Although even just recreational walking is a great workout for your health, many walkers find that they enjoy the challenge and structure of training for walking a 5k event or just taking a structured approach to build up to a 5k walk on their own.
But, how many miles in a 5k walk? How long does it take to walk a 5k? How many steps is a 5k on average? Furthermore, what is the average 5k walking time?
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about walking a 5k, from the basics, such as how many miles and steps are in a 5k walk and the average 5k walking time, to how to train to walk a 5k.
We will cover the following:
- How Far Is a 5k Walk?
- How Many Steps Is a 5k?
- How Long Does It Take to Walk a 5k?
- How to Train for a 5k Walk
Let’s jump in!
How Far Is a 5k Walk?
Before you sign up to walk a 5k, it’s important that you understand how far a 5k walk is. This will help set your expectations, goals, and the necessary 5k walking training plan.
So, how many miles in a 5k walk? How many steps is a 5k?
The “k” component of the 5k distance stands for the metric distance of one kilometer, so a 5k is five kilometers or 5000 meters.
For walkers in the United States who are more accustomed to miles, this converts to slightly longer than 3.1 miles.
If you are doing your 5k walking training on a track, a 5k is exactly 12.5 laps of an outdoor track because each lap of a standard track is 400 meters.
If you are walking a 5k on an indoor track, you will need to walk 25 laps because most indoor tracks are only 200 meters long.
If you live in the city and prefer to do your 5k walk training outdoors, you might ask, “How many blocks do I need to walk for a 5k?”
This answer to this question is slightly less straightforward than the number of laps on a track because the distance of a city block can vary depending on the city and the area within the city.
That said, a typical city block is about 1/20 of a mile, so if you are walking a 5k, you will need to walk about 62 blocks.
How Many Steps Is a 5k?
Due to the increasing popularity of pedometers and fitness watches, as well as common daily step count goals for health (such as walking 10,000 steps per day), many people ask, “How many steps is a 5k walk?”
Answering this question is a little trickier because there are numerous factors that affect your own individual step length or stride length, such as your height, age, sex, fitness level, and even the terrain you are walking on.
According to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, the average person takes 2000 steps per mile, which means that a 5k is about 6,200 steps.
How Long Does It Take to Walk a 5k?
It helps to know the average 5k walking time so that you can set your expectations for not only a 5k walking event but also the workouts you will have on your walking a 5k training plan.
As with running, how long it takes to walk a 5k depends on numerous factors such as your age, fitness level, body size and composition, effort level, and the terrain you are walking on (inclines and trails will result in slower 5k walk times than walking a 5k on a track, treadmill, or flat road).
It generally takes most people 45-70 minutes to walk a 5k.
One study looked more closely at the average walking speed based on age and sex. The average 5k walking times by age and sex are as follows:
|How Long Does It Take to Walk a 5k for Women? (minutes)
|How Long Does It Take to Walk a 5k for Men? (minutes )
How to Train for a 5k Walk
An important thing to keep in mind is that just like when you are training for a running race, you do not need to walk the full distance of the 5k walking race or 5k walking event in training every single day.
You will want to structure your walking workouts to have at least one distance walk per week where you are gradually building up to the 3.1-mile distance of the event or at least within striking distance.
In addition to your weekly long walk, you should have several shorter walks per week for base building.
These walks help build your endurance, improve your strength, and put more miles on your legs to prepare you for your walking event.
How far you need to walk per day for these aerobic walks will depend on the distance of the event you are training for.
If you are a beginner walker training for a 5k walk, you will likely walk at least 2 miles a day during the shorter walks and should build up to walking 3-4 miles a day if you have the time and interest.
Another factor to consider when deciding how far to walk in a day when you are training for walking a 5k is just the logistics of walking long distances. Even if you are walking at a brisk pace, walking more than 4 miles a day is going to take over an hour.
You may not have time in your schedule every day to walk for several hours, which will then place logistical limits on how many miles you can walk in a day.
Finally, depending on your goals for your 5k walking event, you might want to do some higher-intensity walking workouts with intervals of power walking and/or incline walking.
When you increase the intensity of your walks or simply do a brisk walk, it is more tiring and stressful for the body. This may mean that you will not walk as many miles per day for high-intensity walking workouts.
Keep in mind that while walking a 5k is an excellent goal for many people and certainly a veritable stopping point for your goal, you can also parlay your walking a 5k training to longer distance walks after you have finished your first (or fiftieth!) 5k walk.
Especially if you just want to transition from walking a 5k to walking a 10K, your 5k walking training plan will not have to change all that significantly aside from the distance of your weekly long walk.
For example, if you are training to walk a 10k, you may walk 3 to 4 miles per day outside of your long walk distance.
Though this is longer than the daily walk distance necessary when training to walk a 5k, experienced 5k walkers often walk this far every day when they are working towards walking a 5k for health and performance.
The longer the distance of the walking race or walking event you are training for, the shorter the relative percentage of these daily walking mileage goals.
Even though walking is a low-impact activity relative to running, walking still puts stress on your body, and you do not want to overdo it by walking too much every day.
For example, if you are training to walk a half marathon (13.1 miles), you want to have one endurance walk per week that builds up to 10 to 13 miles, but most of the other days, your daily walking mileage can be closer to 4 to 8 miles, depending on your fitness level, time available to walk, and the point in your training plan.
Most walking training plans build up in how many miles you walk per day as the plan progresses towards the event, so you may start with walking 3 miles a day, and then eventually, you will be walking 8 miles a day most days of the week.
This means that if you are already up to walking a 5k, you can build to walking a 10k or half marathon after you have completed your 5k walking event since you will already have a good aerobic base for distance walking built up.
If you are interested in training for a walking event, check out some of our walking guides and walking training plans that will give structure to your training and will tell you how many miles you need to walk each day.