This weekend I bought the latest issue of “Country Walking” magazine. I’ve been reading that publication on and off for years. I do enjoy walking and nature and the countryside, although there are reasons why I don’t actually take that many country walks, but that’s for another post.
What I really wanted to tell you is that I have signed up to the #walk500miles challenge, promoted in the magazine. You can pledge to walk 500 miles by end of June, end of September or end of December, starting 1st April. It’s up to you if you want to count every bit of walking you already do on an ordinary day, or if you only want to count the extra bits – to an extent, you make your own rules. I thought this would be a neat way of getting a bit fitter. I’m not terribly unfit, and I do some walking every day, but I think I can do more. Besides, I’m going on holiday with my parents in August, and they are very fit and naturally fast walkers, so maybe I need a bit of training to keep up with them!
You can print out a progress tracker, which looks like this:
This is only part of it, it goes on like that to the end of the page and into a second column. Immediately you can see the flaw in it: it is organised into chunks of 4 weeks each, at the end of which you calculate your monthly total. But of course a month has more than 28 days. This means you reach your “monthly total” a bit early, and the effect is cumulative. Soon you will reach your monthly total in the middle of the month (by September the “month” will finish on the 17th). “Month” clearly does not correlate to calendar month here, making the “monthly total” a bit of misnomer.
There is a second problem. The challenge is deemed to start on 1st April, which was a Saturday. The progress tracker starts on a Monday, which was the 3rd of April. I had walked 2.9 miles on the 1st to start me off, but where to enter them? If I enter them into the first Saturday, that’s most of the first week empty. Do I just enter them outside the box and include them in the monthly total? Or do I forfeit them and start properly on the 3rd? Also, how annoying would it be to have something outside the box?
I could of course go and draw my own progress tracker. But if you enter your name at the top of the provided one and upload a picture of it, you can enter a prize draw and win some nice walking gear. I doubt they would accept an entry with a homemade one!
Believe it or not, I was mulling this over for hours. I went to have nice hot bath and turned this over and over in my head. And of course I was thinking this: do I see problems where there aren’t any? Would anyone else just enter their miles any old way and not worry about fitting them into the pattern exactly? Would “normal people” be concerned about reconciling the two different meanings of month, or is it just me being weird again? All I want to do is do this correctly!
After a few hours I came to a conclusion.
- I will forfeit the miles I’d already walked and start counting on the 3rd, meaning that the challenge which is meant to start on the 1st in fact starts two days later. (This throws up an attendant question though: which date do I enter as the start date at the top of the page? The supposed one or the factual one?)
- I will accept that, although it says “monthly total”, it is in fact a four-weekly total.
It’s a compromise, a fudge, but since there is no way of doing this correctly, I will grit my teeth and do it incorrectly. It will be fun to see the total creep up – if I can keep it up! But I know that every four weeks, when I fill in the “monthly” total, a little grating voice in the back of my head is going to whisper: “Wrong! Wrong!”
This is what I have to expend my brain power on! Why oh why do I have to live in such a world of vagueness and ambiguity?