ViewRanger ambassador (and all-round outdoor nut) Hetty Key must be bonkers, because she's taking on all three of our our Outdoor Challenges this year. Here are Hetty's expert tips on how to walk, ride and run further than ever before in 2017.
Standing on the summit of Mont Blanc, I felt elated. Surrounded by mountains, I could see the Matterhorn piercing the blue sky in the distance. It was spectacular. Over the course of last year, #Walk2016 has taken me to some incredible places, but none were as memorable as this. From epic adventures to discovering new routes closer to home, ViewRanger’s 1,000-mile challenge was one of my biggest highlights of the year.
As you can imagine, when ViewRanger announced their 2017 challenges I was very keen to sign up. To make things even more exciting, this year they are introducing a new category - #Run2017. Combined with even more distances; there really is something for everyone. Unable to pick (and also a sucker for a challenge), I have signed up for all three!
So, as I prepare for a busy year running, walking, hiking and biking, I wanted to give you my top five tips for taking on ViewRanger’s 2017 challenges:
1: Choosing your challenge
Choices, choices - there are so many options! How do you pick?
Start by taking a look at your routine and see what sort of mileage you think you could fit into your life. Although these distances can seem a little daunting at the beginning when you break it down to a weekly or daily mileage they are far more approachable. For example, to complete the 1,000-mile challenge you only need to tick off around 3 miles a day. Whether that’s a short sunrise stroll each morning, long run at the weekend, or cycling to work it‘s amazing how quickly the mileage can add up over a year.
Don’t be afraid to push yourself! This is meant to be a challenge after all, and what might feel tough right now will only get easier the more you get outside.
2: Making it public
Once you have picked your challenge, don’t be afraid to make it public - tell people! Whether you tweet, post or simply talk about it, by declaring your goal you are making yourself accountable for it and far more likely to see it through.
Over the course of last year, I made a point of telling my friends how many miles I had logged (even if I wasn’t on target!). Chatting to them helped me stay on top of how far through the challenge I was and made me even more determined to hit my target.
3. Managing the mileage
Now you’ve signed up and told everyone - all you need to do is start!
Before you get going, set yourself a few targets and milestones to reach over the course of the year. That way you can hopefully avoid spending your December trying to log a ridiculous amount of distance! I learnt this the hard way - at the beginning of 2016, I freestyled! So when it came to July, I was quite a long way behind on my target. I knew the goal was still manageable, but only if I stayed on top of my mileage. So I set up a schedule for the second half of the year.
On a related note - this sounds obvious - but remember to track your miles! You do not want to get to the end of a 5-mile walk/run/bike and realise you have forgotten to press the start button. If you're new to the app or logging your distance, this can take a bit of time to remember but quickly becomes a habit.
4. Get Inspired
Ticking off the miles shouldn’t be mundane or a slog - this is an opportunity to do something awesome! Why not make a list of five places you would love to explore over the course of the year? Or use the challenge to get fit for a particular race or event?
Alternatively, you could see this as a chance to pick up a new skill. Last year, I wanted to work on my photography, so each hike I went on I made sure I took at least one picture. Whatever you enjoy - be that learning more about nature, drawing or photography, the choices are endless.
5. Share it
If you are worried about the commitment of the challenge one of the best things to do is get friends or family involved. By doing this, you can help keep track of your progress together and encourage each other to get outside on the days the sofa is calling!
Another great way to stay motivated is by keeping a record of your adventures. Whether this is a quick sentence on your run, a picture of the sunset or even a something you found on your walk you will be able to to see how you progress over the course of the year. Plus it will give you a lovely collection to look back on.
So what are you waiting for? Pick your challenge and get started!
Over the course of the year, I will be sharing plenty of pictures from my adventures via my blog (www.mudchalkandgears.com) and on social media - I would love to see some of yours too. Walk, bike or run - let’s do this!