in the "Colorado! 300+ Days of Sunshine!" challenge. Notice I said participate and not win. Winning is for a future month although it could happen in December. 
  2. Focus on my daily goal for "Walking Pace Minutes."
In the chart above, I showed the goals in terms of miles because people can relate to that. I will achieve these mileage goals by focusing on "Walking Pace Minutes." I'll try to minimize extra miles from random steps where possible.

Here is the same chart showing the daily goals for "Walking Pace Minutes."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Walking Plan for Beginners: 2441 to 2459.3 Miles: 11/26/14

Learn a beginning walking program that starts slowly, reduces the chances for injury, and gives steady progress to fitness.

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Today's Weather

This leg enters the eastern third of Montana. It passes through Roundup, Montana.

The Big Sky Motel is in Roundup and only a block and a half north of the motel is an IGA Supermarket! 

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It's worth taking some time to plan the next 140 miles. On the surface, it looks impossible. When I zoomed into the map, I found Melstone only 35 miles from Roundup and Forsyth is 68 miles from Melstone. Both towns have motels and food. Miles City is 45 miles from from Forsyth. Miles City is a popular stop for long distance motorcycle riders.

Walking Plan for Beginners


I made some mistakes when I started my walking plan. Although I walked the miles for the virtual hike, I slowed my progress by starting too quickly. Now, you can learn from my mistakes.

Beginners often ask how they should get started. First, they should set a long term goal. Second, they should make a plan to slowly achieve their goal. Finally, they should follow the plan with an intermediate goal a year in the future. In my opinion, anyone who hasn't done a formalized training program is still a beginner compared to what they could be. Yes, I know that's controversial and it's meant to be. This includes me, so don't feel bad.

Cardiovascular Fitness Goal

Aerobics Program
People who walk for fitness instead of the love for walking seldom continue. Yet is is worth looking at once. Then forget it as fitness will happen.

Dr. Cooper, the founder of the Aerobics program, discovered a person needs to earn 30 aerobics points a week for basic fitness and 60 a week for excellent fitness. A walker earns one point a mile at speeds between three and four mph. There is little benefit to working on speed as few can maintain four mph for any distance. 

You can find point values for various exercises here.

Time for fitness goals
Dr. Cooper only measured exercise time and placed no value on slow steps during the day. Although these are useful for other reasons, they are not useful for cardiovascular fitness.

In order to achieve a basic level of cardiovascular fitness, the walker will have to work up to walking 86 minutes a day for six days a week. Forget about the speed and focus on 86 minutes a day or 8.6 hours a week. If it is impossible to work this many hours into your schedule, you should consider a different exercise for fitness. The fastest way to earn aerobics points is jumping rope. Running is the second fastest.

In order to achieve an excellent level of fitness, the walker will have to walk 172 minutes a day six days a week. This is not reasonable for most people to conceive at the start, so let's focus on the first goal of 86 minutes a day. But first, let's learn from my mistakes so you don't have to repeat them.

My Mistakes
I thought I was in good walking shape last February because I backpacked and hiked frequently and I road walked frequently. I had many years of experience with bicycling, running and walking at various times of my life. I knew I could avoid injury if I avoided pain, and I did accomplish that. My progress sucked.

For bicycling, running and walking, I've found the factor that most indicated impending fatigue or injury was the number of miles during the trailing seven days. It doesn't seem to matter how the miles are distributed during the seven days -- within reason.

This is a graph of my trailing seven day miles for the first 40 weeks. It includes miles below walking pace, so the walking pace miles are about 21 miles less a week.

The first dip at 50 days was an indication of an impending knee problem. The second dip around 100 days was what I'll call non-specific foot tiredness. 

The third dip at 200 days was when I painted my house. The dip around 260 days was tiredness brought on by a combination of painting the house and walking. 

The dotted trend line is important. It is horizontal -- meaning I made zero progress over 40 weeks from my fitness level at the beginning. It was not without purpose as I seem to have developed an immunity to injuries for now.

In 40 weeks I progressed from being able to do 5 miles a day six days a week to being able to do five miles a day six days a week. The big jump at the end was when I started time based training.

