Friday, February 14, 2014

Gauging Distances on Foot

Donna and I went to a nearby neighborhood park yesterday for a walk. Meadowcreek Park is located east of us in an area of established homes with lovely trees. A sign posted at the park indicates that the paved loop ringing the park is .3 miles long. This would give us a good opportunity to check our walking speed.

In a recent entry (see Hike Report: Tasajillo Flats Trail), I mentioned that I estimated distances based upon time. So, after the first loop yesterday, I checked the time. It took us about 5 minutes to walk .3 miles. I no longer use a watch (got rid of it when I retired as I was determined not to be bounded by time any more), so I rely solely on my phone for time. The clock on the face of the phone does not show seconds, so I do not know precisely how long it took to walk that first loop.

With each passing loop, I'd check the time, and we seemed to be keeping pace. Sometimes, 6 minutes would elapse between loops.

We made the loop 10 times for a total of 3 miles. We began at 1:48 and finished at 2:41 for a total of 53 minutes. This breaks down to making a loop in just over 5½ minutes, and averaging a mile in just under 18 minutes. We've lost a step or two over the years, but not much.

We can still keep a lively pace for 3 miles. After 3 miles, we begin to slow some. Now, this is a smooth walk, paved and level, so it just doesn't get much easier. On a walk with ups and downs, we'd get slowed down a bit. On a walk with rocks and other obstacles, we'd slow even more.

Many hikes we've been on have had markers along the trail indicating distance, and this is an excellent way to time your walks and learn how to measure distances you hike. But you have to take into consideration all the factors, such as distance, trail difficulty, frequency of stops (for admiring views and taking pictures, for example), and even weather conditions.

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