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A job interview requires the male candidates to walk 26 kilometres within 4 hours as a test of Physical fitness.

Quoted below is an excerpt from the guidelines:

The First Phase Test for Forester-I & Forest Guards will be the Physical Fitness Test comprising of 26 KMs (for Males) and 16 KMs (for Females) walk to be covered within 4 (four) hours

Since I have never walked so far or have participated in any long distance running/walking competition, I am unsure about what strategy should I put here. I did read this question here but found it to be a higher level task and I am just a beginner.

My question:

How many times a week should I train walking a week? Any other advices?

Side notes:

  1. I have been training with a full body workout 3 days/week. It comprises of basic compound movements.

  2. Other than walking/cycling to the market (2-4 kms), I don't perform any other cardio like movements.

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Above all else, your training should consist of a gradually increasing weekly volume of walking, the key requirement of which is recovery. I would recommend three sessions per week, consisting of two tempo walks, and one long-distance walk to train your endurance. The most sensible way to organise your week would be, for example:

  • tempo walk
  • rest
  • tempo walk
  • rest
  • long walk
  • rest
  • rest

The two rest days should naturally follow the long walk, providing you with time greater opportunity to recover when you need it.

Your tempo walks should ideally be performed at at least 6.5 kilometres per hour, since that is the average required for the test. Over the course of your preparation, however, you should gradually lift these tempo walks to 7.0 and 7.5 kilometres per hour so you develop a reserve of speed to counteract possible fatigue. If you cannot manage 6.5 kilometres per hour comfortably, begin with a speed that you can maintain with comfortable mechanics, and programme to lift the pace gradually.

For the tempo walks, begin with a distance that is slightly challenging, programming for a gradual increase across the training period. The long walk should begin at roughly double that distance, with your aim being to complete it as quickly as possible, without necessarily reaching the speed of the tempo walks. You should programme to increase this distance gradually.

If you are a beginner, your distances should, perhaps counter-intuitively, be programmed to progress more slowly at the beginning than in the later stages. That is, your progress should not be linear, but rather geometric. This is because small increases in distance can be very taxing on the untrained body; you want to develop a solid base of general conditioning before pushing yourself excessively. Once you have developed this base, rather large increases can be adapted to quickly.

(Note that the opposite is true when you are highly trained.)

Other than that, record keep a record of your progress, and do not feel as though you are a slave to it. Your training programme should always remain flexible, subject to how you feel you are progressing and coping.

Good luck!

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  • Thank you Sir for the answer. Should I continue my lifting workouts while I train walking? – user33276 May 27 at 11:20
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    @Madhurjya: You are most welcome. There is no fundamental reason that you can not keep lifting, but you have to consider those sessions, your physical state, and your recovery in the context of your endurance training. If the latter is a priority, you should, at the very least, reduce the volume of your other training so you are not negatively affecting your progress. I hope that helps. – POD May 27 at 12:54
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It's already been answered but a faster way would be to increase aerobic capacity which can be added into your workouts.. basically turn your weightlifting days into metabolic conditioning by combining your exercises as a circuit and only resting a minute between rounds. This will double-up your training. You can also focus on endurance-based reps and schemes during your weightlifting days by increasing weight doing 15+ reps each workout, or by doing more and more reps each time. This will triple your outcome by simply changing your 3 day workout. walking is incredibly low intensity, so while it might fatigue your leg muscles in the final stretch, I think you'll be okay. I think training only by walking will fatigue you to where you'll have to increase your recovery time between sessions, and itll definitely limit your workouts during the week, giving you less time to train, however keeping you working a lot harder. You can better your results and lessen the time you train by making weightlifting day adjustments.

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  • I have to say that I rarely disagree with you, but on this occasion I do. First, 5 kilometres can not be done in 30 minutes' walking, relaxed or otherwise (unless, of course, you are a well-conditioned 7-footer). At my peak, and as the fastest natural walker I have ever met, I might have covered 5 kilometres in 35 minutes, and not without effort. A normal ‘fit’ walking pace is around the 6.5 kilometres/hour required of this test, and candidates will have to maintain that for four hours. And that would be challenging for most people. – POD May 28 at 22:31
  • Secondly, although I agree that the pace demanded of the test is not particularly difficult to achieve, and in the manner you describe, the pace is not the primary challenge. Most people will tire considerably over the course of four hours, particularly if they are approaching the limits of their sustained maximum pace. This is where a solid base of long endurance work is irreplaceable. – POD May 28 at 22:42
  • I've timed myself before when walking on a 5km trail doing 45 min but maybe it wasn't a casual pace. Ok.. so let's say I remove that one sentence where I say it's easy? – Ace Cabbie May 29 at 2:19
  • (I understand you were probably just making an estimate without thinking too much about the actual figures.) Nevertheless, I think that most people, even relatively fit people, will tire after the first hour or two without significant training. And high-intensity intervals just do not prepare the body for that kind of distance. Basically, there is no short cut to long endurance. – POD May 29 at 8:38
  • It's not high intensity intervals it's metabolic conditioning workouts. You could combine both our methods so on weightlifting days do my method, and on others do yours – Ace Cabbie May 29 at 15:17

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