Marathon Walking Training - Base Mileage

You Will Need to Build Up Walking Time Before Dedicated Distance Training

Training for the Marathon
Training for the Marathon. QXQ Images Datacraft/imagenavi/Getty

Your marathon training timetable will vary by how much base mileage you have already built. If you haven't been doing any walking for fitness, you will need to take the time to build this base mileage.

The 10% Rule for Marathon Distance Training

To prevent injury, the recommendation is to increase your total mileage each week, as well as the distance of your longest walk of the week, by no more than 10% each week.

If you presently do no walking at all, begin with: Absolute Beginner Walking Tutorial
This tutorial will progress you from being a non-walker to walking comfortably for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

The Commitment for Training for a Marathon

You are committing to months of training, with a significant time spent each week on walking. As a walker, you will be doing the same mileage as runners, but it will take you longer. That means walkers have an even bigger commitment for training. Here are the basic requirements and abilities for marathon walk training:

  • Able to walk for an hour at a time at a moderate pace.
  • Able to set aside time to walk every other day for at least an hour.
  • Able to set aside time to walk one longer distance walk each week, from 2 hours to 4 hours.

Base Mileage Building Schedule


4 miles

Off3 milesOff3 milesOff3 miles13 miles
25 milesOff3 milesOff3 milesOff3 miles14 miles
36 milesOff3 milesOff3 milesOff3 miles15 miles
47 milesOff3 milesOff3 milesOff4 miles17 miles
57 milesOff3 milesOff4 milesOff4 miles18 miles
67 milesOff4 milesOff4 milesOff4 miles19 miles
78 milesOff4 milesOff4 milesOff4 miles20 miles

Base Mileage Buildup

You may switch around these days, for example, your longer day could be Saturday, switching Saturday to Sunday or Monday. Or your longer day could be one of the week days. The goal is to build your total mileage safely.

The days off between walking days allow your body to rest up and build muscle.

You could safely walk for a half hour to an hour on those days as you progress, but lay off a day if you are feeling overly tired or sore.

Work on building distance rather than building speed to start. As you progress, you may find yourself speeding up, that is OK. But do not build speed until you can handle the distance comfortably.

If you find that one week is too hard, don't progress. Go back to a previous week's distance or repeat that week until it is comfortable. This is a marathon, not a sprint!

Progressing for Half Marathon or Marathon

Once you have mastered the base mileage, now you can progress with your half marathon or marathon training.

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