How Long Does It Take To Walk A 5k? + Tips To Improve Your 5k Time

Some people think walking is pretty easy, but walking a 5k is actually a fantastic workout.

There are many 5k walks to benefit different charities, or you can walk a 5k by participating in a local road race or Parkrun as a walker

Many people also just like to walk 5k every day to lose weight or improve their health. But how long does it take to walk a 5k? Can you walk a 5k in less than an hour?

In this article, we will discuss how long it takes to walk a 5k for most average walkers, factors that affect your walking speed, and tips to walk faster so that you can walk a 5k in less time.

We will cover: 

  • How Far Is a 5k Walk?
  • How Long Does It Take to Walk a 5k?
  • 9 Factors that Affect How Long It Takes to Walk a 5k
  • How Long Does It Take to Walk a 5k at Different Walking Speeds?
  • 6 Tips for How to Walk a 5k Faster

Let’s get started!

Two people walking through a park.

How Far Is a 5k Walk?

If you are a beginner walker preparing for your first 5k walk, you might not be sure how long a 5k is. The “k” stands for kilometers, so a 5k is 5 kilometers or 5,000 meters.

This works out to just over 3.1 miles.

If you’re going to walk a 5k on a standard 400-meter running track, it will take 12.5 laps to cover the 5k distance. 

Lastly, although the lengths of a block in a city can vary from city to city and block to block somewhat, a mile is roughly 18-20 city blocks, so a 5k is about 60 blocks.

How Long Does It Take to Walk a 5k?

If you’re going to do a 5k charity walk or otherwise want to build up your walking endurance and start doing longer walking workouts, you might wonder how long it takes to walk a 5k.

As with running, how long it takes to walk a 5k depends entirely on how fast you are walking.

The majority of walkers can walk a 5k in 45-60 minutes, depending on how vigorously they are walking. 

A group of people walking in a park.

Let’s look more closely at average walking speeds.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average walking speed for adults is between 2.5-4 miles per hour.

How long does it take to walk a 5k at these walking speeds?

At a pace of 2.5 miles per hour, it would take almost 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to walk a 5k. For most people, this is an easy, conversational walking speed.

If you are walking at a brisk speed of 4.0 miles per hour, it would take 46.5 minutes to walk 5k.

One study of 997 middle-aged walkers (aged 45 years old) found that the average walking speeds were 1.30 m/s for usual walking gait and 1.99 m/s for maximum gait.

If we calculate the time to walk a 5k at these speeds, the average “usual” walking speed works out to walk a 5k in 64.1 minutes (64 minutes and 6 seconds), while walking a 5k at the average maximum walking speed would take a mere 41.9 minutes (41 minutes and 53 seconds).

Therefore, this data suggests that the average middle-aged walker can walk 5k between 42 and 64 minutes.

Because age and sex can affect walking speed, another study looked more closely at the average walking speed based on age and sex, dividing walkers into 10-year age groups.

A close-up pf a person's sneakers taking a step.

According to the data, the researchers reported the following average walking speeds:

AgeAverage Walking Speed for Women (mph)Average Walking Speed for Men (mph)
20-293.03.4
30-393.03.2
40-493.113.2
50-592.933.2
60-692.773.0
70-792.532.82
80-892.12.17

Based on these walking speeds, we can calculate approximately how long it takes to walk 5k based on age and sex, as shown below. Note that projected 5k walking times are rounded to the nearest whole or half minute.

AgeHow Long Does It Take to Walk a 5k for Women? (minutes)How Long Does It Take to Walk a 5k for Men? (minutes )
20-296255
30-396258
40-496058
50-5963.558
60-696762
70-7973.566
80-8988.586
A person hiking on a trail.

How Long Does It Take to Walk a 5k at Different Walking Speeds?

We’ve looked at how long it takes to walk a 5k at average walking speeds, but some walkers prefer a more clear walking pace chart.

Below, you can find out how long it takes to walk a 5k at different walking paces.

Walking Speed (mph)Walking Pace (min/mile)How Long Does It Take to Walk 5k? (hours: min: sec)
320:001:02:00
3.119:211:00:00
3.218:450:58:08
3.318:100:56:22
3.417:380:54:42
3.517:080:53:09
3.616:400:51:40
3.716:120:50:16
3.815:470:48:57
3.915:230:47:42
415:000:46:30
4.114:380:45:22
4.214:170:44:17
4.313:570:43:15
4.413:380:42:16
4.513:200:41:20
4.613:020:40:26
4.712:450:39:34
4.812:300:38:45
4.912:140:37:58
512:000:37:12

9 Factors that Affect How Long It Takes to Walk a 5k

Most people have an average comfortable walking speed and an average maximum or brisk walking speed, although some day-to-day variability will exist for any individual.

