Walking A Half Marathon: How To + Training Guide

So, you want to walk a half marathon? That’s a great goal! Walking a half marathon is a wonderful way to jumpstart your fitness, prepare your body for running (if that’s your goal), and feel accomplished. 

While walking is less impactful on the body than running, it still requires training. Walking 13.1 miles or 21 kilometers is a long way. If you jump into walking a half marathon with little to no training you risk injury, blistered feet, and hours of unpleasantness. 

So, let’s not do that! In this guide, we are going to supply a complete training guide for walking a half marathon, including:

  • How long does it take to walk a half marathon?
  • Considerations for training to walk a half marathon and 
  • A complete training guide for walking a half marathon. 

Let’s get to it!

Three people walking a half marathon.

Is it okay to walk a half marathon?

Half marathons aren’t just for runners! They are also for walkers! Walking a half marathon is a wonderful fitness goal that can lead to personal satisfaction and set you on your way to more challenging fitness goals. 

Lots of people also choose to walk half marathons to raise money for a charity. In this case, you are walking to do good for your health and a cause bigger than yourself!

How long does it take to walk a half marathon?

Most people walk a mile in about 15 to 20 minutes. Therefore, it takes about three to four hours for most people to walk a half-marathon. If the half marathon is hilly or on rugged terrain, it will take longer. 

Can I walk a half-marathon in 3 hours?

Yes, you can walk a half marathon in 3 hours if you are doing paced walking.

If you are leisurely strolling without paying attention to your pace, you will likely not walk a half marathon in three hours. 

Walking a half marathon in three hours requires walking at 13:44 minutes a mile pace which is a pretty quick pace for walking! In fact, for some people, that is their running pace!

To walk a half marathon in three hours, you will need to focus your training on hitting this pace.

A person power walking.

Can you walk a half marathon without training?

If you are fit, not overweight, and with no health concerns, you could likely walk a half marathon without training. 

However, if you walk a half marathon without training, you still risk injury. Even runners who are forced to walk due to running injuries or illness will experience aches and pains while walking as the repetitive motion can lead to overuse injuries

Do you have to do a 13-mile walk to train for walking a half marathon?

No, just like you do not need to run a full 13.1 miles before running a half marathon, you do not need to walk a full 13.1 miles before walking a half marathon. 

In fact, if you can walk 7 miles, you can likely walk a half marathon. However, the less you walk in your training, the more difficult your half marathon walk will feel. 

Therefore, it is best to do a long walk of at least 10 miles when training to walk for a half marathon. 

How long does it take to train to walk a half marathon?

For most people, it will take anywhere from 8 to 16 weeks to train to safely walk a half marathon. 

A group of people walking.

What shoes are good for walking a half marathon?

You want shoes that are very cushioned. We like the Hoka One One Bondi 7 or the Sketcher GO WALK Hyper Burst for their cushioned underfoot and durability.

How do you protect against blisters from walking A Half Marathon?

Walking for hours at a time can lead to blisters, and pockets of fluid in your skin. Protect your feet from blisters by using an anti-chafing stick like Body Glide. You also want to wear slip-proof socks such as Swiftwick or use moleskin to add an extra layer of protection. 

Related: Blisters for Runners: How to Prevent and Treat Them!

What should you eat for walking a half marathon?

If you are going to be walking for four hours or more, you are going to need fuel!

You will want to eat carbohydrate-rich food to give your body glucose to break down for energy. You will also need to drink sports drinks to supply your body with much-needed electrolytes. 

Related: What to Eat Before a Long Run

Two people walking and laughing.

Here are some ideas of foods to eat for walking a half-marathon:

  • energy gels, energy bars
  • granola bars
  • peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • bananas, oranges
  • bagels
  • trail mix, fruit snacks
  • electrolyte chews
  • sports drinks

Do I need to carb load before walking a half marathon?

Your body will be tapping into glycogen AND fat stores for walking your half marathon. Therefore, it’s not as crucial to carb-load ahead of walking a half marathon as it would be for running a half marathon. 

When you are running, your body’s primary source of energy is glycogen which has a limited supply. With walking, your body uses more fat to burn for energy which has a nearly unlimited supply. 

Related: How to Taper for Marathon

Considerations for Training to Walk a Half Marathon

Before we get into your walking a half marathon training plan, here are some half marathon training tips. 

Related: Do I Need to Carb-load Before a Half Marathon?

A person walking on a busy road.

