Training To Walk A Marathon

It use to be that people thought "walking" was only for older, overweight and out-of-shape people who couldn't do anything else! No More! Walking has already passed swimming as the number one exercise preferred by adults and as the baby boom generation (of which I am one) continues to age, walking's popularity will continue to grow.

We have created these sample training schedules as a guide to help you formulate an appropriate training schedule. Please remember that this is just a general guide. You are unique, and the training schedule may not fit into your personal schedules. If you do miss a day, we do not recommend that you try to make up the mileage the next day. Instead, focus on the overall weekly mileage and consistency in training.

Training Level Definitions

The following charts are broken down into three categories: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. The descriptions below will give you an idea of where you may fit into the training schedules.

An inactive person who has been doing little or no exercise at all; someone who has been walking sporadically; someone who has been walking 3 miles or less no more than 3 times per week.
Beginner Training Schedule:

A person who participates in aerobic activities on a regular basis (3-5 days per week); someone who regularly walks 4-5 miles, or up to one hour, about 3-4 days per week.
Intermediate Training Schedule:

A person who walks more than 5 miles at a time or one or more hours almost every day; has done some distance walking in the past; and has participated in numerous competitive events. Advanced Training Schedule:

Workout Descriptions

We have broken down the descriptions into Easy, Medium, and Long, so you can gage the pace and determine the difficulty of your individual workout.

Even though you may have the goal just to finish the marathon, it is still a good idea to set a goal for your approximate finish time. This will help you judge the pace to walk your training sessions. Another idea to help you get started is to know where you are at now. Measure a one mile walking route. Then time your self walking that route at a comfortable pace for you. That will give you an idea of your per mile pace. Check yourself once a month to see how you have progressed.

Easy Days - Do a slow to moderate (comfortable) paced walk. Use this as an "active" rest day. This is a great time to practice technique and form.

Medium Days- A medium distance walk should be at the same approximate speed as you will use during the marathon. For instance, if your goal is to finish in approximately 6 1/2 hours, that's a marathon pace of about 15 minute miles. Hence, during your training, on the "medium" days you should walk the mileage indicated at the 15 minute mile pace. (For those who are really interested in speed, they can supplement their "medium" days by doing some intermittent interval training).

Long Days - Walk the longer distances at a comfortable pace. Time should not be a concern.

Cross Training Days - Cross training is a great way to avoid physical and mental burnout. We recommend swimming, biking, or low-impact aerobic classes. They are very easy on the joints and work muscles differently so you will have a more balanced conditioning.

Walking Marathon Training Schedules for
Beginners | Intermediate | Advanced

Please read the important notice below.
Important Notice

Exercise is only one part of being healthy, seeing your doctor is another!If, at any time during a training session (whether it is a group session, individual personal training session, or self-training session), you suffer any mishap or injury, we urge you to stop your activity immediately and seek professional medical attention. The information contained on this site is intended to give information about personal health and fitness, not to act as a medical manual or guide to self-treatment. Keep in mind that exercise, health and nutritional needs vary from person to person, depending on age, gender, family medical history, current health status, and other individual factors. Before engaging in these, or any other exercise or recreational activities, we urge all individuals to consult a physician. He or she is most-qualified to advise each about their specific health status and needs.

Author's Bio: 

Jo Ann Taylor is a co-founder of The Walking Connection. She has more than 20 years of experience of training people to fitness walk and train for walking marathons. She is also the Tour Director for The Walking Connection and leads Walking Tours and Adventures to more than 30 countries around the world.

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