Where ever “there” may be. It’s a scientifically proven theory. Well, it is in my mind at least. I’ve got lots of anecdotal evidence. And my anecdotal evidence trumps any studies to the contrary that you can pull out of your pocket. No. Put those studies away!
Let me explain how my scientific theory works. It breaks down into three parts.
1) It is faster walking home after you’ve gone someplace because you are happy to be going home and relieved your walk is nearly over.
By the time I’ve walked several miles, my feet start getting sore. I wonder how much farther it is I’m going to have to go. When I finally hit the point where I’m going to turn around and head home, it’s like “Hallelujah!” for my poor, tired feet. And hips. And back. And knees. Since I’m so excited to be heading home, I get a little extra kick in my step and I think that if I hurry, I just might make it home to watch Killer Klowns From Outer Space on the boob tube. Not really. I don’t watch TV much. I rent a TV show and quality films like the above from time to time, but don’t watch the telly as a regular thing. Well, okay, I’m fibbing again. I don’t watch Killer Klowns, either. I watch boring-to-most-people foreign films, drama, indie films and so on. Occasionally a blockbuster or two flit across my television screen. But you get my meaning. I’m excited to be getting home so that I can do any number of things. So I go faster.
2) It is faster to walk home after going somewhere because it takes me a while to develop a good stride in the first half. When I first start my walk, I’m tired, and the first mile or two are torture sometimes because I’m thinking of all the other stuff I’ve got to do at home that really needs my attention. It takes a bit to work out the kinks, get into the spirit of the walk and get into a good rhythm. After I get a good pace going though, I keep it up. Once I get to where I’m going and I head home, the second half is faster simply because my working my way into the walk took so damn long.
Now some of you might say that a warm up could help so that it doesn’t seem to take so long to get into the groove. Pish posh. I read about a study on yahoo news (?) recently that says that the necessity of stretching before and after exercise is a common exercise myth. You know I’m going to totally trust one little study over what tons of other athletes, exercise physiologists, scientists and doctors have experienced and practiced over time. Because theirs is merely anecdotal evidence. Wait… Did I just say that? Never mind. Ignore that last remark.
3) It is faster coming home than going somewhere because I often don’t know where I’m going to begin with. I vary my walk every day. Going the same places all the time is boring. Where’s the fun in that? Why else would I want to walk across America? I want to see new things! So, walking to someplace when I don’t know where I’m going is time consuming. I have to make decisions at every corner whether to turn right, left, go straight, or even to turn back. Sometimes, that decision takes more than a split second as I stand there looking around trying to see which way looks more interesting. Coming back is faster, because I take the same route that I took to where I went. Mostly. Usually. Not always.
So there you have it. The three part scientific theory (which is testable in a carefully controlled study, should you decided to get the funding and try it out) as to why walking home is so much faster than walking to X.
*I don’t really believe this, by the way. Before I get tons of notes saying, “Holly! You should totally stretch! It’s good for you and blah blah blah,” I want to reassure you that I do stretch (when I remember to) and that I do believe it is good for me. I am in no way saying that you shouldn’t stretch before or after workouts. What you do with your own body is your business, not mine! I am not an exercise physiologist nor a doctor. Or a researcher. Or….whatever. You get my point.