How Far a Healthy Person Can Walk With No Training

Woman walking
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You may look at an upcoming 10K, half marathon, or marathon and wonder if you could just jump in and complete it without any training. Perhaps a friend or family member is urging you to join them even though you don't regularly walk for fitness. Just how far can a healthy person walk with no training?

You could probably walk 5 to 7 miles if you are a healthy person without diabetes, heart disease, or orthopedic problems. That is approximately 9 to 11 kilometers or a walk of about two hours at a steady pace.

This figure comes from the of experience of walking clubs who host 10K (6.2-mile) volkssport walking events. Countless untrained walkers come and enjoy a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) volkssport walking events. Often, they are friends and family members of walkers who enjoy them regularly and are enticed to join in. These people survive with no ill effects, except for some who develop blisters.

Training to Walk for One to Two Hours

Walking for six miles in two hours is farther than recommended for beginner walkers who are starting to walk for exercise. It is better to start with a shorter walk and build up your time gradually.

  • How to Survive a Once-A-Year Charity Walk: If you never walk for exercise but you got roped into signing up for a charity walk, this will help guide you through it. You can do a little hurry-up training to prepare.
  • Training Schedule for a 10K Walk: This is a popular fun run distance and the standard volkssport walk distance. After a few weeks, you can build up to enjoy this distance at a good pace.
  • Training Schedule for a 5K Walk: This is a popular distance for charity walks and it takes only about an hour to walk 5K (3.1 miles). By training, you can ensure you have enough stamina so you enjoy the walk.

Beginner's Walking Schedule

It is wise to start with a 15-minute or 30-minute walk each day and build up from there. A beginner's walking schedule would add five to 10 minutes to the walking session time per week. If you have no strain at all when you walk for 30 minutes, you can increase your longest walk of the week to an hour. From there, you can continue to build up your walking time by adding 15-30 minutes more to the longest walking session each week.

How Far Is Too Far to Walk Without Training?

Most people whose feet are not prepared by being toughened up on previous walks will have blisters by 10 or 12 miles. If you are going to walk more than 6 miles, you should steadily increase the longest mileage by 1 mile per week or 2 miles every two weeks. The general rule of thumb for exercise is to increase your distance or exertion by 10 percent per week. That will lessen your risk of getting an injury.

An untrained person should not enter a half-marathon or marathon unless they begin to train seriously three months in advance for a half-marathon and nine months ahead for a marathon.

Training for a marathon or half-marathon includes first developing a fitness base by regularly walking and exercising. Then you add a long distance workout once per week and increase that distance by 1 mile per week or 2 miles every two weeks. You will need to pay attention to energy snacks and hydration on your long workouts.

Cautions for People With Diabetes

People with diabetes need to use caution and discuss their exercise plans with their healthcare provider. This is true both for blood sugar level concerns and for foot care. Blisters must be avoided through the use of lubricants, pads, and sweat-wicking socks. The good news is that walking is recommended for exercise with diabetes and is part of healthy living with the condition.

A Word From Verywell

Humans were built for walking, and if you are healthy and a moderately active person, you don't have to be afraid of walking for an hour or two once in a while. But if you're invited to join in an event, it's a good idea to know how far you're being asked to walk and how long it's likely to take at your usual pace. Then you can prepare and do some training beforehand.

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  1. Neporent L. Fitness Walking For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons; 2011.