10 Reasons to Repeat the Same Walk

I'm a repeater. I walk the same one-mile loop on my 15-minute break time walks each day, and I often walk the same six-mile route on my neighborhood greenway for my longer walks. But my walking buddy Nona doesn't like to repeat the same route more than once a year. As I walked the Portland Marathon's half marathon route for the tenth time, I realized how reassuring it was to be on a familiar route, vs. the new half marathon I'd walked two weeks before. Here are ten reasons why you can enjoy repeating the same walks.

You Know What to Expect

Walking on the Greenway Path
Walking on the Greenway Path. Hero Images/Getty Images

On a new route, I don't know for certain where I'll encounter hills, gravel, broken pavement, traffic or crowds. I may also miss some sights I really should slow down or pause to enjoy. When I know what is ahead, I can relax -- or steel myself to endure it.

You Are Less Likely to Get Lost

Planning a Walking Route
Planning a Walking Route. Wendy Bumgardner

If you are prone to taking wrong turns, a familiar route is the safest way to get through your walk without exploring new territory. Apps with maps were my main reason for getting a smart phone. If you want to change things up, you can explore variations and detours and still have some confidence of finding your way back to your starting location.

You Can Work on Walking Technique and Speed

Walking Fast
Vasko Miokovic Photography/E+/Getty Images

When you know where you're going, you are free to concentrate on your walking form. For your walking workouts, it frees you to hone your technique. How is your walking posture? Are you using the best arm motion? You can practice your uphill and downhill technique. If you are walking the same 10K, half marathon or marathon you know where you can speed up and where to save your energy for what is ahead.

You Can Race Yourself

Racers at Starting LIne
kristian sekulic/E+/Getty

When you walk the same route or the same event, you can compare your times and see if you are getting faster. Some apps such as MapMyWalk will even do that automatically -- and tell you how you compare with others on the same route. You can track your own PR - personal record or personal best. For big races, you can compare your times year after year.

You Can Bliss Out

Woman Walking
QxQ IMAGES Datacraft/imagenavi/Getty Images

 Without having to check a map or directions or wonder what is ahead, your mind is free to enjoy what's around you. If you are walking solo, you can zone out or enjoy your walking music, audiobooks or podcasts. If you are walking with friends, you can get deep into conversation.

You Know What to Wear and Carry With You

Wearing a Fanny Pack in Front
Wendy Bumgardner ©

Will I need to carry water? If it's a walking/running event, do I know for sure they have enough water stops that will still be set up when I get to them? For a walking workout, is there a water fountain I can stop at? I like to know when I'll be on gravel or a natural surface so I can wear trail shoes instead of my fitness walking shoes, and maybe use a hiking stick or trekking poles. Will I need a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses or be walking in the shade? Will I need insect repellent?

You Know Where the Restrooms Are -- and Aren't

Restroom Sign and Arrow
Where's the Restroom?. Martin Diebel/fStop/Getty Images

I prefer routes with a restroom opportunity every two to three miles. I want to know where they are and where they aren't so I don't pass up a "safety stop." At half marathons and marathons, as a repeater I know where I may encounter long lines and where I'll be able to stop and go quickly.

You Become a Familiar Sight

People walking with dogs
Gary John Norman/Cultura/Getty Images

When you do the same walk time after time, it becomes like Cheers -- where everybody knows your name, or at least thinks, there's that walker again. They are far less likely to call the cops to report a suspicious person. Instead, you will get friendly waves and greetings.

You Can Play Expert With Newbies

Senior Walking Club Group Walk
Walking Club Group Walk. Christopher Futcher/E+/Getty Images

You are the walking tour guide on your favorite walking routes. When you bring a new walking friend along, you can regale and amaze them with what you know about it. You can mentor newbies who are going to walk that half marathon or marathon you've done before.

You Never Really Walk the Same Route

Walking an Autumn Path
Walking a Path in Autumn. Hero Images/Getty Images

Even when I repeat the same one-mile loop on the same day, it's different. I encounter different people, pets and wildlife each time. I note different sights. The sun and weather changes. You can see new plants grow, leaf out, flower, change colors and fade. Repeating walks lets you appreciate subtle changes and the changing seasons and moods of the environment. It's the same, only different.

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