Figuring out how fast you are walking takes a bit of simple math and a pre-route drive to help you determine your miles-per-hour pace. You can compare your speed or intensity to previous workouts using other methods, as well. Your calorie burn will also depend on whether you’re walking hills or using hand weights to work your muscles while walking.
Heart rate monitor
Drive your walking route in your car, noting the length of your course to the nearest quarter of a mile on your odometer. Try to choose a route that has an easily identifiable halfway point in one direction and note the mileage to that distance so you can track your speed several times during your walk, such as every quarter of your route. Look for landmarks every quarter of a mile for more measuring opportunities.
Walk your route with a watch, noting your start time. Check your watch when you get to the halfway point of the outbound portion of your walk, or one quarter of your total route. Check your time when you reach the halfway point of your walk, or the point at which you’ll turn around and return. Check your watch as you hit the halfway point of your inbound, or return route, and check your watch when you finish.
Calculate the amount of time it took you to reach one-quarter of a mile and multiply it by four to get your speed in miles per minute. Check your time after one-half mile and multiply by two to get your miles-per-minute speed. Check your time after walking one mile. Use this information to estimate your calorie burn. For example, the Harvard School of Public Health estimates a 155-pound person will burn approximately 300 calories per hour walking a 17-minute mile, and more than 330 calories walking 15-minute miles.
Divide 60 by the number of minutes it took you to walk one mile to get your speed in mph. For example, if it took you 18 minutes to walk one mile, your speed is 60/18 = 3.3 mph. Divide 30 by the number of minutes it took you to reach half a mile, or 15 by the number of minutes it took you to walk one-quarter of a mile to get your speed in miles per hour throughout your walk.
Use a pedometer to calculate your walking speed. Measure your stride by walking 12 steps at your normal walking stride to see how many steps you take. See how close this comes to 36 yards, or a 3-foot stride, to use a simple formula for calculating walking speed by steps. If you are close to this stride length, check your pedometer for the number of steps you take in one minute and divide this number by 30 to get your speed in miles per hour.
Use a heart rate monitor or check your pulse if you want to determine your walking pace by heart rate. A higher heart rate might mean a faster stride length and higher calorie burn. If your route has hills, you might be walking at the same, or even a slower speed, than when you walk on flat terrain, but your effort is greater, raising your heart rate. Check your pulse by placing two fingers lightly against your wrist or neck until you can feel your heartbeat. Count the number of beats in 10 seconds and then multiply by six to get your heart rate. Check your heart rate every quarter mile and write down the results when you get home. Check your heart rate during future walks to stay at your desired pace or raise it as you improve your fitness.
Check the estimated calories burned data on your heart rate monitor, if you are using one, every quarter of a mile during your walk to compare your walks to each other. Keep track of your splits after each workout to create a progress chart.
Things You'll Need
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.