Woman stretching before starting her marathon walk

Marathon Walking Tips

Whether you're simply walking for fitness or thinking about trying a marathon, keep the following in mind and you're bound to succeed:

  • Learn about fitness and nutrition. Knowledge is power. Understanding the body—how muscles work, what exercise does and how food becomes fuel—is key to reaching any fitness goal.
  • Set goals. Working toward a goal should be something to anticipate, not dread, each day. Ask your physician to help you choose a realistic objective.

    If your goal is to walk 2 miles a day, here's an easy way to get started. Hop in your car, drive 1 mile away from home and note the location. Then walk to that point from your home and return… and you'll have walked 2 miles. Gradually increase your total mileage and walking speed.

  • Sign up for a marathon. As your strength increases, register for a 3-, 6- or 13-mile event. Do it just for the experience. Review the route and create a game plan. Stick to it no matter what and participate at your own pace.

    For your first 26-mile marathon, choose one that is "walker friendly" and keeps its finish line open for at least 7 hours. That way, you'll have plenty of time to complete the course.

  • Keep it fun. Find ways to motivate and entertain yourself during the marathon. Dedicate every marathon mile you walk to someone. Keep a dance card in mind with a person's name on it for each mile you complete. That makes every step you take even more of a personal achievement!