What I could have done
It would have been better to follow the green trend line with slow progress.

I could have started with 1 mile a week - not one mile a day, but one mile a week and increased the distance by a mile a week for each of the 40 weeks. At the end of this time, I would have been doing 6.7 miles a day six days a week instead of 5 miles a day.

Let's put this in terms of time using 84 minutes a day as a your goal in 42 weeks.

The first week walk only 2 minutes a day. Each week add 2 minutes a day.

Week 1: 2 minutes a day six days a week
Week 2: 4 minutes a day six days a week
Week 3: 6 minutes a day six days a week

Week 42: 84 minutes a day six days a week.

If there is a difficult week, either do not increase the minutes for the next week or reduce the minutes for the next week.

Progress is so slow!
Most people will object to this slow progress, especially if they are fit. The walker needs to take an objective look at their starting point. It is better to start at a lower level than their fitness level would indicate. 

Develop a "working mindset"
When a person has a "working mindset" they know they are progressing steadily towards a distant goal. They purposely progress slowly because they know it will ultimately lead to greater success. 

The opposite of a working mindset is a success mindset where a walker focuses on short term goals. They may have a marathon as a goal and try to train in mere months. This will likely lead to injury or at least misery.

In the long run, meaning at the end of about two years, the person with the working mindset will progress far more than the person with a success mindset. My training program for the second year is different and stimulates rapid progress when the walker is ready.

A word about 10,000 step programs
Most people find it difficult to get 10,000 steps in a day and become discouraged. The AVERAGE person with a Fitbit pedometer gets about 6,000 steps a day. They are failing both in terms of cardiovascular health and preventing sedentary physiology problems.

A walker can get the below walking pace steps by getting out of their chair about every 20 minutes and walking around the house once or doing some chores for about seven minutes. There is no need to spend the entire day thinking about chasing extra steps. If a person is has a job where they are forced to stay at a position, such as a call center, standing up for a few minutes about every 20 minutes should resolve sedentary physiology problems even if they don't walk during those minutes.


Stating the obvious, beginners are beginners. What's not so obvious is most people are beginners. A plan that progresses painfully slowly will lead to greater long term success.

PS: If you want to learn more about my first year, click on "Road Walking: Conversations with my Coach" at the top of the page. It is still a good training program, but it is a stepping stone to my current opinions.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Monitor Meaningful Minutes, not Miles: 2388.3 to 2441 Miles: 11/25/16

In order reach higher step counts, the walker must focus on the time spent walking at their normal pace. Eliminate the slow steps and increase the normal pace steps.

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The distance is long because I missed a couple days of posting.

This stretch northwest of Billings, Montana is FLAT. The shoulders are good for the first half, but narrow along the second half. The visibility is excellent and there seems to be little traffic. 

There appears to be few places to stealth camp.
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Monitor Meaningful Minutes, not Miles


Yesterday, I was on my feet for 484 minutes to walk 192 minutes at my walking pace. Although the extra minutes weren't totally wasted, they did reduce my miles for the day. Of the 15.7 miles I walked yesterday, only about 11.2 were at my walking pace.

A walker will reach their daily step goals easier if they focus on increasing the steps at walking pace and eliminating theslow steps.

Step counts per minute

Many 10,000 step programs encourage walkers to seek extra steps whenever possible. This works in the early stages, but it doesn't work well as the daily mileage increases.

When I'm at my walking pace I use a click track on mp3's to keep my stride rate at 115 steps per minute. This is 3.5 mph for me. I could go faster, but I find 115 steps per minute gives me the least fatigue per mile.

When I'm pacing around the house, I average about 80 steps a minute. When I'm doing work around the house, I may only average 20 steps a minute. If the walker chases extra steps, it may take an hour to get the steps they could get in a half-hour less of walking at walking pace.

Fatigue rate

This isn't scientific, but I find fatigue is based on the time on the feet rather than the walking speed -- up to a normal walking speed. This means to get to higher mileage, I need to reduce the time walking slowly and increase the time walking quickly.

