How to Walk a Half Marathon

in All Posts

I’ve completed 32 races, including three half marathons. 


My first was way back in October 2008.  I ran the Jacksonville Marine Corps in 2:06:30.  I pushed extremely hard and was very happy with my time.


I ran my second Half Marathon a few months later, in February 2009.  I ran the Gasparilla Half Marathon in 2:03:00


I was satisfied with my new PR, but I knew I could better.  Then, I injured my knees while completing a 15-mile trail race in April and ended up taking 2.5 months off from running entirely.


I feel in LOVE with cycling as my knees healed (I still love cycling; Charlotte is just not really conducive to biking) and went on to do a Metric Century (60 miles).  I ended up doing another Metric and a Century (100 miles).


Through cross training, time off, and physical therapy, I bounced back and ran a sub-2:00 Half Marathon in December of 2009.  I was so proud with my 1:58:45 time.

Since December 2009, I haven’t done a Half.  It was a combination of wanting to do two Marathons and not really having any fun Half Marathons to do!


That’s why I was so excited to sign up for the DC National Half Marathon (and you guys know how that went down…) and the upcoming NYC Half Marathon.  My plan was to achieve a sub-1:55 finishing time on one (or both?) of these marathons, and I trained as intelligently as I could.  No overtraining, a little yoga, a little strength. 


I still don’t know what happened to my knee/leg on my March 10th 12.0-mile run, but whatever it was, it’s been bad enough to pretty much sideline me from running for the last three weeks.  This injury dashed all my hopes of running the DC National Half last weekend, and I think it’s going to ruin my hopes of running in the NYC Half Marathon this weekend, too.


So, about this Sunday’s Half Marathon…


  • I’m still going to NYC this weekend!  My mom and I are making into a big mother/daughter field trip.  🙂


  • However… there is zero way I can run a 1:55, let alone a sub-2:00, Half Marathon in NYC.  Even if my knee was back to 100%, I am now super undertrained


  • My knee/leg feels great on an everyday basis.  No pain when I sit, walk, or do yoga.  However, this is how it felt last week, too, and the moment I began to run, it hurt.  I haven’t run a step since last Friday.


  • I’m going to do a test run either today (if weather allows my Girls on the Run troop to run their Practice 5K) or Saturday night in my hotel gym.


  • Depending on what my test run reveals, I will walk/run the Half Marathon (which would be AWESOME) OR I will entirely walk the race since I know I can walk without pain.  I am NOT missing another race.


So – this is where I need help.  As you can tell from my race history, I am used to running Half Marathons.  I have never walked 13.1 miles in my entire life, and I have a sneaking suspicion that walking a Half Marathon is a totally different animal than running one. 


Part of me is afraid walking a Half Marathon will hurt more (generally, not my specific injury) because the race will last for 3:00 instead of 2:00!  I’ve never done anything like this and have a million questions: 


  • I have no clue how to pace myself for a walking race – should I just casually stroll or walk with a purpose?  How fast? 


  • Is there race etiquette about walking an entire race? Should I try to stick to one side instead of being in the middle of the course? 


  • Also, should I fuel mid-race as I normally would during a Half Marathon, taking in calories via Gatorade or Gu?  Or do I not need to worry about that as much?


  • And last, but not least, is there anyone else doing the More/Fitness Half Marathon this weekend that would like to walk or walk/run with me?! I’m going to be so lonely. 🙁


Walkers – I need your help!



  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 31, 2011, 8:36 am

    That’s awesome you’re still doing it walking! I can’t wait to hear about it – bet it’s a totally different experience.

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 31, 2011, 8:36 am

    Aww. I wish I could do it with you! That would be pretty fun.

