When you sign up to run a half marathon, you might wonder if walking a half marathon is okay. And if you’re thinking about that, you may ask, “How long does it take to walk a half marathon?“
You may walk a half marathon due to an injury, training not working out in your favor, or because you prefer walking to running. The good news is that you may opt to walk part or all of the race.
As someone who has completed 16 half marathons and walked at least a small part of them all, I’m here to tell you that walking is an excellent way to take on this challenge.
Is it Acceptable to Walk a Half Marathon?
Absolutely! In fact, many people choose to walk the entire race distance.
The most important thing to note is that if you decide to walk some or all of the race, position yourself near the back of the pack so that you don’t cause a delay to anyone aiming for their running goals.
It’s also important to remember that your walking pace can vary depending on how you feel and how quickly (or slowly) you want to go.
What’s the Average Time to Walk a Half Marathon?
The amount of time it takes to walk a half marathon depends on your walking speed and the terrain you’re racing over.
On average, an individual walking a half marathon will take about 3.5 to 5 hours, but that time may be faster or slower depending on different factors.
Have a brisk walking pace? You can likely count on a half marathon walk time of closer to 3.5 hours. If you fall somewhere between that 15-22 minutes per mile pace, you might finish walking the half marathon in about four hours.
You’ll want to determine if your chosen half marathon race has a course time limit to ensure you can complete the distance without being pulled off the course.
How Far is a Half Marathon?
A half marathon is a 13.1-mile long-distance race.
If you’re trying to figure out how long it will take to walk the half marathon, find your average mile pace time and multiply it by 13 (the number of miles in the race). This will give you an estimated number of minutes you’ll need to finish the race.
You can then divide that number by 60 (the number of minutes in an hour) to find your estimated half-marathon finish time.
Benefits of Walking a Half Marathon
You may experience many benefits from walking a half marathon over running it. The following are some of the best benefits you might encounter.
Reduce Physical Strain
Running a half marathon puts a lot of wear and tear on your body.
Walking the distance can help reduce the strain on your joints and muscles. Keep in mind that 13.1 miles is still a long distance, and you’re likely to feel some soreness in the days that follow the race.
Complete the Race Post Injury Recovery
When training for the 2017 Chicago Marathon, I ended up with a metatarsal stress fracture that had me out of running for nine weeks. The only way to run the Chicago Marathon was to use the run-walk method.
If you experience an injury that you recover from but leaves you with minimal training time, walking the half marathon may be your way to ease to the finish line. Always consult with your doctor before deciding to compete after an injury.
Complete the Race After a Poor Training Cycle
Bad training cycle? It happens.
Whether you were short on time due to work, couldn’t get motivated, or just had a little bit of everything turn up during training, opting to walk on race day could help get you through the distance.
Experience Positive Fitness Results
If you’ve had a difficult relationship with working out for your health, you might find a love of walking.
Too many people think they need to be in the gym for hours a day to experience weight loss, increased endurance, or feel better in their own skin. In reality, moving your body in a way as low-impact as walking can significantly affect your physical fitness.
Signing up to walk a half marathon might be just what you need to see that fitness doesn’t have to be grueling.
Enjoy the Race Day Atmosphere
Sometimes life is best enjoyed at a slower pace.
If you’re running an especially well-known race, there’s a good chance that spectators turn out with some of the best race day signs to cheer you on. Enjoying these little elements of the half marathon can make it much more memorable.
Time to Chat with Friends and Family During the Race
If you’re running your half marathon, you might not be okay with stopping when you see your friends and family along the course.
However, if you’re walking the race and not worried about your finish time, you might find stopping for a picture or a quick chat with them is the perfect pick-me-up. Your race is just that – YOURS. Make it as fun as you want it to be.
Whether you walk or run, the finish line is the same. So you might as well do what works best for you and your body.
