How Do I Know How Fast I am Walking?

Powerful Walking Stride
Powerful Walking Stride. Terry Doyle/The Image Bank/Getty

Question: How Do I Know How Fast I am Walking?

How do I know how fast I walk? I need to know my walking speed in order to use your walking calorie calculators or to put on a walking race entry form.

Answer: While runners usually know their minutes per mile, walkers are less likely to ever have measured their walking speed. A rule of thumb is usually sufficient if you just want a number to put into a calculator, as the calories burned per mile vary little at different walking speeds.

But if you need a number for a race entry, then you will want to do an actual measurement.

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 or 2.5 miles per hour. 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. Racewalkers can walk 5-6 miles per hour or even faster. That is 8-10 kilometers per hour.

How to Measure Your Speed with an Online Mapping Tool

You can measure your walking speed by using a watch and any convenient route using 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. Then click to draw the route on the map to find out an accurate distance. Input your time and weight and the tool can tell you your speed, pace, and calories burned.

Measure Your Speed at 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.
Pace Calculator
Convert Miles and Kilometers
Track Calculator: This calculator from the North American Racewalking Foundation allows you to measure distance on variously sized tracks, lanes other than lane 1, and more.

Gadgets to Measure Your Walking Speed

You can measure your walking speed with fancy speedometers. Some use GPS for accurate tracking without any calibration, but work only outdoors. Others, such as the Nike+iPod Sport Kit use a shoe sensor accelerometer and can be used indoors as well. Some pedometers estimate speed as well as distance, but must be accurately calibrated.
Walking Speedometers

Walking Speed Apps

If your mobile phone is GPS-enabled, you can use a walking/running speedometer app to show your walking speed. These include Walkmeter, AllSportGPS, and iMapMyWalk. But the accuracy of these apps can be limited by your mobile phone's GPS capabilities. If it loses the signal due to the terrain or being blocked by tall buildings, you may get spotty or erroneous readings. Take multiple readings on different routes to get better accuracy.

Predicting Race Speed and Finish Time

If you are entering a walking event and are unsure about how fast you might walk various distances, this calculator can help you predict your race speed and time.

Runners World Race Prediction Calculator: Enter your actual times for various distances to predict your time for any other distance.

Next: How to Walk Faster

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