Monday, July 30, 2018

Make Money With Your Walking

Did you know that you can actually make money while training?  There are two different ways that I have been making money for the past couple of months while on my training walks.

The first is Job Spotter.  Job Spotter is an app for your phone that is affiliated with (the job search website).  Job Spotter is simple.  You simply take pictures of help wanted signs and upload them through the app.  It's very user friendly, and pays varying amounts per help wanted sign based on several factors.  A sign that appears to be permanent, or one that directs you to a website to apply, is not going to pay as much as a hand made sign in a store front that says to speak with the manager inside.  You can make as much as 80 cents to $1.00 for these types of signs with the more permanent/big chain type signs paying around 20 cents to 50 cents.

It's amazing just how many help wanted signs you can see while on a long walk.  And it's a quick stop to just open the app, snap the pictures, upload, and be on your way.  I've made as much as $3 to $5 on walks sometimes. 

Now, they don't pay in actual cash though.  However, they pay in an Amazon gift card that you can redeem at any time.  Since beginning in late May, I've redeemed one gift card for over $31.  I currently have another one building that is up over $20 right now.  I redeemed my $31 for a new insulated Nathan hand-held water bottle.  I am researching different walking books right now that I am going to get with my next gift card.  It's a great way to help support our favorite pastime. 

The second way to earn money while walking is the with the Dicks Sporting Goods app.  You can sync the app with your fitness tracker (Garmin, Fitbit, Apple watch, etc.), and Dicks will reward you with a $10 gift card after approximately 100 days of reaching 10,000 steps a day.  It doesn't have to be consistent days either.  It continues to track each time you reach your 10,000 steps.  I just recently discovered this app, so I haven't earned by gift card yet, but I will in the next couple of weeks. 

Again, it's not actual cash, but certainly we walkers can find something we would like to have at Dicks!  :) 

If you know of any other apps or companies that reward users for their steps, or if you know of any other ways to earn a little money while walking, please leave a comment below!

In the meantime, keep walking on sunshine!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

East Berlin Area Community Center 5K Race Recap/Review

This past Saturday, July 21, I participated in my first ever competitive walking event.  It was held in a little town about 1.25 hours west of whee I live, but it was definitely worth the drive!  The race was a 5K running race with a simultaneous 5K competitive walking race.

The race began at the East Berlin Area Community Center at 8 a.m.  We arrived about 7:30 and had no trouble parking at all.  There were plenty of signs directing us to the community center and both people and signs directing everyone where to park.

The packet pickup, registration and raffle tables were all located inside the community center, and were all very well organized.

The start of the race was actually a little bit of  a walk from the community center - about 1/10th of a mile down to a nearby park.

As with most races, being a former slow runner, and now a walker, I have always lined up at the back of the pack.  It's nearly always difficult to hear the race director giving the final announcements and the command to start.  This race was no exception.  I couldn't understand anything she was saying, but all of a sudden, I heard a gunshot.  I must've jumped a mile. The shot was fired by an older gentleman who was precariously situated on the top of an old camper-bed pick-up truck. At first I had no idea what was going on, but quickly realized the gunshot was to signify the start of the race.

I gathered my wits and crossed made it across the start line at the back of the pack, noting, in particular, one woman who was obviously in the walking division as well.   She was a few yards ahead of me and was obviously as serious about walking this race as I was.  I was using a 5 minute walk/ 30 second shuffle (slow, relaxed walk) ratio.  I inched and inched my way towards her, and finally was able to pass her just before the 1 mile mark.

The turns on the course were marked very well, with most of them having volunteers directing the racers to make sure they knew where to go.  There were also police/fire police at the places where we had to cross a road that was not closed to traffic.  The water stop was located at approximately the 1.5 mile mark.  I opted to skip the water.  I didn't want to slow down, and besides, it wasn't a hot morning.