    I don’t think you should just be non-chalant about it and casually stroll. But given your determination I don’t think you would do that anyway. I bet you always walk with a purpose.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat March 31, 2011, 8:38 am

    This sounds like fun!! I am not really a walker (every time I try I end up moving into a run!) but I’m sure a lot of your racing experience will help to prepare you. Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  • Dori March 31, 2011, 8:41 am

    When you get back home after this weekend, I think you should get yourself an MRI. It is important to know what exactly you are dealing with. I don’t have any advice on walking a half, but I would say walk with purpose as much as you can.

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 8:49 am

      I wish I could but my health insurance blows and there is no way I am paying out of pocket for an MRI for a sports injury, which odds are they will just say rest. If I think I’ve torn something and need surgery, that would be different, but I don’t think that is the case (THANK GOD).

      • Dori March 31, 2011, 8:52 am

        That makes sense. I was speaking from my own experience, in which case I DID tear something. Oy.

      • kat March 31, 2011, 9:31 am

        i was told by 2 doctors to simply ‘rest’ a knee injury. I followed their orders and it seemed ok, but would flare up occasionally. Thankfully MRIs are free down here in Oz so when it flared up for what seemed like the umpteenth time, i got it checked out and discovered I’d been walking/running with 2 big tears in my meniscus. i honestly thought the (very) intermittent pain was a result of overuse. Surgery was my only fix in the end.

        Anyways….I guess my point is…if this continues, get it checked out! other than that you are more sensible than I ever was and listen to your body. I was a bit daft 🙁

      • Susan March 31, 2011, 10:56 am

        I was having problems with my knee last winter. Of course, when I went to the dr, no amount of manipulating my leg resulted in any pain or discomfort. She told me to rest and take ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. I’ll occasionally have a little discomfort in my knee, but as long as I stretch and foam roll, it doesn’t bother me.

  • Megan @ Sweet On... March 31, 2011, 8:43 am

    I don’t have any advice re: pacing, etc, but this could be a great opportunity for you to be an in-race cheering section for the runners! Operation Beautiful messages on your clothes, encouraging words, etc! I don’t think you’ll be lonely at all 🙂

  • Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run March 31, 2011, 8:46 am

    All the walkers usually (or should) start in the back. So you don’t have to worry about being on a particular side. Drink water and fuel if you feel you need it. I think personally, I wouldn’t fuel if I was just walking because I don’t need the burst of energy. Just eat a good snack afterwards.

    The other walkers will definitely keep you company if you can’t find anyone to walk with you. I mean, I find friend while running races, so no worries there.

    Oh, and the best part about walking it….no blurry pictures! You’ll get to take amazing pictures on your route!

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 8:49 am

      I love your last point!

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg March 31, 2011, 8:49 am

    I would say to fuel yourself during the race — you are walking for about 3 hours, you need fuel! I see walkers in races all the time, generally they stick to the sides of the street and runners are in the middle — I’m sure the race will be marked (walkers/slow runners start here, etc). I’ve always seen signs. And maybe you’ll find a walker or two that you can pace with.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey March 31, 2011, 8:49 am

    I’ve never walked a race either,but it sounds like fun! A little different of an experience, but I think you’d have a great time!

  • Carole March 31, 2011, 8:50 am

    I was injured after my first half marathon (2007) and ended up walking my second one 6 weeks later. Like you, I was determined not to miss it, but running was out of the question, based on my experience, you will definitely want to fuel during your race (13 miles is 13 miles!) and the best way to make the miles fly is to talk to other walkers and thank as many volunteers as possible. You might actually be surprised how much company you have. Lining up with the 2 hour pace group, I never had any idea how many walkers were behind me. I found out at that race that there were a TON of walking women! And because you can actually talk and walk at the same time, it’s a great chance to meet some new friends. Good luck! Can’t wait to hear all about it.

  • Carole March 31, 2011, 8:52 am

    Sorry for the run on sentences and comma errors. This new phone is killing me!