How to Succeed When Walking a Half Marathon
If you’re new to half marathons, you may not even know where to begin when choosing to walk your first half marathon. Follow these tips for success on race day.
✅ Find a proper half marathon training plan.
There are countless half marathon training plans to choose from. If you’re opting to walk right from the start, find a training plan that will help you strengthen your body for walking the race distance.
Sticking to your half marathon training schedule is important to give yourself the confidence you need on race day.
✅ Consider hiring a coach.
A certified running coach could help you successfully walk the distance of a half marathon. A certified personal trainer could also help you improve your overall fitness in preparation for race day.
A coach is also helpful if you try running the race if your training goes well. A coach should be dependable, trustworthy, and willing to get to know you and your fitness habits.
✅ Start training early.
Walking 13.1 miles is still a long distance, even if you’re not running. Give yourself plenty of time to get used to the distance.
Training will require about 12 to 16 weeks for the best success. Start early, and stick to it to have race day success.
✅ Include strength training.
You might be able to fumble your way through a training cycle by just walking miles. However, to seriously improve your walking experience in a half marathon, you should include strength training in your training schedule.
This will help your body stay strong when the miles get hard. Runners and walkers alike benefit from adding cross-training to their training.
✅ Eat well in advance of the race.
Hydrating and fueling your body with healthy foods will give your muscles enough energy to make it through the race. Practice your pre-race nutrition in your training to know what works for you on race day. This will help you know what to eat before running that agrees with your body.
You may find that you’ll also need some type of fuel during the race distance. You should experiment with different energy gels, chews, or bars during your training to see what works best for you.
✅ Wear the proper footwear.
Ensure that you have enough cushioning and support in your shoes to carry you through the 13.1 miles.
You’ll be putting a lot of stress on your feet, muscles, and joints, so investing in the best running shoes (or walking shoes) is the smart way to succeed.
✅ Don’t forget to stretch and cool down.
Stretching is an important part of walking (or running) a half marathon.
It can help reduce the risk of injury and keep your muscles limber throughout the race. Cooling down is also important to prevent cramping and soreness post-race. Make sure you take this step into consideration to make the most of your half-marathon walking experience.
With the right approach, you can successfully walk a half marathon and enjoy your experience.
Yes, you can walk a half marathon in 3 hours if you maintain an average pace of 13 minutes and 44 seconds per mile. This is a bit slower than the average person’s walking speed of 15-22 minutes per mile. Remember that this will require training to work up to your optimal pace.
It typically takes anywhere from 12-20 weeks to train for a half marathon. The duration of your half marathon walking training plan also depends on your current fitness level and how much time you can commit to training each week. The average person should plan for about 16 weeks of training for a successful walk or run.
Yes, it’s perfectly fine to run-walk a half marathon. In fact, many people find this technique helpful in completing the distance while improving their endurance and race times. This strategy can help maintain a comfortable pace, reduce physical strain, and provide enough time to chat with friends and family during the race. Ultimately, it’s up to you and what works best for your body.
The time it takes to run-walk a half marathon depends on your pace. If you can maintain a 15-minute mile, completing the race will take approximately three hours and 17 minutes. Based on this, you can determine if you’ll be able to run-walk the race faster or slower based on the pace you’ve found works for you.
The best run-walk ratio for a half marathon depends on your fitness level and individual needs. A popular method is to use a 1:1 walk-run ratio. This means you’ll walk one minute and then run one minute for the duration of the race. You can experiment with different ratios during training sessions to determine what works best. My preferred ratio is running for one minute 30 seconds and walking for 30 seconds.
Final Thoughts: How Long Does it Take to Walk a Half Marathon?
Walking a half marathon can be a positive experience and may even lead you to run a half marathon or walk a full marathon.
It’s the perfect way to test your endurance and push yourself to new physical limits. With the right training plan and commitment, you’ll be able to enjoy the race day atmosphere, chat with friends and family along the course, and finish all while feeling proud of your accomplishment!