What is a Walking Pace?
A walking pace is the average time is takes you to walk one mile or kilometre. It is presented as X minutes per mile/kilometre, depending on the measuring unit you use (here’s a handy kilometre converter). You can work it out yourself using the below sum or use a convenient online calculator.
Pace is calculated using this sum:
Pace = Time\Distance
You walk 6 miles in 2 hours (120 minutes). 120/6 = 20.
Therefore, your pace = 20 minutes per mile.
Importantly, time is calculated in minutes, so 2 hours is 120 minutes for the purpose of the sum. If the result is not a round number of minutes, the fraction of the minute must be converted to seconds. To do this, the fraction is multiplied by 60; 0.5 minutes = 30 seconds.
The sum itself is fairly simple, however modern technology can now automatically work out your pace for you on the go. A popular example of this is Strava, which tracks the duration of exercise via distance and time to work out your pace, even working out pace over segments.
Check out some of our favourite walking apps here!
Walking Pace vs Speed
Both walking pace and speed look at the time it took you to get from one place to another. However, they are different concepts, have different sums and are presented differently. Speed is presented as miles per hour (mph) or kilometres per hour (kmph).
Speed = distance/time (or speed = 60/pace)
To take the above example:
You walk 6 miles in 2 hours. 60/20 = 3mph.
Both speed and pace are averages for a whole walk, with speed focussing on how fast the individual is going, and pace focussing on the speed specifically for one mile/kilometre. It’s important to note how each are affected by factors that can disrupt consistency such as terrain, weather, other people, general health on that day etc. Pace can better factor in these outliers by being calculated at multiple points throughout a walk.
What is a Good Walking Pace?
To get the most out of walking, it is recommended to walk at a ‘brisk pace’ which classes as a moderate-intensity workout. It is widely recommended to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. So, a ‘brisk pace’ is the ideal walking pace, but what exactly is brisk?
See more: Walking for Weight Loss
It can be quantified as around 100 steps per minute or 3/3.5 miles per hour. However, for active walkers, this may seem easy.
The best way to gauge whether you are walking at a brisk pace or not is to see if you are slightly out of breath and/or breaking a sweat. The idea is to walk faster than a comfortable speed and get your heart and breathing rate up. If you feel comfortable walking, you are probably not walking at a brisk pace.
Therefore, the ‘best’ walking pace is one where you are pushing yourself to go faster than usual but are still simply walking fast and able to sustain your pace.