Thursday, July 14, 2016

fish or cut bait?

Summer heat and humidity are forcing me to make a decision as to how to proceed with my long walks. The way I see it, I can either bring a lot of water and continue to do the full-length walks about twice a week (which is my current frequency: doing them every day would be too much), or bring no water and cut the walks back to about half their current size (from 35K steps to about 18K steps). The cardio benefit would be about the same, as a truncated walk would still take me past the first fourteen large creekside staircases (you'll recall that, from #15 onward, the staircases are much shorter, making their aerobic/strength benefit somewhat dubious), but I'd be losing out in terms of caloric burn. Then again, truncated walks would give me more free time in the evenings—a couple hours more—and besides, there are other ways to reduce calories than caloric burn, such as eating less (dammit).

I'm leaning toward cutting back on the walking: carrying extra water in my satchel causes the satchel strap to bite uncomfortably into my shoulder. If I were simply commuting from work to home, that wouldn't be a problem, but my satchel is on my shoulder for almost five hours when I'm doing a long walk, so the pressure does become a problem after a while. It's conventional wisdom among walkers: take a tiny problem, like a slight tightness in your shoes, then repeat the occurrence of that problem several thousand times over the course of a long walk. Et voilà: your heretofore tiny problem has now become a big problem.

Then again, there's the bath-towel solution: fold a puffy bath towel over several times, stick it under the satchel's shoulder strap, and the strap-biting-shoulder problem disappears, even if I'm encumbered by a few liters of water. I've done this before on long hikes (when I'm carrying several towels and can afford to "waste" one or two this way); it works wonders. I think I may have to experiment a bit, over the next week or so, before I decide what my strategy will be for the rest of the summer. Stay thou tunèd.



8 comments:

John John McCrarey said...

I do the shorter walks (15,000+ steps) on weekdays. I try to do 25,000 to 30,000 on Sat and Sun. I carry a snack and water in my backpack on Saturday, and yeah, I can feel it but it hasn't bee too painful. On Sunday I stuff a couple of waters bottles in my pockets. At least along the river there are convenience stores along the way where I can purchase additional H2O.

Surprises Aplenty said...

Is your walk so remote? I would have thought that you could climb out of the river ravine and find a convenience store.

Kevin Kim said...

John,

There are two or three spots along my trail where I can go up to the street level and maybe find some water at convenience stores. Aside from that, nada. Most of the trail goes along residential regions with no convenience stores in sight.

You're probably right to reserve your bigger walks for the weekend. For me, though, the psychology is different: I feel lazy on the weekends and just want to chill, which is why I prefer doing a building-staircase workout on Saturday: that's only 23 minutes out of my day. But who knows? I may have to rethink my approach. Thanks for the insights.

Brian,

Strangely remote, yes. The path touches on civilization at a few points, but even if I go up to street level, it's gonna be a hike to the nearest convenience store.

Surprises Aplenty said...

"... it's gonna be a hike to the nearest convenience store." Ha!

I call myself a 'lazy cyclist'. I'll (or I did, not so much now) go sixty or a hundred kilometres, no problem. But a big hill? No, oh God, No!

I do get that you want to walk in a natural environment and stumbling down an urban street is unpleasant. Maybe you need to turn it into math: not carrying water = fifteen minutes of street time is okay while sixteen minutes is not, or some such thing.

Kevin Kim said...

Brian,

I actually need to scout out where these convenience stores might be. I can think of two stretches of the path where, if I leave the creek and move up to street level, there might be some convenience stores nearby. I haven't really scouted this out yet because I normally just concentrate on walking the path. But yeah, maybe it's time for a little reconnoiter.

hahnak said...

why not try a backpack?

Kevin Kim said...

Hahna,

I'm actually ordering another CamelBak from Amazon. I used one during my 600-mile hike; it was a life-saver.

Kevin Kim said...

Hahna,

More to the point: wearing a backpack to work would mean a sweaty shirt, so I prefer the satchel/shoulder-bag approach. The Camelbak, which is worn like a backpack, will be exclusively for hikes. It's small enough to tuck inside the satchel.