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Does walking increase your running endurance?

Does walking increase your running endurance?

Training is an important aspect of improving every runner’s fitness. There are many different types of workouts that a runner might incorporate into their weekly training schedule. These often include some light jogs, interval training, and a longer weekly run.

The reason for adding in various types of training is to build endurance while maintaining proper recovery. If both of these are met, better performance results are likely to be expected. Here, we will discuss how it can be beneficial for runners to add walking to their training, as well as, how walking can help improve your running endurance. While doing this, we’ll also consider the amount of walking that should be done, or if walking at a certain pace is required for you to see results.

How Can Walking Help Improve Your Running Endurance?

Walking can increase your running endurance by helping increase your weekly mileage, improving your posture, providing a safe alternative to running, and by allowing you to change the scenery by training in places you may not normally be able to run. Walking is a great way to compliment your running training, with much less wear and tear, therefore allowing you to recover more rapidly.

Walking also helps you improve your running endurance by providing you with a way to build strength and stamina, while also improving lung function.

1. Helps build weekly mileage

Weekly mileage refers to the number of miles a runner has covered in a week. Generally speaking, a higher weekly mileage with good recovery tends to lead to better performance results. This improvement in performance is, in large part, due to an increase in endurance. You can cover a lot more distance when walking than you can with running. This is because walking requires much less energy and has a much lower impact, making it less likely that you’ll get injured, as opposed to when running for greater distances. 

Walking can also benefit newer runners. That’s because a beginner will be much less used to running long distances, and their body will be more susceptible to injury until it’s become acclimated to the physical stress of running. Walking is beneficial in this scenario, as it will allow you to cover more miles. This will help to improve strength, build lung capacity, and lower stress. All of these factors can lead to an improvement in your endurance.

Some coaches focus on incorporating a walk/run training methodology since they deem walking as such an integral part of building one’s endurance and improving recovery. Jeff Galloway, author of “The Run-Walk-Run Method”, believed that training should be based on mileage covered rather than speed, in order to achieve better results.

2. Improvements in form

Walking with a good upright posture, while taking light, short steps, can help take the strain off a runner’s feet, as well as reduce aches and pains in their legs. Through walking with good form, you can expect more recovery benefits, which makes it easier to complete more miles during your weekly training schedule.

These improvements in posture can also carry over to other areas of your life, such as work and sleep, which will continue to improve your training.

3. Providing a safe alternative to training

When you walk on your days off from running, you can burn additional fat while improving your cardio. This can help aid your recovery, as well as reduce the likelihood of injury. Each of these components should assist in leading to better overall fitness and endurance. Walking days can be used as breaks, and allow time for relaxation and socializing by going on walks with your family or friends. By reducing stress, you will also help improve your endurance and focus, which tends to lead to higher quality training.

4. Helps change up the terrain

After doing any form of cardio training for an extended period of time, it can become very monotonous. Walking can allow you the ability to train in places where it might not be possible to while running, such as certain hills or trails. By utilizing different terrains, you can build up your stamina and endurance without the heavy impact that comes with running.

How Much Should I Walk to Increase Running Endurance?

Thirty minutes of walking per day can lead to improvements in cardiovascular fitness and endurance. It can also help increase strength and muscle while burning fat. Which, as we’ve already mentioned, are important components that contribute to endurance. If you find it too difficult to walk for 30 minutes continuously, you can break it up into smaller sections, such as 10 minute segments, in order to make it easier. This should allow you to still meet your target while reaping the fitness benefits that come along with it.

A study conducted in 2007 involved inactive women walking for just 75 minutes per week. This study concluded that even these relatively low levels of cardio led to significant improvements in fitness and endurance when compared to a group of women who did no form of exercise.

How Fast Do I Need to Walk to Increase Running Endurance?

Walking briskly is the best way to boost your endurance levels. ‘Brisk’ means that you’re walking at a conversational pace, but where you would still feel slightly out of breath to the point where you couldn’t sing. This is the ideal speed you should aim for when cross-training.

With brisk walking, it should not be so intense that your walks cause soreness to your joints or muscles. Even without high-intensity, walking is a great way to improve endurance with optimal recovery. It can also allow time for any pains you do have to heal, without losing all progress. 
Walking briskly can help increase your aerobic capacity, which is very important for seeing improvements in your cardio endurance. For the best results, you’ll want to add in brisk walking for 30 to 60 minutes on days when you’re resting from running. Or, you can instead break it up in 5 to 10 minute intervals over the course of the day.

It is also extremely helpful to know your current heart rate while training. Click below to check out one of our favorite wrist-worn heart rate monitors.

Fitbit Charge 4 w/ Built-In GPS


Every runner wants to have the best training schedule possible in order to develop their running endurance. Walking is one addition that can be added to your sessions to help you achieve better results. While this is for a variety of reasons, the primary one is that it will help increase your conditioning and endurance.

Walking also helps improve lung function while building aerobic capacity. Other benefits include building strength and improving recovery to your muscles and joints. Walking provides a relaxing activity that can be added to your training schedule to build your weekly mileage. Some coaches believe, and teach, that weekly mileage is more important than the speed of the miles in your training. Therefore, walking is an extremely valuable tool that can be used in order to increase your running endurance.

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