  • Meredith March 31, 2011, 8:53 am

    Just a warning – walking a half marathon will hurt more than running a full marathon! A few years ago I was planning on running the Columbus half-marathon with a friend. I had set a half-marathon PR earlier in the year, so my goal for Columbus was to finish with my friend at whatever pace was comfortable for her. She was dealing with an Achilles injury, so she said let’s just walk until my Achilles warms up, and then we will run. Well, we walked for 13.1 miles! We had a great time and it was actually pretty interesting to walk the course and have the time to take in all of the race day surroundings that you might miss if you are in the zone with running. BUT, my legs and feet hurt SO BAD by the end of the race. Running and walking use different muscles, so while I was well trained to run 13.1 miles, I was not well trained to walk the same distance. Plus, you are on your feet for much longer. I normally run half’s around 2:00, but it took us 3:15 to walk the course. Not trying to be Debbie Downer, just wanted to let you know my experience with walking a half!

    • katy March 31, 2011, 8:19 pm

      totally agree! i walked/ran my first half marathon in sept after an achilles injury. technically, i was still injured, but anyway. ran some of it, but walked a LOT (finished in 2:50). and i was incredibly sore the next day.

      just walk/run at whatever pace you can. try to stay to the side when you’re walking. and you’ll definitely want to take gu or gatorade or something – remember that you’ll be exercising for longer!

      most importantly, have fun! if you’re not going to PR, just ENJOY it! i just did a half in NYC 2 weeks ago, and it was AMAZING. good luck!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg March 31, 2011, 8:53 am

    I’ve never walked a race either– I’ll be interested to see people’s comments! Good luck in the race, and good for you for walking it instead of just dropping out!!!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) March 31, 2011, 8:53 am

    You have such a great attitude! I love your positive slant on things. I am not a runner, but I think I would enjoy walking a half some time. I’m interested in what others have to say on this.

  • lauren March 31, 2011, 8:54 am

    My husband is a super fast runner, but had tendonitis in his hip last fall. We had already signed up for the Outer Banks half & planned the trip. His PT cleared him to walk the whole race. We were thinking he’d finish in 4ish hours. He got his head and the game, walked with a purpose, fueled w/gatorade on the way and FINISHED in 2:56!!!! He said it was humbling to him to walk the entire race, but gave him a new respect for those who compete as walkers in distance races.

    So, even with an injury, walking a race is something to be very proud of as well. Best of luck this weekend!

    • Lindsay March 31, 2011, 9:27 am

      As someone who can no longer run due to injury and has walked many races, I really love this comment. Your husband and Caitlin both are showing such respect for walkers and I really appreciate that.

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life March 31, 2011, 8:54 am

    Be careful! There will be lots of walkers there, so you’ll have good company!

  • Nikki @ BareFootPrint March 31, 2011, 8:57 am

    Caitlin, I am terribly sorry! Injuries are the pits! I have been sidelines for about a week now due to a nasty cold and I am finally going to get back out there. You are doing a great job at giving your body the time it needs. Please let us know (which I know you will) how the walk goes, I am sure you will be a great support for others who may be in the exact same boat as you this coming Sunday!

  • Freya March 31, 2011, 8:58 am

    Great decision!
    I do a lot of walking most days, and find that you do need to take in cals walking – cos after all, you’re still covering 13miles, just slower. If you slow-jogged a half mary, no-one would tell you not to eat, whereas if you ran it fast, everyone would tell you to eat!

    My stepdad is a big walker, and regularly does 13-15mile walks – he eats on theway, and is often much hungrier than normal later (suggesting he does burn a lot). He once dragged my mum round a 13mile walk (she doesn’t walk!) and she was definitely feeling it at the end…!

    I think you should walk with purpose (if it doesn’t hurt). If I walk at a good speed, I do just over 3miles in an hour, so you’d probs be looking at 4hrs. 🙂

    Other than that..I have no advice! NYC trip will be fun either way 🙂

    • kristinp March 31, 2011, 10:26 am

      Yupyup! I agree. I’ve always heard calorie burn is associated with distance, not with speed. You burn *slightly* more calories running all out, but basically whether running or walking, you are propelling your body over the same distance, you are just taking more time to do it. Fuel as you would fuel if you were running. You may not need as much water because you won’t be sweating as much, but you will still be burning the same number of calories 🙂 Runner’s World and most of the other running advice places say this too.

