How to Know How Fast You Are Walking

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

Do you want to know how fast you are walking? You may need to know your walking speed in order to fill out a walking race entry form. Sometimes, you just want to know how long it's going to take you to walk from one point to another. Or, you may need to know it to use with a walking calorie calculator

While runners usually know their pace in 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 to 6 miles per hour or even faster. That is 8 to 10 kilometers per hour.

    Pace vs. Speed

    Pace is measured in minutes per mile or minutes per kilometer. It is time/distance while speed is distance/time. Common walking paces are:

    • Easy Walk: 20:00 minutes per mile 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.

    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.

    You can use the track calculator from the North American Racewalking Foundation to measure distance on variously sized tracks, lanes other than lane 1, and more.

    Walking Speed Apps

    If your mobile phone is GPS-enabled, you can use a walking/running speedometer app to show your walking speed outdoors These include Walkmeter and MapMyWalk. Any GPS-based speed measurement has limitations, the biggest being that you need to use it outdoors and it won't work on the treadmill. It is accessing several satellites, so if you are in an area with a lot of tall buildings or walking in a gully or next to an embankment, GPS can be less accurate. Looking at a 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 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, they have the same GPS limitations as cell phone apps. There are still some 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.

    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.

    Predicting Race Speed and Finish Time

    If you are entering a walking event and are unsure about how fast you might walk various distances, the Runners World Race Prediction Calculator can help. Enter your actual times for various distances to 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 good walking form, posture, and arm motion, many walkers can significantly increase their speed.

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