If you tell a runner that you plan to walk a 10k, they may look at you somewhat puzzled and ask, “Why walk 10k when you can run?”
Walking is fantastic for the body and mind, and walking 10k is an impressive physical feat and a big milestone goal to motivate you during your walking workouts.
However, unless you’re very active and already do a lot of walking, hiking, or running, you’ll need to train for your 10k walk to build your fitness and strength to carry you through the distance.
In this 10k walking guide for beginners, we will provide tips and a full training plan to walk 10k.
We will look at:
- How Far Is a 10k Walk In Miles?
- How Long Does It Take to Walk a 10k?
- Can I Walk In a 10k Race?
- How Do You Train For a 10k Walk?
- Beginner’s 10k Walk Training Plan
- 10k Walking Tips for Beginners
Let’s get started!
How Far Is a 10k Walk In Miles?
The “k” component of the 10k distance stands for the metric distance of a kilometer, so a 10k is 10,000 meters. For walkers in the United States who are more accustomed to miles, this converts to 6.214 miles.
For simplicity, most people shorten the 6.214 miles to 6.2 miles when they discuss 10k, but the distance of any official 10k event will be the full 10 kilometers, or 6.214 miles.
One nice thing about organized 10k walks or 10k running races that you can enter as a walker is that these events will have signs (aptly called mile markers) along the course marking each mile of the route.
Therefore, even if you don’t want to walk with your phone and don’t have a fancy GPS running watch, you’ll still know how much is left.
How Long Does It Take to Walk a 10k?
Depending on how fast you are moving, walking a 10k takes most people around 90 minutes to 2 hours.
For example, if you walk each mile in 20 minutes, your 10k walking time will be roughly 2 hours and 5 minutes. This is a relatively leisurely walking pace, equivalent to 3.0 mph.
Many beginning walkers aim to maintain somewhere in the 3-4 mph walking pace.
If you walk 10k at a brisk walking pace of 3.5 miles per hour (about 17 minutes per mile), it will take 107 minutes (1 hour and 47 minutes) to finish the distance.
Maintaining an aggressive 4.0 mph (15 minutes per mile) will allow you to walk a 10k in a little over 90 minutes (approximately 93 minutes).
Can I Walk In a 10k Race?
Most 10k road races, trail races, or other running races do allow walkers to enter the race.
One of the best things about running as a sport is that the community is very accepting and diverse. We are all united by the common goal of finishing the race, and you can do that however you see fit—including walking the entire race.
In some 10k races, walkers will have a separate start time—usually before runners—so that all participants finish at roughly the same time. Other 10k events have the walkers start with the runners at the back of the pack or lineup of competitors.
How Do You Train For a 10k Walk?
It’s important to train for walking a 10k. Walking 6.2 miles can take upwards of 2 hours, so you need to build cardiovascular stamina and muscular strength and endurance in your legs and feet to condition your body to handle the entire distance without stopping.
We have created a 10k walking plan for beginners that progresses you from 20-minute walks to the full 10k in 10 weeks. The training plan has you walking 4 days per week, progressing in duration from 20 minutes (or roughly one mile) per day to 5-6 miles or so.
Most people should be able to complete the program as laid out, barring certain musculoskeletal injuries, but if you need to build up to 20 minutes, take some time to do that and then jump in.
If you’ve been walking regularly or doing another form of cardio (such as an elliptical or cycling), you’ll be able to train for a 10k walk more quickly since you will already have a good fitness base.
Depending on the time and energy you have to train, and your goal for the race, jump in on our beginner’s 10 walk training plan a few weeks in.
Beginner’s 10k Walk Training Plan
You should be able to walk one mile or 20 minutes before you begin. If you’re not ready to walk 20 minutes, just take a couple of weeks to prepare for the training plan by building up to a 20-minute walk.
During an easy walk, you should be able to carry on a full conversation with complete sentences.
During a brisk walk, you should be able to talk, but in choppy, somewhat breathless sentences.
On “Rest or easy walk days,” you can either take a complete break or walk for 5-30 minutes or so at a leisurely pace, depending on your fitness level and goals.
