I walked a half marathon. I walked the Rock n Roll San Antonio Half Marathon in 3 hours and 10 minutes. Walking a half marathon may not seem like a big deal, but I get many comments about how people don’t sign up for races because they are afraid of walking.
When did walking become a problem? News flash: walking isn’t a bad thing. Walking burns the same amount of calories as running; it just may take you a bit longer. There’s nothing wrong with walking.
I’m not the first person to walk a half marathon, so I don’t think I’m special. I chose to walk this half marathon to show people fearful of walking during a race, and there’s no need to be worried. No one will laugh at you, and if they do, that’s on them. The people who are more likely to criticize you are the people who are doing nothing. You already have the leg up.
Sign up for that race you want to do and do it your way. You will cross the same finish line, wear the same shirt, and don the same medal as every other person who did those miles. Races are your victory lap for training, for enduring, for having the discipline to tackle a goal. The way your feet crossed the finish line is only your business.
I’m a runner; specifically, I’m a run/walker. This has been my preferred method for handling my runs since I started. I WALKED this half marathon to show others you can do the things you’re afraid of and stand proud at the end. I WALKED the half marathon to show hecklers don’t matter, fear shouldn’t hold you back, AND you can do a race your way. You CAN be proud at the finish line!
The most important thing is getting out there. Don’t let the fear of being the “only person walking” stop you from accomplishing a goal. You won’t be the only person walking. The people that left me at the start line became my walking mates around mile 10. We all encouraged each other to get to the end, no matter what method we took.
I had to get out of my head and walk. I trained for this race by walking my speed workouts and long “runs.”. Without training, I wouldn’t have been able to keep a consistent pace. I used my interval timer set to 3 minutes fast walking and 1 minute of leisurely “Sunday” stroll walking. My goal was to finish the half marathon in 3 hours, 30 minutes.
I also took the time to enjoy things on the course. I danced, I high fived. I drank beer and whiskey, I took pictures, and I talked to others along the way. It’s essential to have fun!
What I learned from walking a half marathon:
- More people are walking at some point during a race than you realize. I walked with a purpose, but I noticed a lot of people walking large chunks of the race. The only time I felt like I stood out was at the beginning of the race. I ran .20, so I wouldn’t get knocked over at the start.
- I didn’t think anyone would care that I was walking this race, even though I was walking for a reason. I had to stop myself from running. I just needed to realize as much as I wanted to show others to get active and get it done your way; I needed to walk this race for myself.
- Walking a half marathon requires training. The mechanics of walking are different from running. Gaining a solid walking pace requires lots of practice.
- Walking is strenuous. If you ever thought walking wasn’t a hard workout, I’m telling you different. I sweated just like everyone else. At some points, I was praying for my interval timer to go off so I could walk easily.
- Spectators see walking as a form of distress, but it’s not. Sometimes you want to walk. Walking doesn’t mean I’m struggling to make it to the end. It just means I’m walking.
- Walkers need to practice walking etiquette and move to the side of the road for people who are choosing a faster pace can navigate the race. I’m not downing walkers, but walking 5 friends abreast or in the middle of the road isn’t proper etiquette.
- Walking doesn’t take all day. My goal was 3 hours and 30 minutes, but I finished faster in 3 hours and 10 minutes. Walking doesn’t mean you will be the last person on course.
The course changed this year, and let me tell you it was HILLY. There were lots of climbs. I’m proud to say I could power walk those hills like a champ. Thanks, Peleton Digital, for those power walks.
There were a few great spots on course that I loved. I felt like the entertainment on course was a bit sparse this year. There were tons of spectators along the route, plus there were plenty of beer stops. This made the race more fun.
There are lots of people who run this race every year. It’s great to see people excited to accomplish a goal. Rock n Roll San Antonio is an excellent race for first-timers because it seems to be a lot of first time half marathoners/marathoners. Plus, the city embraces this race, which makes a difference in the experience.
Walking the race was a great experience I will cherish FOREVER! I don’t think I’m special, and I know I’m not the first person to walk a half marathon. My main goal in walking was the encourage others to get active and to be proud of their accomplishments. You can do your race, your way, and celebrate it at the end.
Have you ever run Rock n Roll San Antonio? What is your view of walkers on course?