10,000….it’s a big number. But then again….it’s not. In today’s world of digital data…it’s not. 10,000 miles…that’s a lot. But what about steps? My company is holding a challenge where individuals signed up to take at least 10,000 steps daily for seven weeks. We are on teams of 10 or less and competing based on the team average. Before the challenge began participants received a Fitbit Zip. It’s ours to keep. Other exercises don’t count – only our steps are counted towards daily challenge.
So, I wore it a few days before the company challenge began, and quickly realized what I already knew: outside of training, I don’t move walk much. Maybe 3,000 steps a day or so, outside of training.
Don’t get me wrong, I love walking. When I walk more I feel better. But in trying out balance, training, work (sitting at a computer), and the fact that I work from home where we live in a small condo and the walk from my desk to the bathroom is maybe 15 steps, and to walk the length of our home is 30 steps, it doesn’t lend to getting much in terms of taking steps. I usually try to make an effort and walk to get the mail and take recycling out. But I know…I don’t walk much. There is just a lot going on. But I also know, I want to walk more.
First of all, I thought about how much I do (or do not) move. I did some math. Based on my training schedule (outside of my current Ironman recovery phase which so far has included short, relaxed bikes and no running or strength training), on the weekdays when I run, I run say an average of 70 minutes. Let’s say I have an ideal cadence at 90 steps per minute. That leads to 6,300 steps. OK. And on the bike I figured out (through the company grapevine where there are many avid cyclists) that putting the fitbit on my ankle/shoe works to count cadence as “steps”. Let’s again assume I have an ideal cadence of 90 strokes per minute. And I ride an average of 90 minutes. That’s 8,100 “steps” right there.
Swimming is tough – no way to really count steps. I joked with some colleagues that I would give my fitbit to Maria to wear while I am swimming and she is on deck coaching. She is all over the place! A colleague (and my team captain) suggested “equivalent steps”. My mind balked….huh? But I thought about it. The challenge isn’t counting anything outside of walking. But, it’s not like I am sitting on the couch eating bon bons and saying I did 5,000 steps. I thought about it and really, to put in an equivalent number of steps is in the spirit of the challenge….to get people moving.
And once I hit the gym again, I know I get more steps just in warming up and then walking from machine to machine.
So I started to feel better about helping out with the challenge, but I also knew I wanted to use this as an opportunity, and in the spirit of the challenge I did want to use it as an opportunity to help myself. Like I said, I love walking, and it seems the more I walk (to an extent) the stronger I feel when training, and the better I feel about myself. And often, as I mentioned above, walking gets lost to things I have to do to get a balance. So I decided I want to get at least 5,000 non-training steps a day in. That doesn’t seem bad and so far, pretty simple to do. I have a little loop outside of my condo that I can go and walk, and is about 250 steps. It takes about 2-3 minutes.
So, if I need a quick break, since I don’t have far to walk inside, I step outside for a “quick loop”. In speaking with colleagues, one mentioned it is about 200 steps for her to go from her office to the bathroom. So I figure this is my equivalent if I worked in an actual office building. And, it is actually helping me sit at my desk (I say often that the hardest thing I do all day is sit at my desk). I figure 3-5 times of doing that is pretty good. I am also trying to walk the little loop before I head off to swim, or most anything else, if I have time. The challenge will be to do this when the weather gets bad!. And also I am pretty sure my neighbors already think I am a little crazy. But that’s OK by me.
I also decided to myself that I won’t try and get in steps to the sacrifice of my body. Yes, walking is easy, fun, and relaxing. But it does take some time, and sometimes time from other things I may need to do more. So things like sleeping, stretching, rolling, recovery (especially now post Ironman) and strength training (when I pick it back up) are still a priority.
And in looking at the challenge stats, I am no where near the top of the pile. But I am doing what I can, and working on improving myself where I need to work and focus, which is what the challenge is supposed to do. And I won’t lose focus that just walking (or just training) aren’t the only keys to a healthy lifestyle. And I am using my downtime, and this challenge, to shore up things now, and work them in so I am ready when I pick back up in terms of training load.