Is walking the new running

November 22, 2021

Running has always played a huge part in our lives with our jobs as a professional athlete and an athletics coach, but we have a new passion walking! Back in October we travelled to North Wales for an amazing holiday, where we walked along stunning beaches and up and down mountains during the day, returning to a camper van in the evening for a blissful night sleep aided by hours of fresh air. We all know the benefits of running, but could walking be even better for us?  

Although our bodies are both use to running and we still both regularly run as it’s a quick and easy way to stay fit, but since the walking holiday we have been looking into the benefits of walking over running? Firstly, we both slept better than ever after a day out walking, this might be due to the amazing fresh Welsh air, but we were also both knackered from a day of movement so drifted straight off.

As we age running can start to have a detrimental effect on our bodies, with knee and hip concerns the most common issues for regular runners. Runners impact the ground with three times their body weight at each step, whilst walkers only impact with one and a half, so greatly reducing the effect. So, at an age when we are more likely to be developing joint problems, it’s definitely important to try and reduce the impact on your knees and hips. That isn’t to say walking doesn’t have an effect on our bodies, both of us noticed aches in our hips after a long day walking! It’s also easier to sustain walking for longer than running, certainly as we age. You may only be able to run for 10mins, but you can probably walk for at least 40 mins at a brisk pace, meaning you can burn calories for longer, and will get fitter quicker in the long term.

One of the biggest joys of the walking holiday was the sociability of it. It really was quality time together, enjoying breath-taking views and talking for hours, instead of lying next to each other on a sun lounger engrossed in separate books! Walking is certainly a great way to socialise with friends or meet new people, with many walking groups all over the UK.

They say there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing! So just before our trip we invested in some new walking boots as it’s so important to have the right equipment, so you don’t injury yourself. We chose OC Cloudrock Waterproof boots because would keep our feet dry and are super lightweight. We would highly recommend them but would love to hear from you what are your walking essentials.

If you don’t regularly walk, then it’s so important to fuel your body correctly so you don’t get too tired. We would start our day with a bowl of warming porridge topped with raisins and bananas. We snacked on dried fruit to keep us going and if we were out all day, we packed a carb heavy pasta salad. Of course, you also need to hydrate if you are going on a long walk, but the weather is cold, (as it normally is in this country!), then why not take a flask of hot fruit tea. The fruit gives your body a sugar boost and the warmth will help maintain your core body temperature. If you suffer from poor circulation our top tip is to add some fresh ginger to hot water as this can help, get the blood flowing to your toes and fingers. We try and follow the health advice to eat your rainbow all year round and in Autumn there are so many delicious colourful stews and curries available.

Following our trip Jon walks daily for 1-2 hours with the dog, listening to music. He finds it a great way to find some headspace and set himself up for the day. I still run but am swapping out more of my runs for long walks and I enjoy listening to podcasts – I would love to hear your favourite podcast suggestions, share them with us by email on and we will share the most popular choices with everyone on our Instagram @sallygunnell


Sally & Jon x

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