A Longer, Slower Mile?

I'm a morning walker.  If you know me, or have read this blog regularly you know that.  In the warmer months, I'm out there anytime between 4:30 and 8:30 (depending on the day of the week) doing my thing.  Once the cold weather hits, all bets are off.  I head inside and do my miles via DVD. (I've been walking with Leslie Sansone's programs on and off for years. I've got her five mile in one hour [give or take] video memorized since I've done it for so many years.)  While for mileage, pace and fat burning, the indoor "walk" has the upper hand.  But for stimulating my mind (I get many of my blog ideas when I'm out walking) and getting much needed fresh air, there's nothing like a good outdoor walk.

While I like to take in my surroundings while I'm out for a walk (which can be a challenge at 4:30 in the morning when it's still pretty dark out), I try to keep a good and consistent pace.  I know I can't do as many miles in an hour outdoors as I can indoors.  There are hills to climb.  There are lumps and bumps in the road.  There are animals to avoid.  (I mostly just stare back at the deer, but when it comes to skunks, I scramble to the other side of the road.)  There is traffic to dodge.  (Stop signs DO count even when there is no traffic.  It's amazing how many people don't seem to realize this.)

I've noticed recently that my pace has slowed, which does not make me happy.  While indoors I can do that 12-14 minute mile; outside I try to keep up a 16-18 minute pace.  I've been heading for the slower end of that recently, which doesn't make me happy.  As always, I'm trying to shed the pounds and a faster pace means more calories burned.

I've been attributing my slower pace to two things:  1. I’m getting older (how I hate to admit it) and 2. It's darker out and stays that way for the whole of my walk.  In June and July I can start at 4:30 in the morning and if the light is not already in the sky, it's on its way.  Since September (actually the end of August), the sky is still pretty dark when I wrap things up. It's also apparent that I usually (though not always) walk faster on the weekends, which is when I walk later in the day and the sun is up.  (Although I am also guilty of walking less on the weekends.  I want to get home to have coffee and breakfast with my guys and maybe even read the newspaper.   Because I allow myself the luxury of “sleeping in" until 7 or so, my walk time is usually under an hour.)

Yesterday and today (hmmm...that might make a good album title), I noticed that my first mile pace was considerably slower, but the distance seemed longer.  When I walk, I use my headphones for music (the local radio station with tunes and news at the half hour so I know what's going on and what time it is without having to pull out my smartphone) AND I use the Map My Walk App.  While my route varies, I've been starting out the same way for quite some time, so I know approximately where I should hit the one mile mark.  Yesterday, the little voice telling me I hit one mile didn't come into my ear until I was quite a distance away from where I had always hit the mile mark.  Disappointed with my pace, I vowed to do better today.  So imagine my further disappointment when it was around the same point today when I heard the little voice say 1 mile AND I swear the time she gave was over 19 minutes (although when I went back and looked on line it was just over 18).

Frustrated, I decided to use other computer software and see where the mile fell.  Had I been kidding myself all this time?  Was the old mile marker incorrect?  After all the app HAD made some errors in the past. (When it tells me I've done a mile in 7 minutes I KNOW something is wrong.  Even in my wildest dreams I couldn't walk or run that quickly!)  Also I have recently switched phones.  (I'm still mourning the loss of my Nexus 4 and have to admit that I am wishing I had the cash to purchase the forthcoming Pixel.)  Sitting at my desk, I plotted out the route and it turns out; what Map My Walk had told me was a mile today (and yesterday for that matter) was definitely OVER a mile.  The "old" mile had been correct.

So now rather than be frustrated, I'm just a little annoyed and wondering why this sudden glitch.  However, like the song say, I've got to let it go.  I'll see what tomorrow's walk brings.  I may not be going as fast as I'd like, but I am going just as far (if not farther) than I always was.  But no matter what, I need to keep walking.  And I'll do it outside for just as long as I can.  If I don't...where will these blog ideas come from? :)


  1. I'm proud of your distance and pace. I'm younger than you by about 10 years and I'm lucky to do about 3 miles in about 50 mins. I'm also with you, I MUCH prefer walking outdoors, it is good for the soul.


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