Varying your walking workouts will help build different aspects of fitness: speed, endurance, aerobic capacity.
For each workout, be sure to stop after 10 minutes and do some easy stretching. For the workouts above 70% of maximum heart rate (MHR), do a 10-minute warm-up walk at an easy pace, stretch, then speed up to the suggested rate. When the faster walking is done, slow down to an easy pace for 10 minutes and finish with stretching.
If you have only 15 minutes to get in a good walk, use these tips to maximize your 15-minute walk.
Easy Health Walk: 30 minutes daily at 50% to 60% of MHR. This is a purposeful but comfortable pace. Builds long-term health and well-being.
Weight Control Walk or Fat Burning Walk: 60% to 70% of MHR for 45 to 60 minutes daily. This is a brisk pace with noticeable breathing but you can still carry on a conversation. The longer time period at this moderate pace will burn calories and give the body time to draw on its fat stores for energy.
Distance/Endurance Walk: 65% to 80% of MHR for 5 to 10 miles. Once per week. Builds endurance. If you are planning to participate in a 5K or 10K race, your distance walk should exceed the race distance by a mile or two. Joining in a local non-competitive 10K volkssport walk is a perfect way to include this workout.
Aerobic Walk: 70% to 80% of MHR for 20 to 60 minutes, every other day. On the days in between, do the easy health walk or weight control walk. This is quick walking with noticeable breathing, but not out of breath. Improves aerobic fitness.
Athletic Performance Walk (Threshold): 80% to 92% of MHR for no more than 50 minutes. Once to three times per week, always with an easier or rest day in between. See the suggested walking week below for some formats for these walks. This is fast walking with heavy breathing and you may have to adopt racewalk technique or jog to attain this heart rate.
Economy Workouts: Short bouts of walking as fast as you can for 30 seconds, slow for 2 minutes, repeat 8 to 12 times. For racewalkers, this builds speed ability and technique. Once per week.