Set a walking pace time goal

I have a walking pace time goal for each day I walk. At the beginning of the day, I set the goal in the countdown timer for my Timex Ironman watch. I start the timer while at my walking pace and stop it when I'm not at walking pace. For instance, today I'm planning three hours and sixteen minutes at my walking pace. I have one hour and thirty minutes left. 

Prior to starting the day, I made a plan how I am going to achieve my walking pace time.

The Fitbit pedometer will also track the time walking at around walking pace. You have to be near a computer to see the time.

Old way - goals by miles

I used set my goals by the number of miles I wanted to walk. I'd include walking pace miles and slow miles. 

While using the old way, I'd often strive for extra slow steps during the day. 

Now I set my goals using the walking pace time goals while trying to minimize my slow steps.

Less Fatigue

Focusing on walking pace time goals helps me achieve my desired miles earlier in the day and with less fatigue. Because of this, I've been able to increase my walking pace time and also the number of miles I walk a day.


The daily walking pace time is the key to achieving higher miles per day. This is because there is less fatigue per mile when walking at the walking pace than when walking slowly. Consider focusing on your walking pace time if you want to increase the miles per day.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Scientific Walking Training - Constant Stride Rate: 2378 to 2388.3 Miles - 11/21/14

A virtual hiker will progress faster with a scientifically developed plan. There is no research for walkers that shows which plan works best. Learn what I discovered after thousands of miles.

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Today's Weather
The leg starts just west of Harlowton, Mt. There is a cafe along the route followed by a motel a little later. It would be a good time to take motel break. 

The road is flat with a wide shoulder. The reality hiker should make good time here.

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Scientific Walking Training - Constant Stride Rate


I feel I'm ready to give definitive answers on effective walking training. I've tried many methods and have finally arrived at a training plan that will work. This is only one aspect of the plan and I'll explain more in later posts. A virtual hiker can use science to improve their progress with no added effort. I've discovered maintaining a constant stride rate may be best way to do this.

What is the scientific method?

As related to walking, the scientific method consists of holding one aspect of walking constant while varying other aspects of walking. The variables in walking are speed, walking time, distance, stride rate, stride length, etc. To design a training program, I decided to keep one variable constant and measure the effect on other variables. 

Most efficient walking tempo

By regulation, the US Army marches at 120 steps per minute with a regulation defined stride length of 30 inches. This is 3.4 mph. Throughout history, armies have marched at stride rates from 115 to 120 steps per minute. This is the tempo for most marching music. The book I read that was most convincing was "The Art of Marching." which recommended a stride rate of 116 steps per minute. The tempo slows a bit going uphill and increases a bit going downhill.

Anecdotal evidence for a constant tempo

Armies of the past marched in step and ran in step. When I was in the Air Force, I was told this was for team building. There may be some truth in that, but after testing, I've learned the reason is different. I feel a tempo somewhere around 115 to 120 steps per minute is the most efficient for everyone. By most efficient, I mean the fewest units of fatigue per mile. 

When a walker gets tired, they often slow down and eventually they will drop out of formation. When a walker slows too much they are inducing more fatigue per mile than they would if they rested and then went back to the optimum pace. Sometimes walkers disguise their fatigue, even to themselves, by gradually slowing their stride rate when they get tired. When a walker can't maintain their stride rate on reasonable inclines, they should consider stopping so they don't walk into injuries or excessive fatigue.

Remember the goal for reality hikers

The reality hiker needs to walk miles in the most efficient way so they can walk the most miles per day without injury or fatigue that lasts until the next day. I believe a constant stride rate will accomplish this.


I've committed to maintaining a stride rate of 115 steps for minute for many miles. This will  allow me to experiment with other variables to discover their effect. I'll maintain the stride rate by listening to books with a click track which I can superimpose on the mp3 using Audacity,

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Avoid the Target Heart Rate Trap for Walking Training: 2337.8 to 2378 miles: 11/20/14

Runners train to improve aerobic capacity using target heart rate. Is this equally effective for walkers or is it a trap?

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Completed Segment 36

I missed a couple days of posting so the distance appears long.

