Distance Walking Workout for Endurance

Distance Walking
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Nothing beats going for a long, long walk. This distance walking workout will take you 75 minutes or more to complete. It's done at a moderate pace and moderate level of exertion so you can keep going, and going, and going.


This distance walking workout builds endurance and burns off calories. It trains you mentally as well as physically for walking longer. If you are training for a longer distance event, you should build up your mileage steadily with a long distance workout once per week. If you are training for a 5K or 10K competitive walk, you should exceed the event distance by a mile or two in your distance workout. If you are walking a full or half marathon, there is no need to walk the full distance in training as it carries more risks than benefits.

When to Do the Distance Walking Workout

You should do a distance walking workout once per week for fitness or when training for a long distance walk. If you are training for a multi-day walk should perform two distance days back-to-back each week. If you are training for an event such as a half marathon or marathon, you may want to do this workout at the same time of day you will be walking. That way your training will be even more specific.

How to Do the Distance Walking Workout

  • Start at an easy pace for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Optionally, stop and do a stretching and flexibility routine for 5 minutes.
  • Resume your walk at a pace that brings your heart rate up to 65 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR). The perceived exertion level ranges between being able to speak in sentences to being able to speak only in short phrases. This should be a comfortable pace.
  • Walk for 5 to 10 miles. You may walk longer if you have built up your endurance and are training for a half-marathon or marathon.
  • Pay attention to your walking posture and technique. You may want to cue yourself to check it every half hour. It is easy to let your posture and form slip over the course of a longer walk.
  • Some walkers like to do some stretching and flexibility exercises when they stop to use the restroom or take a drink. This can help relieve some of the tension, but keep it gentle.
  • Walk at an easy pace for 5 minutes to cool down.
  • Optionally, end with 5 minutes of gentle stretching and flexibility exercises.

Hydration, Snacks, and Gear for the Distance Walk

Once you are walking for more than an hour, you need to plan for ensuring you won't get dehydrated and you may need a snack to keep your energy high.

  • Water and Sports Drink: Make sure you are able to drink a cup of water and/or sports drink whenever you feel thirsty. You may need to carry water with you. It's appropriate to switch to sports drink once you are walking for more than two hours, especially if you are sweating.
  • Walking Snacks: Once you are walking for more than an hour, you may need a walking snack. Choose ones that are easy to take along and easy to chew and swallow while you are walking. Energy bars, energy gels, trail mix, and fruit are the handiest to bring along.
  • What to Wear: On a long walk, you'll want to wear athletic clothing. The weather may be very different at the end of your walk than at the beginning, so you will want to dress in layers and be prepared for rain and other elements. You may need to wear a light pack to stow your layers and carry your water and snacks.
  • Shoes: You should wear athletic walking shoes, running shoes, or lightweight trail shoes. Your shoes will need more structure and cushion for longer walks to reduce foot fatigue, but they should still be flexible. As your feet swell while walking, you may need to wear shoes that are a half size bigger than usual to accommodate this.
  • Blister and Chafing Prevention: If you've never had a blister, you may be surprised when they spring up as your long mileage increases. Blisters are more likely as your feet will be sweating and rubbing against your shoes for much longer. You will want to see which kind of blister preparation works for you. Start with wearing sweat-wicking socks to keep your feet dry longer. Then think about using lubricants to reduce friction. You may also need those to prevent painful chafing.

By Wendy Bumgardner
Wendy Bumgardner is a freelance writer covering walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in more than 1,000 walking events.