If you choose to participate in a walking marathon, you’ll be walking about 26 miles. The time it will take you to complete this task depends on how quickly you’re moving. Allot at least six hours to complete a walking marathon of 26 miles, even if you’re speeding along at a brisk pace.
Many women can sustain a walking pace of 3 miles per hour – equivalent to a 20-minute mile -- for 26 miles, with proper training. If you’re able to move along at a pace of 3 mph, it will take you about 8.7 hours to complete a 26-mile walking marathon. Of course, each time you stop to eat, drink or go to the bathroom you’ll tack on additional minutes.
If you boost your walking pace to 4 mph, a fairly speedy pace, you can complete 26 miles in a shorter time period. However, unless you’re a race walker or have been training regularly for a walking marathon, it’s difficult to maintain this brisk pace for the entire length of your workout – but it can be done. If you speed along at a walking pace of 4 mph, it will take you about 6.5 hours to complete 26 miles. This pace is equivalent to walking a 15-minute mile.
You’ll burn a significant number of calories walking 26 miles, which can help you shed any unwanted pounds. Harvard Health Publications reports that a 125-pound gal who walks 26 miles at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour, or a 17-minute mile, will burn about 1,776 calories. It will take her about 7.4 hours to complete her workout. A 155-pound woman walking the same pace of 3.5 miles per hour will burn about 2,205 calories walking 26 miles. A larger body expends more energy walking the same pace and duration as a smaller walker.
Water and Carb Requirements
Since walking 26 miles is a rather lengthy workout, be sure to drink plenty of water – and consume carbs – during your walking marathon. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that athletes drink more than 8 cups of water daily, plus 2 to 3 cups of water for every pound lost during exercise. Drink often, or about every 15 minutes, while powering through your lengthy walking workout. Montana State University recommends that athletes consume 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour during ultra-endurance exercise. Boost your carb intake during long walks by choosing sports drinks, raisins, bagels, crackers, sports gels or granola bars, for example.
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.