      Good luck and enjoy the experience!

      • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:47 pm

        Great tips… I really appreciate it.

  • Nicole, RD March 31, 2011, 8:59 am

    I’m a walk/run advocate! I would just have a plan and stick to it. I take it you have a way to get your pace (a garmin maybe?). I would personally try for a 12-13 minute/mile speed walk for 3 minutes, followed by a 15 minute/mile walk for 2 minutes. And just keep pushing yourself during those faster walks. I have short little legs, so that’s pushing it for me, but you probably know what walking pace is good for you 🙂 HAVE FUN!

  • Lisa Fine March 31, 2011, 8:59 am

    I think this is a great idea. There must be websites for people who join walk-a-thons and things, that offer advice for walking long distances.

    While I’ve never walked a half marathon, I have hiked for about that distance in one day, and while it works different muscle groups, make sure to stay hydrated, and to still stretch and foam roll when you’re done.

  • Keri March 31, 2011, 9:00 am

    I have done a run/walk for three half marathons, so I have a bit of advice! You should definitely plan to walk at a brisk pace – if you walk at a 15:00/mile pace, you’ll be done in 3:15 or so. It does take longer and uses different muscles, so it will still be hard – but even though you’ve been resting, you’re in great shape, so it shouldn’t be a problem for you.

    Definitely start in the back, so you don’t end up in front of any runners. If you are walking the whole way, keep in mind that some people at the back will be run/walking – so at least at the beginning (when there are lots of people), staying to the side is a nice thing to do, since some people may be running intermittently.

    I would recommend taking in a bit of fuel during the race – 3+ hours is a long time to be on your feet! Maybe some Gu or some chews every hour or so? Also, don’t worry about being lonely – bring the headphones in case you end up all alone for a while, but you can definitely make friends along the course, too! Good luck 🙂

  • Aneta March 31, 2011, 9:02 am

    i have walked a half marathon last year. It was hard. it was prolly harder than running it. I say you just take your time and see how ur knee feels. do hydrate and fuel. I think i had with me some Gu Chomps and some pretzels. I ate 2 gu chomps and maybe a handfull of pretzels. and drank a lot of water.
    the good thing with walking a half, is that you can go to the sidelines and stretch it out all and getting back into the groove of things is much easier. its easier to find ur pace and stride after a small stretching break.
    Also, i took my camera with me and took tons of pix. it was a very enjoyable race bc i got to talk to other walkers and spectators!
    u will do great!

  • Brandy March 31, 2011, 9:03 am

    I walked the Flying Pig half last year with my mom (her first half marathon!) and I’m typically a runner, too. I didn’t train to walk this race, and about a mile into it thought, oh boy, this is going to be a LONG day!

    We just lined up with the walkers in the back and never had to worry about where we were. It will thin out just fine for those who might want to run every once in a while. As for fuel, I’m sure you can make it to the finish line without any problems, but depending on how early you have to have breakfast to make it to the finish line you might want something with you as it could be quite a while till your next meal!

    I agree that it will use different muscles, and you’ll also need to be careful about blisters. But I definitely recommend a good ‘power walk’ – with most course cut-offs you have to or you won’t make it in time!

    Good luck and have fun!

    • Brandy March 31, 2011, 9:03 am

      PS, when I say I didn’t train, I mean I didn’t train specifically for this race. I was training for my first half-iron triathlon, so I was definitely training!

  • Aimee March 31, 2011, 9:03 am

    I think your attitude is awesome! I have a feeling there will be lots of HTP and Operation Beautiful fans willing to join you along the way. Have fun in NYC with your mom. Can’t wait for the recap.

