I've been walking regularly for more than thirty-five years, and in the spring of 2016 I finally broke down and started using the Nike running app to track my mileage.
I didn't think that an app would make much difference in my walking habits, and for the most part it hasn't. I had estimated my weekly output at about 20 to 40 miles (85 to 170 miles per month), toward the lower end of the range during the winter or in bad weather, and toward the upper end in the summer and good weather.
I only track walks of three miles or more. It takes me about that distance to fully relax in the walk.
Here's what I found:
• My mood, which I can track using the app, has been consistently good. I almost never have a bad walk.
• I'm walking slightly less than I thought. So far it's about 25 to 30 miles a week (110 to 130 miles per month).
• I'm walking slower than I had thought. I used to do 15-minute miles, but my average is now an 18:30 mile.
A word about speed: unlike the rest of the athletic world, I don't make speed a goal. Rather, my goal each time out is to discover my rhythm, my groove, and then stay in it, be it fast or slow, for as long as I can. I'm in competition with no one, not even myself.
No phone interruptions, no music. I do, however, carry a dumb phone, powered down, for emergencies.
Other than the occasional callus or blister, walking has never caused me an injury. To the contrary, walking strengthens the ligaments in my left knee, which were once torn in a car accident.
The expenses involved in walking are minimal. I replace my shoes about twice a year, and it's a good idea to wear a long-sleeve shirt and pants, a wide-brim hat, and sunscreen.
It turns out that using the app does encourage me to get out more often.