Tuesday, 5 April 2011

When miles matter, and when they don't: accidental training and those final few miles

A few weeks ago I ended up on a train to rural Kent for a work meeting. The nearest station was about 4 miles away from the venue, so I had some cash ready for a cab.

When I hopped off the train, there were no taxis at the station. I called one cab company, and they said they couldn't be with me for at least an hour. I now had a choice: sit on my own at the station for an hour, or start walking.

So I started walking. In my flat boots (comfy, but not padded enough to be choice walking shoes) and winter coat (it was in that first week of Spring weather so the coat was mainly carried) it was a rather lazy walk. But it was really lovely and the 4 miles sped by.

So did the meeting, and before long I was in need of another taxi back up to the station. This time I was told there would an hour and a half wait. Well, I think you know what I did.

By the end of the day, I'd racked up 8 miles without really thinking or caring about it. Accidental training - 4 miles, then 8 miles, was met with a shrug of my shoulders. Nothing to worry about.

Now I'm finding myself obsessing about those extra few miles. Those blue dots I posted about at the end of last month were dividing the map up into handy one hour mileage targets. The targets were based on the average speed I would need to travel to complete the walk in time, but knowing about a possible discrepancy in the published distance of the Capital Ring, I worked it out from the maximum distance I could find. That was 82 miles.

Only now it appears that I'll actually be walking less than this, probably even less than the 78 miles, I'm still working this out. It may only be a few miles less, but a few miles will make a huge difference to the average speed I need to go at and could make the difference between comfort and discomfort.

So now I'm working to confirm my route and confirm my mileage. Part of me wants to find out that it's a full 78 miles. The other part would be happy for a reprieve of 4 miles or so. That may be the Ibuprofen talking.

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