Rev Up Your Walking Routine

Whether you're new to walking or ready to try a marathon, we've got the perfect plan for you.
couple walking on beach
Whether you're new to walking or ready to try a marathon, we've got the perfect plan for you. If your past is littered with broken New Year’s resolutions to hit the gym or the track regularly, listen up: This is the year you will move more and learn to love walking.

Whether you’re a beginner who wants to become a regular walker, an intermediate strider who is serious about reshaping her body, or an advanced trekker ready to take on the ultimate challenge of walking a marathon, we’ve got what you need. You’ll find personalized advice and week-by-week walking routines designed by Judy Molnar, a certified trainer and coach for Iron Girl (an online fitness training program), and plenty of motivation that’ll help you meet your weight-loss goals. Now go ahead and get walking—a healthier you awaits!

Motivation for New and Experienced Walkers

You've taken the first step-you've committed yourself to walking regularly. Here's how to stay motivated:

  • Find a buddy. When a friend is relying on you, you're less likely to cancel, and you'll look forward to the camaraderie.
  • Set mini goals. Sign up for a charity walk in your area or challenge yourself to walk an additional block each week.
  • Make an investment. If you spend some money, you'll be more likely to walk. Purchase a pair of sneakers, or join a gym for the winter months and walk on the treadmill.
  • Create a rewards system Hang a chart on your fridge and log your walks. After six jaunts, reward yourself-download a few walking tunes, get a manicure, or buy a new walking outfit.

Your 8-Week Plan: Focus on Time, Not Distance
Your mission is to make walking a part of your daily life. The first step is simply to get up and get moving. Three days a week you'll walk for short periods of time and twice a week you'll choose a favorite cross-training activity such as cycling, dancing, or working out to a DVD. Give yourself 2 days off to allow your muscles to recover (choose days that work best for you).

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Week 1 Walk 10 min. Cardio 10 min. Walk 10 min. Cardio 10 min. Walk 10 min.
Week 2 Walk 10 min Cardio 10 min. Walk 10 min. Cardio 10 min. Walk 10 min.
Week 3 Walk 10 min Cardio 10 min. Walk 10 min. Cardio 10 min. Walk 15 min.
Week 4 Walk 15 min. Cardio 15 min. Walk 15 min. Cardio 15 min. Walk 15 min.
Week 5 Walk 15 min. Cardio 15 min. Walk 15 min. Cardio 15 min. Walk 15 min.
Week 6 Walk 15 min. Cardio 20 min. Walk 15 min. Cardio 20 min. Walk 20 min.
Week 7 Walk 15 min. Cardio 20 min. Walk 15 min. Cardio 20 min. Walk 20 min.
Week 8 Walk 20 min. Cardio 25 min. Walk 15 min. Cardio 25 min. Walk 20 min.

Intermediate
Are you ready to transform your body? This section is for you if you consider yourself a consistent walker (you can walk about a 20-minute mile) but you're not seeing the physical results you want. Here you'll boost distance and speed to really reshape your body.

Your 8-Week Plan: Focus on Speed
If you haven't been seeing results, the variety in this routine will give your body the wake-up call it needs. Each week, allow 2 days off to rest (choose the days that work best for you), and 2 days to do another cardio activity, like hiking or biking. Every other week add an interval walk to your routine: Walk quickly for 2 minutes and then at your normal pace for 2 minutes. Repeat the sequence 5 times for 20 minutes.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Week 1 Cardio 35 min. Interval-walk 20 min. Cardio 35 min. 2 miles in 30 min. 3 miles in 1 hr.
Week 2 Cardio 35 min. 2 miles in 40 min. Cardio 35 min 2 miles in 30 min. 3 miles in 1 hr
Week 3 Cardio 35 min. Interval-walk 20 min. Cardio 35 min 2 miles in 30 min. 3 miles in 1 hr
Week 4 Cardio 40 min. 2 miles in 40 min. Cardio 35 min 2 1/2 miles in 40 min. 3 miles in 1 hr. 5 min.
Week 5 Cardio 30 min. Interval-walk 20 min. Cardio 30 min. 2 miles in 30 min. 3 miles in 1 hr.
Week 6 Cardio 40 min. 2 miles in 40 min. Cardio 35 min. 2 miles in 30 min. 3 miles in 1 hr. 5 min.
Week 7 Cardio 40 min. Interval-walk 20 min. Cardio 35 min. 2 miles in 30 min. 3 miles in 1 hr. 5 min.
Week 8 Cardio 45 min. 2 miles in 40 min. Cardio 35 min. 2 1/2 miles in 40 min. 3 miles in 1 hr. 5 min.

Advanced
Prepare yourself for one of the greatest personal victories of all: striding across the finish line of a marathon (26 miles). This program is for you if you're looking for a challenge and you've consistently walked 30 minutes at least 3 times a week for 3 consecutive months.

Your 8-Week Plan: Focus on Building Mileage
You've already made walking a regular habit. Training for a marathon is a great way to stay dedicated. This routine will help you build endurance, improve your strength, challenge your muscles and get your body marathon ready. Each week you'll have 2 days of rest (choose the days that best fit your schedule), and 1 day a week choose a cardio activity, such as biking or aerobics.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Week 1 2 miles in 40 min. 1 mile in 22 min. Cardio 25 min. 2 miles in 36 min. 2 miles in 45 min.
Week 2 2 miles in 40 min. 1 mile in 22 min. Cardio 25 min 2 miles in 36 min. 2 miles in 45 min.
Week 3 2 miles in 40 min. 1 mile in 22 min. Cardio 20 min. 2 miles in 36 min. 2 miles in 45 min.
Week 4 2 miles in 40 min. 1 mile in 22 min. Cardio 25 min. 1 mile in 17 min. 2 1/2 miles in 50 min.
Week 5 3 miles in 60 min. 1 mile in 20 min. Cardio 25 min. 2 miles in 36 min. 2 miles in 45 min.
Week 6 3 miles in 60 min. 1 mile in 20 min. Cardio 20 min. 2 miles in 36 min. 2 1/2 miles in 50 min.
Week 7 3 miles in 60 min. 1 mile in 20 min. Cardio 25 min. 2 miles in 36 min. 2 1/2 miles in 50 min.
Week 8 3 miles in 60 min. 1 mile in 20 min. Cardio 25 min. 1 mile in 17 min. 2 1/2 miles in 50 min.

What's next:



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