How to Know How Fast You Are Walking

Woman checking a fitness watch

Verywell / Ryan Kelly

Do you want to know how fast you are walking? You might need to know your walking speed when you're filling out a walking race entry form. You might also need this information when using a walking calorie calculator. Sometimes you just want to know how long it's going to take you to walk from one point to another.

Runners usually know their pace in minutes per mile, but walkers are less likely to have measured how fast they're walking. If you just want a number to put into a calculator, general rules of thumb should suffice, as the calories burned per mile only vary slightly at different walking speeds. However, if you need a number for a race entry, then you will want an actual measurement.

Pace vs. Speed

Your pace is measured in minutes per mile or minutes per kilometer. Pace is defined as time/distance. Speed is distance/time. Common walking paces are:

  • Easy walk: 20:00 minutes per mile (3 mph) or 12:25 minutes per kilometer or slower
  • Moderate to brisk walk: 15:00 to 20:00 minutes per mile or 9:19 to 12:25 minutes per kilometer
  • Fast walk: 15:00 minutes per mile or 9:19 minutes per kilometer or faster

Rules of Thumb for Walking Speed

  • Daily steps: If you are just tracking your daily steps with a pedometer as you go about your job or putter around the house, you can use 2 miles per hour (30 minutes per mile) or 2.5 miles per hour (24 minutes per mile). That is 3.2 kilometers per hour to 4 kilometers per hour.
  • Easy health walk: If you take an easy walk around the neighborhood or park, able to keep up a full conversation, use 3 miles per hour or 5 kilometers per hour as a rule of thumb.
  • Moderate to brisk walk: If you are walking at a determined to swift pace and breathing noticeably, use 4 miles per hour or 6.5 kilometers per hour.
  • Fast walking: Fast walkers usually know their speed or have measured it. With a little basic technique and practice many can walk 5 mph, and race walkers can go 6 mph and faster.

Measure Your Walking Speed on a Track

Most outdoor running tracks, such as the one around your local high school football field, are 1/4 mile or 400 meters around the inside lane. Start from a set position on the inside lane, note your time, and circle four times to get your minutes per mile.

You can use a pace calculator to convert your time and distance into speed and pace. You may also need to convert miles and kilometers.

Walking Speed Apps

If your mobile phone is GPS-enabled, you can use a walking/running speedometer app to show your walking speed outdoor, such as Walkmeter and MapMyWalk. Any GPS-based speed measurement has limitations, the biggest one being that you need to use it outdoors (it won't work on the treadmill). The app needs to be able to access several satellites for the GPS features to work.

GPS trackers can be less accurate if you are in an area with a lot of tall buildings, or when you're walking in a gully or next to an embankment.

When you're looking at the map plot, it may look like you were teleporting from place to place. Take multiple readings on different routes to get better accuracy.

Apps often show your current pace in minutes per mile and your average pace for the workout. They may also show your speed in miles per hour or kilometers per hour.

Gadgets to Measure Your Walking Speed

Walking/running speedometers include watch-like devices, fitness bands, and smartwatches that use GPS to show your speed. However, these methods have the same GPS limitations as mobile apps.

You'll still find gadgets available that use a shoe sensor accelerometer and can be used indoors as well. Some non-GPS pedometers estimate speed and distance based on your step cadence, but they must be accurately calibrated.

We've tried, tested, and reviewed the best fitness trackers. If you're in the market for an activity tracker, explore which option may be best for you.

How to Measure Your Speed With an Online Mapping Tool

You can measure your walking speed by using a watch and any convenient route and an online walk mapping tool. Tools such as MapMyWalk or WalkJogRun let you input an address or zoom in and out on a map to find your location. You can then click around to draw the route on the map. It then calculates an accurate distance.

If you input your time and weight, these tools can tell you your speed, pace, and calories burned.

Predicting Race Speed and Finish Time

If you are entering a walking event and are not sure how fast you might walk various distances, the Runners World Race-Time Predictor calculator might help. You enter your actual times for various distances and the tool will predict your time for any other distance.

A Word From Verywell

Once you start measuring your walking speed, you're likely to want to know how to walk faster. By using proper walking form, posture, and arm motion, many walkers can significantly increase their speed.

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Chryssanthopoulos C, Ziaras C, Zacharogiannis E, et al. Variability of performance during a 60-min running race. J Sports Sci. 2015;33(19):2051-2060. doi:10.1080/02640414.2015.1026379

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.