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.

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Animated Street View

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.
Buy On Amazon

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.


  1. I am working on increasing my walking too, have to do a lot of it inside lately as the weather has been so nasty here. Averaging about 5,000 steps and working up to 10,000. Have to deal with a pinched nerve and bad knee!

  2. Sue,
    I recommend stopping after even minor pain in the pinched nerve and knee. If you push into pain, it will only get worse. It may take months, but the pain may eventually disappear unless something is seriously busted.

    I was planning a post for "Starting from Scratch." I'll try to make it tomorrow or Thursday. It will be easier than one might think.

  3. Sounds good Gary and I am being very careful re the pain, have actually slowed down a lot. Used to do way more until I managed to hurt myself.

  4. And I thought my walk to the top of our village was enough. I used to have a pedometer and loved tracking my steps. As I was aiming to lose some weight I would aim to walk between 15,000 and 20,000 steps a day, always looking to add more steps in but it broke and I got out of the habit of it. I was only thinking yesterday I needed to get a new one. Your post has certainly inspired me. Thank you.

  5. Finding your Optimum Walking Pace is critical to long distance endurNce hiking. Mine is also 3.5mph which I can sustain for 26miles. I can walk do 4mph but cannot sustain it. It is not about getti g fitter, just thats the bezt strike rate I can do with my legength, joint angles, flexibility and metabolism.

    1. Jenny,
      I wish I had the reference, but I misplaced it. It was a scholarly article and the experiments measured energy by VO consumption.

      3.5 mph gives the lowest energy consumption for a wide range of heights. It doesn't matter what the fitness level is.

      This assumes reasonably level ground like one would find on the roads. It's different on steep hills or trails where the pace is slower.

      I think there is something to mechanical issues at higher speeds. My comfortable speed is 3.75 to 3.85 mph and my stride rate is between about 122 and 135. However, I feel more fatigue at the end of a long walk.