The route continues along Rt. 12 in central Montana. The shoulder is narrow with good visibility for about 10 miles and then gets wide again. There are no services along the road. 
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Avoid the Target Heart Rate Trap for Walking Training


Many runners use a target heart rate for training in order to improve aerobic capacity. This works well for running, but it cannot work well for walking. What can a virtual hiker use instead? 

The Mexican drug cartel murdered
43 students in September

What is target heart rate training?

Some runners measure their heart rate while training and attempt to hit specific goals based on their heart rate. The target heart rates are a percentage of maximum heart rate. I prefer to describe the levels using physical symptoms.

  1. Easy - Runners don't like to walk. The symptom for easy jogging would be as slow as a person can jog without walking. This is a recovery pace in between faster intervals. Personally, I always found it best to walk or sit down for recovery when I was a runner.
  2. In between. This would be a conversational "run." It is a little faster than jogging, but the runner should be able to carry on a conversation. The theory is to avoid this level as there is little aerobic training while the legs get more miles which can lead to injury.
  3. Anaerobic Threshold - This is a comfortable run, but fast enough so the runner cannot carry on a conversation. Breathing is controlled, but heavier. This is the speed where a "runner's high" often occurs after about 20 minutes or three miles.
  4. Pushing the pace - Breathing is still controlled but the runner can't run many miles at this pace.
  5. Puking fast - If the runner keeps this pace too long, they may puke when they stop. They will at least be uncomfortable. 
There were 43 bodies around the
university campus

It cannot work for walkers

For a healthy walker, it is impossible to increase the heart rate significantly by reasonable adjustments to incline or speed. If the person can increase their heart rate to the higher levels it's probably not safe because of other issues. For a healthy walker, the aerobic capacity will always exceed the leg capacity for walking. 

Yesterday I tested the target heart rate theory on a treadmill. My resting pulse is 56. I started by walking 75 minutes at 3.5 mph. My pulse the entire time was 80 beats per minute. Then I did mild random hill climbs at 3.5 mph for 25 minutes. My pulse remained at 80 beats per minute. 

Finally, I tried targeted heart rate training for 25 minutes. I set the target heart rate at 90 to see what would happen. It took a seven degree hill climb to get my pulse to 90. A six degree incline is the targeted maximum for trails in Colorado that don't go up mountains. This is about 600 feet per mile. Most people will decrease their stride rate to climb a hill like this. Those that don't incur knee injuries and Achilles tendon injuries after many miles. 

A "city deer" behind Loaf 'n Jug

A better way for walkers

Some walkers walk without thinking about it. Others want to feel like they are doing something to improve their walking. Both methods work equally well.

The easiest method is to walk naturally without breathing hard. Any speed other than this speed creates mechanical problems which lead to injury. The body will increase the stride rate and length when it's ready. It may take 100's or even 1000's of miles. 

Some walkers like to feel like they are doing something to improve. For this, they will need a Fitbit pedometer or other pedometer which measures their stride rate over a route with varied inclines. The goal is to find the minimum stride rate maintained for a minute. Toss out any steep hills on the route. Use a metronome to maintain the minimum stride rate. This gives alternating periods of stress and recovery on the uphill and downhill stretches.

For variety, the walker can change their stride rate each minute for 10 minutes. For example:

115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 119, 118, 117, 116.

In order to do this the walker would need to make a recording they can play on an MP3 player. I superimpose one over audio books. I have no evidence this variation is effective, but it's artistically satisfying.

When I use a click track, I set it at 115 and forget about it. Other times, I just walk and my stride rate is 120 to 135. Both methods are equally effective.


Forget about target heart rate for walking. If you want to use this type of training, add some running to your workout. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why you Need a Virtual Hiking Coach! 2306.8 to 2337.8 Miles; 11/17/14

A virtual hiking coach can help you reach your goals sooner while reducing the chances of pain, injuries and excessive fatigue. To find out how, click through on the link.

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The route continues along route 12 in central Montana and then leaves route 12 taking a shortcut to save 8 miles. Now I consider this a planning mistake because of the distance between water stops. (See Segment Map.)

