A Boston Marathon for the Rest of Us

Start to finish in 26 days

Like many people who walk for regular exercise, I find that getting out the door can be the most difficult moment of my routine. Then, I remind myself of all the benefits of such a simple activity as walking. If you have trouble sticking to a walking routine, I propose that you join me in our own version of the Boston Marathon.

Here’s how it works:
Walk one mile outdoors every day for 26 days. On the 26th day, add an extra one-fifth of a mile. Your total for these 26 days will be 26 miles and 385 yards, the official distance of the Boston Marathon.

Most people can walk a mile in about 20 minutes. Every day for 26 days, leave your home or office and walk outside for 10 minutes. Then walk back to your starting point. Follow this schedule and imagine where we’ll be:

Day 1: Mile 0, we’re at the start line in Hopkinton.
Mile 0 advice: Like runners at the starting line, hydrate. Drink water before and after your walks.

Day 13: Mile 12.5, we pass through the Wellesley College “scream tunnel” of cheering students.
Mile 12.5 advice: Like the runners at Wellesley, get encouragement. Tell a friend your goal to walk every day and check in as you make progress.

Day 20: Mile 19, we run by the statue of Johnny Kelley, who ran the Marathon 61 times.
Mile 19 advice: Like Johnny the Elder, count the times you exercise. A simple tic mark on your calendar will encourage you to walk more often.

Day 26: Mile 25 to the finish. We pass the Citgo sign, the crowd goes wild as we turn the corner at Hereford Street, we burst over the finish line at the Boston Public Library.
Mile 26 advice: Use your imagination when you exercise. I hope visualizing the Boston Marathon will help you walk every day this month.

Running the Boston Marathon may be glamorous, but walking is still the best exercise you can get. Walk every day, and you’ll enjoy a ripe old age, like the 113-year-old marathon.

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