Entering a 5K is an excellent way to challenge yourself. Take part in a 5K charity walk, enter a 5K fun race, or complete a local Parkrun as a walker. But how long does it take to walk a 5K?
However, the time it takes to walk 5K can vary considerably. This guide looks at average walking speed and the factors such as fitness level affecting your walking pace.
Don’t worry if you think you walk slowly. You can improve your speed by walking regularly and we have some extra tips to help you walk faster.
Read on to find out:
- How far is a 5K walk?
- How long does it take to walk a 5K?
- What is the average walking speed?
- Can you walk 5 km in an hour?
- Walking 5K for beginners.
- Walking pace on a treadmill.
- Tips to improve your 5K walk time.
Let’s get started!
How Far Is A 5K Walk
The K stands for kilometers, a unit in the metric system. A kilometer is just over half a mile in distance. 5K converts to a little over 3.1 miles.
If you walk 5K on a standard 400m athletics track it takes 12.5 laps to complete the distance.
How Many Steps In A 5K?
A pedometer or fitness tracker is a great way to keep track of how much you move during the day. Counting steps is essential for step challenges and can be helpful for walking a 5K every day.
But how many steps in 5K? The number of steps it takes to complete 5K depends on fitness levels, average step length (stride length), and pace.
5K in steps is approximately 6200 to 7440 steps.
How Long Does It Take To Walk A 5K
A typical walking pace for the average person depends on their intent. You’ll walk slower if you’re soaking up the last rays of sun on the beach than if you’re in a hurry to get to work on time.
If you’re walking for fitness, the average person will walk briskly at 3 to 4 miles per hour (mph).
A brisk pace is when your heart rate is elevated but you’re still able to walk and talk. You’ll need to make some effort to maintain your pace.
Most walkers walk at a brisk pace of 3 to 4 mph, and will take 47 to 62 minutes to walk 5K.
Slower walkers, or someone who’s taking their time, can take as long as 93 minutes to walk 5K at a pace of 2 miles per hour.
In contrast, power walkers hit speeds of 5 mph or more and can walk a fast 5K in just over 37 minutes.
If you know your walking pace, you can find out how long it takes to walk 5K from the following chart:
|Time Taken To Walk A 5K|
What Is The Average Walking Speed?
Typically a good walking pace is 3 miles per hour or 20 minutes per mile.
For many people, this is a normal pace – the pace you walk at naturally without trying to walk faster.
Considering the importance of walking, there’s very little data on average walking speeds. Most studies are carried out using treadmills over very short distances and the results don’t easily relate to longer walks.
Most people slow down walking longer distances such as a 5K.
If you’re walking for fitness, the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), gives an example of moderate-intensity exercise as walking briskly at 2.5 to 4 mph.
That’s a walking pace of 15 to 24 minutes per mile and equates to 47 to 74 minutes to complete a 5K.
Factors affecting how long it takes to walk 5K
Although walking speed decreases with age, it’s not as much as you might think. This study by Schimpl, Moore et al found that the difference is just 1.2 minutes when walking a distance of 1 km aged 20 compared to 60 years.
That’s a 6-minute difference for 5K. You may think that’s a lot but a person’s fitness will have more of an impact.
Over 60, average walking times decline more rapidly but for older walkers, a person who’s stayed fit and healthy all their life will walk much faster than the average speed.
Sex, height, muscle mass, stride length, and body weight can all impact your speed but the same study by Schimpl, Moore et al. found that differences in walking speed based on gender or BMI were insignificant.
Walking speed is mainly dictated by fitness level. The fitter you are, the faster you can walk.
Find out more about average walking speed.
Can You Walk 5K In An Hour?
Yes! Most people are capable of walking 5K in an hour. This equates to walking at a pace of 19.35 minutes per mile or less.
That’s slightly faster than an average walking pace of 20 minutes per mile but with a little training, most people can hit this walking time.
Walking 5K For Beginners
Some people can walk their first 5K without any preparation but if you’re new to exercise it’s best to follow a training program.
Our 5K Walking Plan For Beginners is a great way to get started.
The plan starts with 15 minutes of easy pace walking and gradually builds up the daily distance over five weeks until you’re able to walk 5K in one go.
You’ll find tips for walking your first 5K from wearing comfortable walking shoes to what to do on race day.
Walking Pace On A Treadmill
5K on a treadmill can often be faster than walking outside. There are no crowds to dodge, street furniture to trip you up and you’re walking on completely flat terrain – a level treadmill belt.
On a treadmill, you can set the speed setting to the pace you want to walk at. So if you set the speed to 3 mph, it will take you 62 minutes to walk 5K.
At a speed of 4 mph, it will take 47 minutes to walk 5K.
Tips To Improve Your 5K Walk Time
If you want to walk 5K faster, these tips will help:
#1 Warm Up
It’s hard to get cold muscles to walk at a fast pace. It’s far better to warm up properly before you start walking and there’s also less risk of injury.
Start your walks with 5 to 10 minutes of walking at an easy pace or try some dynamic exercises. We’re a big fan of Tom Morrison’s warm-up routine.
#2 Walking Form
Walking may be a natural activity but sadly we all pick up bad habits and most of us need some tips for proper walking form.
This post explains the dos and don’ts of good walking posture. Get a friend to film you walking down the street and you’ll quickly spot which areas need improvement.
#3 Walk Regularly
The more you walk the easier it will be and with regular walking, you’ll start to walk faster. Our 5K Beginner Training Plan suggests walking every day.
#4 Add Strength Training
Strength training is important for overall health but it will also help you walk faster. Add these bodyweight exercises to your training plan twice a week and you’ll soon notice a difference.
#5 Use Your Arms
Try not to swing your arms across your body – instead, pump them back and forward keeping your arms bent at 90 degrees. Match your arm swing to your leg movements.
#6 Increase Your Step Rate
Taking more steps per minute will help to increase your walking speed. Practice increasing your step rate gradually until you reach a level you can comfortably maintain over 5K.
#7 Upgrade Your Old Walking Shoes
Walking shoes and trainers don’t last forever. Just because they don’t have any holes doesn’t mean they don’t need replacing.
If your shoes are losing their bounce it could be time for a new pair!
Thoughts From Love Life Be Fit
Walking a 5K is achievable for most people if they set their mind to it.
If you’re new to walking follow a training schedule – completing the distance comfortably will make the event far more enjoyable. Try our Couch to 5K Walking Plan.
Once you’ve conquered your first 5K, set a new training goal. It could be walking 5K in a faster time or stepping up a distance to walk 5 miles.