Until recently, my answer would have (obviously) been to run. No second thoughts, no debate.
Although walking and running share a lot of the same traits and features ( more walking benefits HERE), I have noticed a few differences that are often over-looked. It wasn't until I was forced to substitute walking for running that I (finally) got it. I not only recognized these differences, but also learned to respect them.
As a result, I have an overwhelming desire to share what I have learned. Care to hear about it?
First of all, there's the weather. Most of us know to dress like it's 10-15 degrees warmer before heading out for a run, right? Well, that rule is for runners, NOT walkers. Sure, walking will heat up your body, but not to the same degree (see that play on words?) that running will.
|Can you say, "thumb holes...in August???"
Let's not forget about shoes. Did you know you probably have a different foot strike and stride length when you walk? I had read it, heard about it from experts, and even been advised against it from sales clerks in shoe stores....but never really grasped the concept until recently. I typically don't wear my running shoes unless I'm actually running (so you will not see me wearing them with jeans or casual shorts), so this never really was an issue.
|These Mizuno Wave Inspire 13's got me through my marathon and have since been on vacation in my closet
How about mileage? This is the one area where I have gotten the most feedback. When runners train for long-distance events, they have to put in a lot of miles. Although walking and running use many of the same muscles, running is harder on your body due to the faster speed and increased impact from all of that pavement pounding. Walking, because it's quite a bit slower, is not as hard on your joints. Essentially, you can walk greater distances (and reap the cardio benefits) without as much stress on your body because you're not demanding as much from it. I have walked a lot of miles in the past two months.... more than double the miles I would have run (had I had a "normal" routine of running 3-4 days per week).
|A few extra walking miles are safer than a few too many running miles
That said, I can't just head out for a "quick" 5-miles (like I can when I'm running). I can run five miles (usually) in less than 45 minutes...but walking? I have to plan for at least a good 30 minutes longer (because there will likely be a potty stop in that span of time). Kind of a time-suck, huh!
So, that's my take on walking, and how it differs from running. It certainly isn't my first choice of exercise, but it has filled a huge void in my life these past few months. I have a lot of my mobility back and my range of motion is returning, but early on, I was limited to what I could do with my healing knee. Walking was the one thing I was allowed to do. I could do it as slow as I needed to (when the 6-inch suture seam was at its most vulnerable), and it was readily available anywhere and everywhere, anytime of the day.
Talk to me....how do you feel about walking vs. running? Do you ever treat them as equals in terms of effort or legitimacy? Have you ever had to substitute walking for running as you waited out an injury's recovery?
I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0. Please join us!!