Spring

Well it didn’t seem as dark and wet and drawn out as I originally thought it would, but winter is over. The new month of March has heralded the start of spring. In honesty, despite a couple of weeks of snow, which felt like winter giving us one more kick in the shins before it died, it’s been feeling like spring is here since early February. The telltale signs like the daffodil shoots coming through, the expectant swathes of snowdrops, and, my favourite, the increased bird song and activity.


I still continue to work from home, which as I’ve written before, is preferable for me, as it is for others. Admittedly it’s been a strange winter, full of ups and downs, but I did start the year full of energy with a new set of resolutions. The main one was to walk 1000 miles in the year. I know a few people having a go at this one and I, for one, am thoroughly enjoying it. I cover enough miles anyway with running, but walking is an obvious different pace, enabling me to notice more and spend more time outdoors. Nine weeks in, and I’m going strong. It’s great to take advantage of not spending three hours a day commuting. I can finish work at the kitchen table, put on my shoes and coat and step out for an hour or too. I spend all day alone, but it’s a different alone. The alone that’s coupled with the heart rate-raising ping of a new email, an out-of-the-blue video call on top of the tribulations of a day job. The alone I get on my walk is a relaxed alone. I can process what’s happened during the day, prepare for what might happen tomorrow, listen to music or a podcast or just walk in silence allowing my thoughts to run riot before naturally settling.


Originally, last autumn when I decided I was going to attempt the walking challenge this year, I began walking in the morning before work. This was mainly because I felt quite stressed and thought it was a great way to calm everything down before switching on my computer. It didn’t really work out that way. Instead, I’d arrive home, and within five minutes all the walk would be undone. I would then finish the day by going for a run, meaning, more often than not, I would be energised later in the evening. So I switched it around in January. The change has been overwhelming. Much more fired up ready to tackle all the crap of the day, and able to wind down in the evening. I’ve always preferred morning runs anyway, so it should have been obvious, but routines and habits have all changed in the last twelve months.


I hope you all have things or people in your lives at the moment, keeping you going, inspiring you and driving you along. If you haven’t got one or the other, or neither, try and do something about it. It’s never too late to write a list of whom or where you want to be and think about how to get there. It’s amazing how motivating it can be. Feel free to get in touch and we can do it together.

Stay safe, stay motivated, stay honest to yourself.

Walks of the mind

Walking, to me, and being in the outdoors have always been beneficial. So important in fact, that they are an essential part of my personality, my well-being and seemingly, my subconscious.

Back in 1996 when I took my first steps as a ‘jogger’, I didn’t know that it was the first rung on a ladder that has been going for 25 years and shows no sign of letting up. My outdoor pursuits have grown in those years to more than running. I’m now a walker, trail runner, naturalist (not a naturist, that is something I haven’t dabbled with – yet), cyclist, wild camper, environmentalist – the list goes on. I imagine that anyone reading this will probably be very similar, after all, you probably found this along your own journey and decided to read it. The name of the blog does not suggest that I am reviewing mobile phones, or last night’s TV. You will also possibly, I imagine, be struggling with what to do with yourself now that (in the UK) we are in lockdown 3.0.

There have been times in my life when my back has been against the wall. When I’ve been in strange places and situations, and in my own analogy, feeling like a shaken up lemonade bottle (I always liken stress and bad stuff to fizzy drink in a bottle, and actions to reduce that fizz are the motions needed to slowly open the cap to let some of it out occasionally). Running has always been my way of opening the cap slowly. Not always letting it all out, but alleviating the pressure somewhat. Slowly over the years, walking has done that too. The slower pace, the opportunity for mindfulness, the feeling of being out with your thoughts, and being unhurried I think gives you a chance to take more mental photographs and make little films in your memory that you can watch back when you need them. It’s times like we find ourselves in now that it all comes together and becomes clear why we are the way we are. We can draw on those memories to calm our anxious thoughts down, we can use them to plan future journeys in brighter times ahead, and we can just solely relive them. They can draw us out of dark places, they are food to nourish our well-being. These adventures and experiences, no matter how small are investments in a bank that we can withdraw or count on days when we can’t go out and earn more.

One thing I found interesting about lockdown, especially 1.0 was how it seemed to me that as soon as the outdoors was taken away, people wanted it more. People who probably never considered themselves outdoor people. But once the option of going for a walk in, say, Snowdonia, was taken away, the desire burned more. I am not a psychologist, so I can’t say if that’s because of the need to defy authority or whether it’s that old adage of you-don’t-know-what-you’ve-got-until-it’s-gone kind of thing. All I know is that I am fully at peace knowing that I’ve planned almost every available weekend around an adventure, a walk, a long run, and not taken anything for granted, so I can stay local and relive my mountain films in my head and plan the next ones with even more appreciation.