Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Walk-Commuting

So, I haven’t mentioned this, but I decided to start walking to work. It’s not overly far – it takes me about an hour and a half door to door, including stops to take over pokemon gyms and streetlights. If I really book it it takes closer to an hour and ten minutes.

There were no resources for me online when I decided to start walking to work. Or at least I didn’t look for any. I figured it was as easy as wake up early, walk, go to work, walk home. Which it is! There’s just a couple of things I wish I had known before I got started.

1. Make a go-bag

I have no clue why this didn’t occur to me. You sweat when you run, of course you sweat when you walk four miles. After the first day, I started arriving to the office wearing workout clothes and then changing into suitable attire, then changing back out at the end of the day. It worked out pretty great. Then my face started breaking out.

So I started basically packing the same bag I would pack if I go to the gym. Any makeup I want to wear when I get to the office, any accesories, and new clothes are in my backpack. Then I have a separate bag with cleansing face wipes, sunscreen, a small hand towel and (if I have access/time on that day) shower gel and a large towel. Walking doesn’t make me feel quite as gross as running on a treadmill does, but showering when you get to work is pretty great. If not, the face wipes and a hand towel will cleanse your body well enough.

2. Bring a Battery Pack

If I don’t use my battery pack, my phone ends up at 50% by the time I get to the office. That’s because every morning I am doing two things – playing Pokemon Go (hatching 10K eggs has been a breeze… as long as the servers are working.) and listening to a book on Audible. Podcasts, music, audiobooks, and games all make the long walk to work pretty chill. Obviously looking at the scenery and communing with urban-nature is also nice, but walking the same path you start to want something more to do.

So this is the time. Catch up on whatever you meant to be reading by using audible or checking out audiobooks from your local library. Learn a new language using the Rosetta Stone app. Have an air guitar contest. Walking is never boring with these insanely awesome smartphones that everyone has. Just note that that takes a toll on your phone’s battery life, so either invest in an external charger (something I highly recommend anyway,) or bring your charger to work.

north end
You’ve been reading for a while. Here, have a pretty picture.

3. Protect Yourself

I noticed after I walked to work in flip flops one day, my ankles were not happy with me. I rolled my ankle over five years ago, but the effects still last. You don’t have to have a pair of “walking shoes” necessarily, but something with proper arch and ankle support, whether those are New Balance or Doc Martens, is a must. Make sure your shoes don’t give you blisters or shin splints.

I also noticed I was ending up with a ridiculous tan. My flip flop tan was bad enough, but the sports bra/backpack/tank top tan combo was a little strange. Also my face is at least two shades darker than it was when I started walking. Skin cancer is no joke, so I cover up with sunscreen. Wearing pants, long sleeves, or a hat will also help prevent sun damage. No one wants to age any faster than they need to!

That also means from injury. Make the time, maybe 20-30 minutes, after you walk home to stretch out. You’ll become more flexible overall, and also will make your body more resistant to injury. Plus stretching feels awesome.

4. HYDRATE

I don’t have a water bottle anymore. My Nalgene was lost to the Wellesley campus many moons ago. But I need to get one because my tiny mason jar cup contraption is not going to cut it much longer. If you’re going on a run longer than three miles, you should really bring water with you. Same for walks, in my opinion. Especially since it is so flipping hot outside this summer. Put a bunch of ice cubes in with some water, and it will melt as you go along keeping things cool. No one likes heat stroke, or dehydration.

5. For my thick-thighed peeps, three words: anti. chafing. gel.

I have always had the issue no one likes to talk about. If I wear a skirt, or even loose shorts, I get that horrible, painful rash on the inside of my thighs from them rubbing together. This summer that inevitably happened. But I was armed with new information. There were magical things known as anti-chafing sticks that I needed to go find.

Unfortunately my CVS did not have the Bandaid anti-chafing sticks, or any other brand of anti-chafing stick. Finally, in the “feminine items” aisle, I saw that Montistat (yes, the yeast infection people,) had an anti-chafing gel. Something was better than nothing at that point, so I grabbed it. Best. Purchase. Ever. The second it was on my thighs felt normal. I could still walk, they were relived, not rubbing together nearly as aggressively as before, and they healed so I didn’t even need to use it after a couple of days.

As hot and humid as this summer is, I am sure I will be in need of it again before long. But that doesn’t mean that I have to stop walking!

Now that I have shared my unnecessary advice, I hope I have inspired even one person to walk to work some time. After all, thanks to walking I have only spent 10 dollars on train fare in Boston this summer. If I took the train like last summer, that would be the same as two days fare, essentially saving me 33 bucks! Not bad. Not bad.

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