10 Tips for Training to Walk a Half Marathon

  • Get clearance from your doctor before starting towards your goal. 
  • Find a level course for your walking that mimics the racecourse. You can walk on paved paths, on quiet roads, on a track, or on a treadmill. Avoid trails and hilly areas as this will make your walking take longer. Only use this terrain if it simulates your racecourse. 
  • Use apps like Map My Run and Strava to find routes. 
  • Consider raising money by walking for a cause.
  • Listen to podcasts, music, audiobooks, or call or walk with a friend. 
  • Be sure to do at least one day a week of complete rest
  • Pay attention to your feet! Be sure to find socks and shoes that are comfortable and do not lead to blistering. Consider covering your feet in an anti-chafing balm. 
  • Wear clothes that are comfortable that you will wear on race day. 
  • When you line up for your race, be sure to line up with walkers to give the runners space. 
A group of people walking in the park.

How to train to walk a half marathon

Here is your 10-week half marathon plan. 

  • This plan is for walkers who can comfortably walk for 30 minutes.
  • Below you will see a weekly schedule that looks about the same with the walks progressing by 15 minutes every couple of weeks. 
  • You will increase your long walk weekly. 
  • Aim to strength train for 30 minutes two times a week. Do full-body work including core
  • In the final week, you will reduce your mileage in the form of a taper for one week ahead of the half marathon day. 
  • You will also not strength train in the week leading up to your half marathon.

Related: How to Get Your Half Marathon Taper Right

A person walking down the road.

Here is your Walking Half Marathon Schedule!

Weekly Schedule:

Weeks 1-2

Monday: Walk for 30 minutes. Strength train for 30 minutes. 

Tuesday: XT for 30-60 minutes by biking, doing elliptical, or swimming, for example.

Wednesday: Walk for 30 minutes. Strength train for 30 minutes.

Thursday: XT for 30-60 minutes

Friday: REST or Yoga

Saturday: Long Walk (5 and 6 miles)

Sunday: COMPLETE REST

Weeks 3-4

Monday: Walk for 45 minutes. Strength train for 30 minutes. 

Tuesday: XT for 30-60 minutes by biking, doing elliptical, or swimming, for example.

Wednesday: Walk for 30 minutes. Strength train for 30 minutes.

Thursday: XT for 30-60 minutes

Friday: REST or Yoga

Saturday: Long Walk (7 and 8 miles)

Sunday: COMPLETE REST

A close up of a person's running shoes.

Weeks 5-6

Monday: Walk for 60 minutes. Strength train for 30 minutes. 

Tuesday: XT for 30-60 minutes by biking, doing elliptical, or swimming, for example.

Wednesday: Walk for 45 minutes. Strength train for 30 minutes.

Thursday: XT for 30-60 minutes

Friday: REST or Yoga

Saturday: Long Walk (9 and 10 miles)

Sunday: COMPLETE REST

Weeks 7-9

Monday: Walk for 60 minutes. Strength train for 30 minutes. 

Tuesday: XT for 30-60 minutes by biking, doing elliptical, or swimming, for example.

Wednesday: Walk for 60 minutes. Strength train for 30 minutes.

Thursday: XT for 30-60 minutes

Friday: REST or Yoga

Saturday: Long Walk (11, 12, and 7 miles)

Sunday: COMPLETE REST

Two people smiling and walking.

Week 10:

Monday: Walk for 60 minutes. Strength train for 30 minutes. 

Tuesday: XT for 30-60 minutes by biking, doing elliptical, or swimming, for example.

Wednesday: Walk for 45 minutes. Strength train for 30 minutes.

Thursday: XT for 30-60 minutes

Friday: REST or Yoga

Saturday: Walk 13.1 miles and CELEBRATE! 

Sunday: COMPLETE REST

Long Walk Progression

*These long runs are scheduled for Saturdays

Week 1: 5 miles 

Week 2: 6 miles 

Week 3: 7 miles 

Week 4: 8 miles 

Week 5: 9 miles 

Week 6: 10 miles 

Week 7: 11 miles

Week 8: 12 miles

Week 9: 7 miles 

Week 10: 13.1 miles! CELEBRATE!

Nail your other running and walking goals for the half marathon with Marathon Handbook’s half marathon training resources!

Whitney Heins
Whitney Heins is the founder of The Mother Runners and a VDOT-O2 certified running coach. She lives in Knoxville, TN with her two crazy, beautiful kids, pups, and husband. She is currently training to qualify for the 2024 US Olympic Trials marathon.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.