We get cerebral this week with tips on tackling daunting days and walking with mindfulness.
This week’s Monday Tip is a bit more cerebral than usual, it’s about walking in the now rather than rushing past things to reach a summit - or part of it is is, the other bit is a more practical take on the same thing to help you cope psychologically with tackling long, daunting days and, maybe, challenge walk type events.
Walk In The Now... For The Non-Competitive
Sounds a bit mystic eh, but it’s very easy when walking to get caught up in summit fever and find yourself simply hurtling towards a trig point in a really focussed way - head-down, no-nonsense, summit boogie.
Fine if that’s what you really want, but you can miss a lot in the process. Next time you’re out, try walking a bit more mindfully. Walk along the path to walk along the path, not to simply reach somewhere.
Think about the little things, the sensation of stones crunching under your boots maybe, or the heat of the sun - fat chance - on your skin. Notice the fine details, the texture of rocks, the sound of birds, different plants. The view...
You might be amazed at how much more you notice and how it changes your appreciation of the outdoors as well as giving you a calmer mind-set. It doesn’t mean you have to meander along slowly, but you might find you slow your pace simply so you can take more in.
Chunking... For The Competitive
The second part of the tip is almost the opposite and is aimed at people tackling some sort of daunting challenge walk or run. The Welsh 3000s say. You could focus on the now as a way of distracting yourself from the scale of what you’re doing, but another technique is what’s sometimes known as ‘chunking’.
Despite the name, it has nothing to do with regurgitation. Instead it’s about breaking your progress down into smaller, more attainable parts. If you’re standing at the bottom of Snowdon for example, rather than focussing on the summit, which might be three hours away, pick a distinctive point that’s a more attainable, less daunting goal.
It might mean you decide to focus on reaching a particular rocky out-crop you can see in the distance. Or a point you’ve picked on the map. Make that your immediate goal instead of the overwhelming whole, then once you reach it, re-calibrate and choose another intermediate point to aim for.
Every goal reached is a step towards your final objective and makes the whole process less intimidating.
So there you go, two for the price of one and more closely related than you might think at first.