If the walker doesn't mind 100 miles between water stops, then they can walk the route as planned.
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However, if they would prefer about 50 miles between water, they can take the northern route on 12 and there is water in White Sulfur Springs at the top of the straight northern section of 12.

Why you need a Virtual Hiking Coach!

Making Alien Snow Circles


Many people feel they do not need a coach for virtual hiking and I felt the same way. Lately, I discovered a coach who is helping me stay motivated,  avoid common injuries, increase my virtual hiking distance. 

What should a walker expect from a coach? How can a walker find a coach? How much money (that nasty word) does a coach cost? 

What to expect?

Many walkers will want a virtual hiking training plan. Meanwhile, coaching virtual hikers is like coaching a cat. They may purr when getting the plan, but they will do what they want. The perfect cat trap is a box and the coach should help the walker define their own box.

The coach and the walker frequently exchange ideas about how to construct a training plan. The walker should design their own "walking box" by combining the coach's and their own ideas.

Who should be your coach?

First of all, the coach should have thousands of miles of virtual hiking experience. Secondly, they should be a writer. Only someone who has kept mileage log and who has written about their experience frequently can remember what it was like to start. The coach should have a demonstrated ability to walk many miles without injury or fatigue.

A walker's coach should have knowledge of many training methods -- the type of knowledge that comes from DOING. The coach should have selected the best training methods for virtual hiking. The coach should also update their training method as they learn new information.

The coach should encourage the walker, but at the same time be indifferent if the walker doesn't choose to follow their training advice. After all, walkers listen like cats!

Who should you select?

Why me of course! Let's review my qualifications.

I have over 3,200 miles of virtual hiking experience. (I started another virtual hike before this one.) I walk without injury or fatigue. I wrote about virtual hiking on this blog since the start. I provide more information almost daily. 

When I coach, I give the walker concepts. These concepts help the walker design their own program.

Oh, I have a world famous runner with about 50 years of running experience as my coach.

What's the cost?

That's the best part! I only cost $2.99. That's it! and you will have me forever. 

My book, "Roadwalking: Conversations with my Coach" should guide you through about 2,000 miles of walking. It works the same for beginners to walking marathons. Click the link and hire me as your coach today!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Amazing Recovery! 2306.8 to 2317.1 Miles: 11/14/14

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The road is flat and straight here with good views. The shoulder is a little narrow, but safe enough if the walker pays attention. In my opinion, the biggest danger is getting hit from behind by a passing car.

The first line of defense is to wear something bright yellow or lime green. I think having a mirror on the push cart would help.

Reality Hike Weather and Gear

A reality hiker would be about 70 miles ENE of Atlanta. The temperature today was 28 degrees at about 8 am local. It's not too cold for camping with the right gear. It's perfect weather for walking. Towns are close enough together that it would be hard to get in serious trouble.

Everyone chooses different gear, so this is brainstorming. The hike starts in Pueblo, Colorado with the potential for severe cold for about the first 300 miles. Water isn't an issue here, so weight isn't an issue. I think I'd start with an old military down bag which I'd plan to donate to a homeless shelter later. These are bulky, but only cost about $35 to $50 on eBay.

Then I'd get an Alpine 20 bag at WalMart or a similar store. These are comfortable to about 30 degrees without a pad. I like the Alpine 20 because washing it doesn't seem to affect the temperature rating. I've tried other inexpensive bags and they get cold at about 40 to 50 degrees.

In about New England, I'd get a good zero degree bag as the weather starts to cool. I'd use this bag for the remainder of the reality hike. 

Clothes are not a major concern. I've found piling on layers of clothes works for cold weather. This morning, I wore 5 layers when it was seven degrees. None of the clothes need to be designed for backpacking, so a person could get what's cheap at a box store and discard it when it isn't needed.

In my opinion, getting gear from home could be a hassle. It could result in extra rest days and these might be more expensive than just buying the gear along the way.

Amazing Recovery

Yesterday I was forced to take a rest day due to fatigue. I only walked 6.7 miles yesterday. I spent the rest of the day staying off my feet and I took a nap. This morning, I was almost completely recovered. I cut the morning walk short from 5.1 to 4.7 miles. I only cut it short because the road I usually walk on was snow-covered and I didn't want the added risk.

