We typically spend a great deal of our time indoors between home, work and training at the gym. We can finally start thinking of sweating more outside now with the good weather upon us. I can see that smile coming now. Here are some great outdoor workouts that you can try around the Boston area or within an hour drive of the city. Give them a try with friends or family. The best part is they are all free and will cost you nothing but your time.
Harvard University Football Stadium (Cambridge, MA). This is by far my favorite place for a great, efficient, outdoor stair workout. If you have never been here before, start slowly by walking the stadium stairs and eventually progress to a combination of walking/running and eventually just running if you’re able. There are 37 sections that make up this iconic football stadium built-in 1903. Don’t quote me but I believe you need to scale about 31 (big) stadium steps to the top of each section, giving you “about” 1,147 steps if you decide to go for it and do the entire stadium. For a great read on caloric expenditure doing these particular stadium stairs, check-out Jason Munster’s blog post here. If you’re looking to take your workout to the next level – you could always add in push-ups, ab work etc. in between each sets of stair-climbs. I believe it was Harvard’s legendary crew coach, Harry Parker, “fresh from the 1960 Olympic Team,” who started taking his teams there during that same year using stadium running as part of their training. If you need a goal to shoot for, I’ve read that the best overall time, once around, was 13:00 which is outstanding and occurred back in 1984. Exceptional times are 16-17:00 or for that matter anything under 20-minutes and if you’re human like me give yourself 30-minutes. If you walk the entire stadium you’ll be in the 30-45-minute time range. I also read that Harry Parker and one of his Olympic rowers went around three times to complete a “century” run (100 sections) in less than an hour! For directions, click here.
Blue Hills Reservation (Milton, MA). It may be only 700 feet in terms of elevation but these undulating hills with breath-taking views, include more than 700 acres, and are amazing to walk and hike. If some trails are too easy for you – you can always mix in some trail running. Check out my favorite area, the Skyline Trail when you make it there. There is also Houghton’s Pond on site and places you can take your mountain bike. During the winter months it’s great for snow shoeing and cross-country skiing. For directions click here.
East Bay Bike Path (Providence, R.I). This scenic bike bath, much of it along the water, begins in Providence and you can bike all the way to Bristol, R.I. There are great eateries along the way, especially the Sunset Cafe in Bristol, R.I which is at the end of your 14-mile bike ride from Providence. Directions can be found here.
Shining Sea Bikeway (Falmouth, MA). This amazingly beautiful bike path hugs the coast from Falmouth to Woods Hole and then beyond to North Falmouth, running about 10.7 miles one way. For directions see here.
Cape Cod Canal (Borne, MA). This is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The bikeway follows the Cape Cod Canal through sections of Bourne and Sagamore offering approximately 7 – 8 miles between both Bourne and Sagamore Bridges. A great, flat course that is great for walking, running, biking, roller blading or pushing a baby stroller. It’s just begging you to get out there and use it! For direction you can check here.
We’ll offer some additional workout options down the road but this should get you started. Whether you live in the area, are a student at one of the local colleges or here just on business, you now have a few more options to choose from that cost you nothing but a little bit of your time. Enjoy!
Harvard Gazette: Building Endurance, Step by Step, Alvin Powell, 2012.