The online journal of Luke Dockery

Reading and Walking in 2020


In April 2013, I started walking laps around the church auditorium while studying or reading. I found this helped me to focus better, and also it was a good way to be a little less sedentary while at work.

Each lap around the auditorium was approximately 74 yards:

This past year was strange due to COVID-19. Back in the spring when we suddenly became concerned about the pandemic, I began working from home, and did so for about 12 weeks. During that time, I walked and ran around my neighborhood a lot, and listened to a lot of audiobooks and podcasts while doing so, but quite naturally, fewer days in the office meant less opportunities for walking laps. Once I returned to the office, however, I was still not going to the gym, which meant that I was coming in early some days and getting a lot of reading done those days.

Without further ado, here are my totals for the year:

Total Laps in 2020: 6,836 (approximately 118 yards per lap)

Total Distance in 2019: 458.3 miles

Total Distance to date: 3419.4 miles

In 2020, my totals were the equivalent of walking from Erie, Pensylvania down to Cleveland, Ohio, through Columbus and Cincinnati, and finally stopping in Louisville, Kentucky.

I was surprised but pleased that my totals increased from last year. I have certainly spent enough time walking around the Cloverdale auditorium over the last 18 months that people have become aware of this unusual practice and now joke with me about it.

It has been a couple of years (2018) since I hit 500 miles for the year; that is my goal for 2021.


  1. Casey McDonald

    Luke, I love this idea and wonder how you track your laps. It would seem cumbersome and distracting to manually track each lap while you’re deep into whatever you’re reading/studying. I’ve looked through your previous years’ posts, but haven’t seen if you mentioned how you track this. Thanks in advance to your reply!

    • Luke

      Hey Casey, hope you are doing well!

      The short answer is that I do manually track the laps, and while it may seem cumbersome at first, it becomes habitual and second nature. Basically, I have a set “starting point” for each lap, and when I cross that threshold, I’ll hold out a finger to remind me what lap I’m on, which can be done either with the hand holding the book, or the free hand.

      So, one finger could represent lap 1, 11, 21, 31, etc., five fingers represents 5, 15, 25, etc., and a closed fist represents 10, 20, 30, etc. In my experience, it is easy to remember which multiple of ten I am on (I don’t forget if I am on lap 26 or 36), but the individual lap can be hard to keep track of, which is why I use my fingers. Again, it is second nature to me now.

      I don’t do all my walking at once, though: usually happens in 2-3 chunks throughout the day. Because of this, sometimes I will write down on the dry erase board in my office how many laps I walk at a time, and then tally them up at the end of the day.

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