Can YOU Walk a Marathon? Can you WALK a Marathon?

marathon podcast walking Jul 23, 2019

Can YOU walk a marathon? Can you WALK a marathon? I recently recorded a podcast that was inspired by a dinner conversation. A friend asked me if I thought it was possible to walk a marathon. I hesitated slightly--but only because I was trying to do the math in my head--before I said, "YES! Yes, you can walk a marathon!" The only reason I hesitated is because most races have a course cut-off time, a time that all runners need to be off the course. The only obstacle I saw is that she would need to find a race that offered enough time to complete the race at the pace she would be walking. If a person is willing to travel to find this race, then yes, walking a marathon is entirely possible!

If you walked an average of a 20 minute pace, the race would take just under nine hours to finish. However, I know that with training and time, anyone who put in consistent effort would increase their walking pace. And if they could get closer to a 17 minute mile walking pace, there are a lot more options. And, wouldn't it be fun to travel to an amazing destination with a group of friends?!

In that episode, I shared a lot of ideas for how you'd start training for such a race. I'm listing out some of the guidelines from the podcast, for those of you who are like me and might prefer seeing it in black and white. This is just a starting point. I'll share more details in a future episode and blog post.

  1. Start by breaking the distance into smaller goals, such as a 5K, then a 10K, then a half.

  2. Next, choose your goal race. This will help keep you motivated and moving forward. (You can Google "5K races near me" or search on a website such as Running in the USA or talk to the people at your local running store.)
  3. Walk at least three days a week. Your starting point will be wherever you are comfortable walking right now. If you haven’t been walking at all, you might be happy today with a 5 minute walk. If you already walk the dog for a mile each day, and it takes you 30 minutes, you can use 30 minutes as your starting point. If you walk a 20 minute mile, your 5K will take you just over an hour to walk, so we will work up to walking for 60 minutes at a time. Again, if you’re beyond these times, adjust to make it challenging for YOU. We want the amount of walking to be challenging, but something that is still motivating. If you set the bar too high, you’ll dread that walk each day.

  4. Add a rest day or cross training day between each walking day. And choose one day per week to be your rest day. 
  5. For the first month, you will only WALK on the three days a week that you walk.

  6. In the second month, you’ll add in one day where you walk hills or where you explore a new trail or you hike.

  7. After 10 weeks, you’ll add in one day where you add bursts of speed.  As an example, you could set a timer and walk faster for 2 minutes, and go back to the normal pace for 2 minutes, alternating that for 30 minutes.

  8. Each week, you’ll add just a little to the time you spend walking. If you start with a 15 minute walk, the next week, you could shoot for 20 minutes each time you go out. Once you build up to 30 minutes of walking, you walk two days a week for 30 minutes, and then choose one day that will be your “long walk day” and keep adding 5 minutes to that each week.  
  9. Once you’ve been at it a while, you can start to do some goal setting and record keeping—you’ll know how long it takes you to walk a mile, and on speed days, you can push yourself to try to beat that time. Remember that by staying consistent and working to get better day by day and week by week, you will get stronger and build endurance, and you’ll be on your way to walking a 5K or that marathon in no time!

If you are interested in learning to walk a marathon, or you just want to see what you are capable of, check out my online group training options.


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