I crossed the finish line at 43:53 -- with an average pace of 14:15.  I was elated.  Everyone was handed a wet sport towel to cool off with when we crossed the finish line. I was in second place overall in the walking division.  :)

The post race food was incredible.  There was fruit, cookies, coffee, smoothies, water, etc.  Again - just an incredible race overall.  Very well organized with friendly volunteers.  I will definitely do this race again next year!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Get to Know Your Feet!

When I first began running, I went to my local running store for a shoe fitting.  I was told that I needed a stability show, but she didn't explain why she thought I needed a stability shoe.  Looking back on it, I think it was most likely because I was a larger runner.  I took her word for it, and for the past three years, I have been buying stability shoes.

After listening to the latest Extra Mile Podcast Galloway Edition with the interview with Golden Harper (CEO and creator of Altra), I was especially intrigued with the Altra shoes, and I began to do some research on them.  I also began to research the different types of shoes, gaits, and why people need different types of shoes.

One of the first things I did was study my old shoes.  Tread Labs website was a great source that illustrated shoe wear by gait type.  It was so obviously from studying my old shoes that I am a supinator/under pronator. 

Once I realized that, I began to research supinators/under pronators, and it described me perfectly.  Then, to my surprise, as I researched shoes for supinators/under pronators, I learned that stability shoes were NOT the best choice.  Cushioning is important, but stability shoes were designed for people who pronate - which is the exact opposite of what my feet do.

So, with that in mind, I researched the best shoes for *MY* feet.  I compiled a list of brands and models of shoes that were best for my feet, and then I researched each shoe on my list.  I eventually made my decision based on consumer reviews, price, and color (hey, I'm a girl who loves color - especially pink!).

I decided on the Saucony Triumph ISO 3.  It's not the latest model, but it met all of my criteria.  I won't be wearing them until after my Tour de" Chocolate 10K Race/Walk on August 4th.  With a race coming up this weekend, and that race two weeks later, I felt it best to wait a couple of weeks, and then bring them out in time to get them warmed up for the Air Force 13.1 in September.

If you haven't researched your feet for yourself, I challenge you to do so --

Keep Walking On Sunshine!

Friday, July 13, 2018

How to Love Your Long Walks

Selfie Stop!
If you're training for a distance race of 10K or more, you've undoubtedly got weekly or biweekly long walks scheduled into your training plan.  There are some people who dread the long walks, and others, like me, who love them!

So, if you're not one of the walkers out there who loves your schedule long walks, I have a few suggestions that might help you begin to love them -- or at least not dread them.  :)

Choosing an enjoyable route is critical.  Do you like out-and-back routes?  Do you like a complete loop?  I, personally, prefer an out-and-back because it mentally makes me feel as though I'm only going half the distance.  Once I get to that half-way/turn-around point, I feel like I'm practically done, and now just headed home.

Today, my scheduled long walk was 10 miles.  I used Map My Walk to create my route.  I created a route from my home that took me out for 5 miles.  My route would take me through neighborhoods and commercial areas that would allow me to stay on sidewalks for the entirety of my walk and provide a variety of scenery.  When I reached the 5-mile point, I just turned around, and began my journey back home.

And don't forget - when you're choosing your route, make sure you include possible bathroom stops, whether park restrooms, convenience stores, or friend's homes.

It's also important, when planning for your long walk, to decide if you'd like to listen to music, podcasts, audio books, or simply nothing at all.  I prefer to listen to walking/running podcasts.  I load up my Ipod with hours of various podcast episodes.  I feel such a sense of community when I'm listening to podcasts about walking/training/running while I'm actually out there doing it.  It's inspiring, and keeps me motivated to keep going.

Hydration and fuel are very important for your long walk.  On today's long walk, I had my Nathan handheld water bottle filled with Nuun Electrolyte Drink.  I had a package of Organic Honey Stinger Chews, and two dill pickles.  Sipping my Nuun frequently, eating two of the Honey Stinger Chews every two miles, and eating a dill pickle at mile 3 and 7 kept me fueled, hydrated, and with plenty of energy.

