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Can You Walk a Marathon? (Answers & Tips)

Maybe you find marathons fascinating and have thought of running one yourself, but you aren’t quite in the condition to be able to do it.

So what about walking a marathon? Can you walk a marathon? It is a crazy idea that takes proper training and time, but why not try it out, right? In this article, we will explore what it takes to be able to achieve this including some advice and helpful tips. Let’s go!

Key Takeaways


  • Walking a marathon is great for staying in shape
  • Make sure to have proper shoes and clothing
  • Walking a marathon takes 6-8 hours
  • To prepare for a marathon take long walks increase the mileage every week
  • Water, energy drinks and snacks are important to maintain the pace

Can you walk a marathon?

The marathon is a distance of 26,2 miles (42km) and many people are able to walk a marathon in about 6 to 8 hours. Those that are runners are capable of finishing it faster, but if you would like to walk a marathon it is not impossible.

Many people choose walking a marathon over running because it doesn’t put that much pressure, but is still a fun challenge. Even though walking a marathon might not be as demanding as running one, it still takes the right training and dedication to be able to achieve your goal.

Will I be allowed to walk a marathon?

Absolutely. Nowadays many people are participating in marathons by walking and this is totally all right because marathons are not strictly for runners. Many marathons provide cut-off times and support for walkers as well.

But before signing up for a marathon, you should check this information with the organizers to be sure that they allow walkers to take part.

In some cases, the events take place on public roads that are closed with special permission, but only for a few hours so this might be a problem as walking a marathon would take longer.

Why should I walk a marathon?

There are a number of reasons why you should walk a marathon and if you are already thinking about it, but aren’t sure, I am here to convince you to go for it.

Walking a marathon is a great to get in shape and be active, but it also brings positive feelings of enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment after you finish that last mile. It is absolutely a major move.

Another reason why people choose to walk a marathon is to raise awareness for a case/charity. After all, it is also just a fun and enjoyable activity to do by yourself or with a group of friends.

How long does it take?

Generally, most healthy and fit adults can finish walking a marathon in about 6-8 hours. Although it isn’t impossible, to walk a marathon in 6 hours takes good walking speed and determination as the pace is about 14 mins per mile.

This pace is difficult to maintain for long hours. In this case, walking a marathon in 8 hours is more realistic. If you take frequent breaks and are a slow walker then it can take even more than 8 hours.

As you can notice, walking a marathon takes a lot of hours and miles so if you do one without proper training, it may lead to dehydration, exhaustion, muscle strains, and increased risk of injury.

Preparations for a marathon

To be able to start training for the marathon, the most important thing is to have the proper equipment. The first thing is good shoes. Many people prefer running shoes, but having a comfortable pair of walking shoes is also a very good choice.

Make sure to also have good sportswear for any weather condition. Something else that would be helpful is a fitness tracker to have a record of your stats, a phone holder, and perhaps headphones if you like to listen to music while training.

Remember to have enough water, electrolyte drinks, and energy snacks to be able to maintain the pace and avoid dehydration. To prevent blisters that can occur mostly on your feet make sure to wear tight-fitting shoes or apply bandages.

Training for a marathon

To be able to achieve your goal it is recommended to give yourself at least 5 months of time to train so you can prepare steadily and be ready when the day of the marathon arrives.

A good plan would include long walks, hill workouts, cross training, and rest days. To avoid injuries it is important to always warm up before and cool down after training with some light stretching.

You need to make a training plan that will best suit you about which days you will take walks on, days for rest, and days for cross training to strengthen your body and build up the condition. Perhaps you could take about 3 walks of about 60 minutes per week.

As the weeks go by you can start to slowly increase the mileage. Add about 2 miles but try not to make drastic changes. The most important thing is to stay consistent. It is also recommended to add cross training to your routine, but make sure to have rest days as well as you don’t want to overdo yourself.

Remember that your longest walk should be about 20 miles long and it should take place 3 weeks before the marathon. After that, it is important to start reducing the miles by 25% each week to give your body and mind a chance to rest and recover before your marathon.

This is called ‘the taper’. After consistently doing this training and giving yourself some time to rest, you will be ready for the big day!!!

Mistakes to avoid when walking a marathon

Starting a race you are too slow to finish.

Make sure to calculate how long you will take to finish the marathon and sign up to marathons where you meet the cut-off pace to avoid putting yourself and others in danger

Dressing wrong

Make sure to dress right for the weather. You will need a windbreaker, comfortable pants and maybe even gloves in cold weather.

For hot weather, the best choice is to wear shorts and a t-shirt to avoid overheating. It is a mistake to wear something new to the race so it is recommended to wear something you have worn on at least some of your training days.

Eating or drinking something new

Don’t try out new energy drinks or snacks before your marathon because they may upset your system.

It is important that you have already found your balance and products during your longest walks when training. Make sure to begin snacking not too late to keep your energy and replace calories.

Final Words

Walking a marathon is a lot of hard work and dedication so it is absolutely a great accomplishment in one’s life. With just enough time and motivation, you can absolutely do it!!! Prepare yourself and enjoy the journey.