We want this to be a safe, sustainable program that builds confidence and consistency as much as it does fitness, endurance, and strength. If you have not been consistently active for some time, the rest days are important.
Though many new walkers get so excited about their training that they want to walk every day, rest days give your body time to rebuild, repair, and recover.
|20 minute easy walk||Rest or easy walk||20 minute easy walk||Rest or easy walk||1 mile walk (or 20 minutes)||Rest or easy walk||20 minute brisk walk|
|30 minute easy walk||Rest or easy walk||30 minute easy walk||Rest or easy walk||2 mile walk (or 40 minutes)||Rest or easy walk||30 minute brisk walk|
|40 minute easy walk||Rest or easy walk||30 minute walk (15 minutes easy walk, 15 minutes brisk walk)||Rest or easy walk||2 mile walk (or 40 minutes)||Rest or easy walk||30 minute brisk walk|
|45 minute easy walk||Rest or easy walk||40 minute walk (20 minutes easy walk, 20 minutes brisk walk)||Rest or easy walk||2.5 mile walk (or 50 minutes)||Rest or easy walk||45 minute brisk walk|
|50 minute easy walk||Rest or easy walk||45 minute walk (30 minutes easy walk, 15 minutes brisk walk)||Rest or easy walk||2.5 mile walk (or 50 minutes)||Rest or easy walk||50 minute brisk walk|
|60 minute easy walk||Rest or easy walk||50 minute easy walk, 30 minute brisk walk for 20 minutes total||Rest or easy walk||3 mile walk (or 60 minutes)||Rest or easy walk||55 minute brisk walk|
|75 minute easy walk||Rest or easy walk||60 minutes total: 30 minutes easy walk, 30 minutes brisk walk||Rest or easy walk||3.5 mile walk (or 75 minutes)||Rest or easy walk||60 minute brisk walk|
|90 minute easy walk||Rest or easy walk||75 minutes total: 40 minutes easy walk, 35 minutes brisk walk||Rest or easy walk||4 mile walk (or 80 minutes)||Rest or easy walk||75 minute brisk walk|
|1 hour and 45 minute easy walk||Rest or easy walk||80 minutes total: 40 minutes easy walk, 40 minutes brisk walk||Rest or easy walk||5 mile walk (or 100 minutes)||Rest or easy walk||90 minute brisk walk|
|2 hour easy walk||Rest or easy walk||90 minutes total: 45 minutes easy walk, 45 minutes brisk walk||Rest or easy walk||45 minute walk||15 minute easy walk||10k Walk!|
10k Walking Tips for Beginners
Walking a 10k is an impressive fitness milestone. Here are some tips for beginners walking your first 10k:
#1: Get the Right Gear
Breathable, athletic clothing will also help keep you comfortable.
#2: Hydrate Properly
Consider carrying a handheld water bottle for longer walks or investing in a fuel belt or hydration pack to hold water hands free. We love the Nathan VaporAiress Lite 4 Liter Hydration Vest.
#3: Fuel Your Body
Walking an hour or more per day requires a fair amount of energy. Be sure to eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet, with adequate protein for recovery, complex carbohydrates for sustained energy, and healthy fats.
#5: Make It Fun
Make your walks enjoyable by recruiting a friend or family member, listening to music or podcasts, enlisting your dog to be your walking companion, or finding some other way to keep your walks motivating and enjoyable.
#6: Don’t Experiment When It Counts
While it’s always fun to sport new gear, make sure you don’t debut new walking shoes or clothing on the day of your 10k walk.
The same applies for diet and hydration. Stick with foods you know digest easily for you and keep you satisfied.
#7: Pace Yourself
Walking 10k is an exercise in patience. It can take about 2 hours to walk 10k, so resist the urge to power walk at your max pace from the starting line unless you know you can maintain that pace for the entire 6.2 miles.
Walk a steady, manageable pace at the beginning. You can always shift to a brisk walk halfway through if you feel strong.
If you decide that after your 10k walk, you want to give a crack at running, check out our Couch to 5k Training plans for your next big goal!