There are several different factors that can impact your walking speed, which will thus impact how long it takes to walk a 5k

The primary factors that determine how fast you walk a 5k include:

#1: Age

In general, healthy young adults usually walk the fastest but walking speed decreases around middle age with each additional decade of life.

Therefore, it might take you longer to walk a 5k as you age.

Two people smiling and power walking.

#2: Sex

The mean walking speed for men is usually slightly faster than it is for women, probably because of the difference in average leg length, muscle mass, and aerobic capacity

#3: Fitness Level

One of the primary factors that affect your walking speed is your fitness level. The better your cardiovascular fitness, the faster you can walk a 5k without fatiguing.

#4: Body Weight and Composition

Walkers who are overweight or obese have more mass to move, so it takes more energy to walk a 5k.

It’s important to note that just because you have a larger build doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll walk a 5k slower than a slimmer individual. There are plenty of walkers with larger bodies who are quite fit and walk very fast!

A person walking on rugged terrain.

#5: Effort Level

All workers can adjust their walking speed to some degree.

When asking, “How long does it take to walk a 5k?” it’s important to consider whether you’re wondering what’s the shortest amount of time it takes to walk a 5k if you’re walking as fast as you can or whether you want to know how long does it usually take to walk a 5k if you’re walking at a normal speed.

Depending on how hard you’re pushing yourself, you might have almost a full mile-per-hour difference between your comfortable walking speed and your maximum walking speed. 

For example, most people have a comfortable walking speed of around 3.0 miles per hour but may be able to maintain a very brisk 4.2 miles per hour for a 5k if they’re trying to racewalk the distance.

Extrapolating out these paces for walking a 5k will result in a significant difference of about 18 minutes (62 minutes for 3.0 mph versus 44 minutes for 4.2 mph).

People walking on a trail.

#6: Terrain

The terrain of the course can affect how fast you walk a 5k. 

Walking uphill is more difficult than walking on flat terrain.

Moreover, if you’re hiking on rugged trails or walking a Parkrun course with lots of boggy grass or sand, it will take longer to walk a 5k than if you’re walking on a road, track, or treadmill because you have to watch your footing and navigate obstacles.

Walking through snow or on ice will also reduce your speed.

#7: Environmental Conditions

Extreme weather conditions can make you walk slower.

For example, if it is pouring rain, freezing cold and sleeting, or swelteringly hot and muggy, you will probably find it difficult to walk as fast as you might on a clear, dry, mild day.

People walking of a bridge in the cold.

#8: Physical Limitations

Individuals who need to walk with auxiliary aids like crutches, canes, or walkers or who have other physical limitations like an ataxic gait or blindness usually walk slower than healthy peers.

#9: External Load

Walking while carrying a heavy pack, pushing a stroller, or carrying some kind of load is usually slower because it takes more effort to walk with resistance, and you may need to walk more cautiously to balance the load.

6 Tips for How to Walk a 5k Faster

No matter how fast you walk your first 5k, it should be possible to increase your walking speed so that you can walk 5k even faster.

Here are some tips to improve your 5k walk time:

#1: Walk Consistently

The best way to walk faster and improve your 5k time is to train consistently.

Walking 30-60 minutes at least 3-4 days a week—but preferably 4-6—helps your body adapt to your workouts so that your heart, lungs, and legs get stronger.

This, in turn, will enable you to maintain a faster pace when you walk a 5k without feeling as tired.

Two people smiling, walking and talking about how long it takes to walk a 5k.

#2: Add Intervals

One of the best ways to walk a 5k faster is to walk faster in your workouts by incorporating higher-intensity bursts of walking.

You can add brisk walking intervals or even periods of jogging, and you can use the incline on a treadmill or walk uphill to boost your cardiovascular fitness and leg strength.

#3: Walk Longer

Doing one or two longer walks per week—beyond the 5k distance—will increase your cardiovascular and muscular endurance.

Building stamina makes it easier to handle walking 5k faster and more regularly without it being particularly tiring.

#4: Use Your Arms

Swinging your arms straight back and forth along your sides can increase your forward momentum when you walk and propel you forward.

Although it technically takes more energy to “power walk” and pump your arms, the payoff in terms of increased speed and power actually improves your overall walking economy.

Your arms drive your legs, so a vigorous pumping motion will help you increase your cadence or step rate.

A person walking.

#5: Lengthen Your Stride

A longer walking step helps you cover more ground efficiently.

#6: Find Your “Why”

Feeling motivated and walking with a purpose can inspire you to stay focused and walk faster.

You might also try listening to upbeat music to help you keep a fast cadence (step rate) or using a heart rate monitor to keep you aware of how vigorous you are walking.

If you are looking for some songs to pump up your cadence, take a look at our article: High BPM Songs To Power Your Running Or Workout for some inspiration!

Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, and contributes to several fitness, health, and running websites and publications. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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