In order to avoid the fatigue mistake, I'll follow the 28 day cyclical training plan. I know if I increase the miles too quickly the fatigue will be quick to return.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Felled by Fatigue: 2296 to 2306.8 Miles: 11/13/14

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The route continues along Route 12 in central Montana. This section passes through a hilly area and the shoulder is narrow. It looks hazardous and the walker will need to pay attention. The hazardous stretch is six or seven miles long.

There is a stream alongside the road. I don't know about the water quality.

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Felled by Fatigue


Pr 25:16  Do you like honey? Eat just enough -- too much of it and you will vomit.

This warning by King Solomon applies to any activity. I didn't vomit, but I did have a forced rest day because of excessive fatigue.

I've made some training adjustments to prevent this in the future.

Birds Chatting 

What Happened?

I intentionally explored my limits to see what would happen. I knew I'd eventually be forced to take a day off due to fatigue and yesterday was the day. I walked over 10 miles a day for 11 days and in the last three days, I walked over 15 miles a day. When I woke up this morning, my body told me it had enough. I knew it was time for a break because my loosening up pacing didn't erase the usual slight morning tiredness. 

The cause was striving for an ever bigger lead in the pedometer wars. 

Boiled Potatoes and Vegan Chile for Lunch

Experience makes us Smarter

Wisdom is recognizing our mistakes when we make them again. In order to gain wisdom, a person needs to make mistakes, and in this case I intentionally made one so I could refine my training plan to avoid it in the future. This is something I didn't want to find out on the road on a reality hike. 

My Response

I'm going back to my 28 day training plan as I never experienced fatigue or injury with it. I'm increasing the distance during the 28 days, but the small increase shouldn't be a problem.


Intentionally walking into a forced rest day due to fatigue was a valuable experience. Now that I know the boundary, I can take a rest day farther away from the boundary. I do not recommend pushing into injuries as that can be more serious. 

The key is to create a walking plan that is just enough to improve, but not so much to result in fatigue or injury that forces a day off. I know injury can be cumulative and it can become chronic. I'm guessing fatigue is similar, but not as serious. When a person delves too deeply into fatigue, they may contract an illness and need a week or even a month off.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

First Snow! 11/12/14: 2277.1 to 2296.0 Miles. (Completed Segment 35)

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The route is now in central Montana. I wouldn't want to be there this time of year as it is just below zero Fahrenheit. 

If a walker was on schedule they would be in North Carolina just north of the Georgia border. The temperatures there are in the low 50's.

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Yesterday Late Morning

I found a long dirt road paralleling an old irrigation canal. I decided to follow it for about two miles to see where it went.

The trees are following the route of the irrigation canal. The road went as far as I could see.

I'm starting to see flocks of geese which are usually here this time of year. Whenever I hear them honking I get the camera ready. For some reason that seems to attract them closer. Maybe that's wishful thinking, but it seems to work.


The First Snow!

I woke up early this morning and saw that it was snowing. It was also seven degrees F outside. "

So, I decided to bundle up and go for a nine mile walk. It didn't start out to be nine miles, but it kind of ended up that way as I kept walking.


There is only one chance to make a first impression and only one person gets to make footprints in new snow. 

Sometimes I feel my footprints in the snow are like graffiti. Maybe I shouldn't make any.

Oh well, in a few hours, the University students will be adding more footprints.

It was still dark when I approached the Loaf 'N Jug to get a cup of coffee. I sat outside and drank it while still feeling warm from the walk. I finished before I started to cool down.

I find it's important not to walk so fast that I perspire when I'm bundled up if I plan on spending time outside when I stop. 

Walking Progress

Since starting the Pedometer Wars, I've markedly increased my daily steps. Now I'm finding 30,000 steps a day (about 14.5 miles) relatively easy. As I attain the 30,000 step goal each day, I'm finding more efficient ways to reach it. The new ways seem to use less energy than when my goal was 20,000 steps a day. I'll see how it goes with rest days. I haven't taken one in 12 days.