And lastly, just have fun. Enjoy the scenery.  Stop and take a few pictures of interesting things you see.  You'll notice beauty in places that you never noticed if you've only driven that route before.  Look at your long walk as an adventure to see things from a different perspective.  Take time to smell the roses, and enjoy the beauty around you.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

What's In Your Water Bottle?

The temperatures continue to rise making hydration critical for walkers (and athletes of all kinds).  Dehydration is a very serious condition, and in order to ensure that you do not become dehydrated, you must make sure that you hydrate properly. 

There are dozens of hydration products on the market.  I have experimented with several of them, and have found Nuun to be best for me.  Nuun comes in tablet form in a convenient to carry tube.  You drop one tablet into your water, and it dissolves into a flavorful electrolyte drink that will keep you hydrated.

Nuun offers many different flavors and varieties from just electrolyte tablets, to vitamin electrolyte tablets, to even electrolyte tablets with caffeine in them. 

My personal favorite are the Blueberry Pomegranate Vitamin Nuun tablets.  I love the flavor, and I
love that they include 11 different vitamins.  Nuun tablets are also low in sugar and calories with only 1 gram of sugar and 10 calories in each tablet.

You can purchase Nuun at many running stores, Target, Amazon, or directly from their website at NuunLife

So, drop a Nuun tablet in your water bottle, and be sure to drink approximately 2-4 ounces every 2 miles (amount and frequency as recommended by Jeff Galloway.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


So you're out the door and beginning to walk on a regular basis.  How's it going?  Would you like to increase how far you can walk, and more importantly, would you like to feel even better (and less tired and sore) when you're done?

Jeff Galloway has discovered the secret to not only feeling better after you walk (or run), but also staying injury-free AND even going faster!  The concept is mind blowing, but it's been proven to work time and time again.

The secret is taking shuffle breaks during your walk.  I must admit that even after reading Jeff's book on walking, I was unsure what he meant by "shuffle break", so at a recent clinic of his that I attended, I asked him to demonstrate a shuffle break.  This is what a shuffle break is:

As with Jeff Galloway's run-walk-run strategy, he recommends taking shuffle breaks from the very beginning of your walk and not waiting until you get tired to start the breaks.  

There are tremendous physical benefits to taking shuffle breaks in your walking, but if you're like me and working on speed with your walks, there are mental benefits as well.  As I'm pushing myself with my power walking, I can look at my timer and tell myself, "Okay, just 2 more minutes at this pace, and then I can slow down."  Then, after my 30 second slow-down, I'm rejuvenated enough to push the pace again.  
I've tried this method, and am amazed at the difference it makes.  I knew how helpful his run-walk-run strategy was when I was a runner, but I can tell you that his walk-shuffle-walk strategy is just as effective for walking!

I highly recommend Jeff's interval timer to keep track of your shuffle breaks.  You can purchase it from his website at Jeff Galloway's Run Walk Timer. Jeff has referred to the timer as "The Little Green Coach", and that's exactly what it is.  You can set the timer for any combination you would like.  You can set it to beep or vibrate or both to alert you when it's time for a shuffle break.  It runs on an AAA battery which lasts for a very long time.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

On your mark, get set, go!

 Okay, so you've got proper shoes, comfortable attire, and now you're ready to start a walking training program.   The best motivation for training is having a race paid for and on the calendar.  I recommend beginners start out training for a local 5K, but if you've been walking for a while and walk 10 or more miles per week, you can consider training for a 10K or even a half marathon.  

To find a race in your area, you can check with local run club websites, or you can go to Running In The USA.  It's very important that you read the information about each event very carefully to make sure it is a walker-friendly event.  Most local charity 5Ks are very walker-friendly, but many of the larger events have strict time limits that would be challenging for a walker.

So now that you've found your race, I highly recommend Jeff Galloway's Training Plans.  Here you can find a training schedule for a 5K all the way up to a marathon.  All you need to do is replace the running with walking.  Then follow the plan.  It's that simple!

Until next time - Keep Walking On Sunshine