  • Jackie March 31, 2011, 9:04 am

    I walked the Houston half marathon with my sister after she messed up her knee. My advice would be to start in the back with the walkers. Runners will probably still pass you, just try and stay to the side. I did walk with a purpose, and in fact still found it fun to pass people! Refuel if you need too. I was out there for 3.5 hrs total so I had some shot blocks and orange slices plus plenty of water! I did not need any gatorade.

  • Stacy March 31, 2011, 9:05 am

    My very first half marathon was the More/Fitness two years ago. You couldn’t pick a better half to walk! There are TONS of walkers in this race. Just line up in the back and stick to the right so people can pass you.

    I don’t have any pointers in terms of pacing, but if you have the endurance to run a marathon, you certainly have the endurance to walk a half. You can do it!

  • Lindsey @ SoundEats March 31, 2011, 9:07 am

    Walking still burns an ok amount of calories/ mile, especially if you’re walking at a decent pace for yourself. I know for myself, the difference between calories burned in a mile of walking versus calories burned in a mile of running is only around a 20-30 calorie difference. So that said, I don’t know your body and how much energy it typically expends, but you could still be burning upwards of 1,000+ calories by walking, depending on how fast you walk. I would probably at least take Gatorade if it’s offered. 🙂

    Also – if you’re able to, try run/walking the half. I’ve been doing run/walk intervals and it makes the time go by super fast because you’re counting down smaller increments of time! I ran/walk my first half and then also a 15k a couple weeks ago. It was fun!

    On another note, and to make this comment even longer, I know how you feel. Something has happened with the arch of my foot where I can walk and stand on it all day long, but the second I start running I get shooting pain radiating through my arch and bottom of my foot. I haven’t run since that 15k! 🙁

    • Amara@GirlinaWhirl March 31, 2011, 1:12 pm

      Sounds like plantar fasciitis. Get it checked out. The sooner you can get it to heal the better chance you have of it not becoming a chronic problem –like my left foot versus my right. I got smart when it showed up in my right foot too. My left I ignored it, and now it’s been over a year and it’s still flaring up.

  • Sarah March 31, 2011, 9:11 am

    I walked a full marathon and I did the whole Gu/Gatorade thing, but when I walked a half marathon, I just did Gatorade. I don’t know if it was necessarily needed, but I trained in the summer when Gatorade was a must, so that’s what I was used to. Definitely walk with purpose! Keep your arms bent at waist level and swing them as you walk. It may feel silly, but it helps!

    I was uber paranoid about being in the way. For my marathon there was an early start for TNT walkers, so at first it wasn’t bad, but eventually the elite runners passed us, and it started getting a little hairy. I just stuck to the side and figured that at least that way I’d be easy to get around if needed. At my half, I was in the last corral, and everyone there should have been slow like me, so I didnt worry.

    And again, I really recommend the arm thing! I’m half asleep, so if it wasn’t clear….if you sit on the floor and practice swinging the, your hands should never touch the ground.

    • Lindsay March 31, 2011, 9:23 am

      Yes – good point about bending your arms! People think that this is all about speed, but really it helps your circulation. If you walk more casually with your arms down for that long, your hands will begin to swell terribly! So, keep those arms and hands up and moving!

      • Sarah March 31, 2011, 9:29 am

        That’s what got me over how silly I felt. It felt so awful to walk with my arms down, and I’d rather look silly than feel awful! I see walkers at races walking “normally” and I don’t know how they do it!

        • Angie (Losing It and Loving It) March 31, 2011, 10:41 am

          Oh I forgot to mention the terrible hand swelling! Definitely keep the arms moving and bending. Great tip!

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:46 pm

      I will keep my arms bent! Thanks girls!

  • June March 31, 2011, 9:14 am

    definitely start at the back if there is no early start for walkers (i just did one this past weekend where walkers started 1/2 half earlier; and note that they stayed either WAY to the right or up on the sidewalk which luckily they had). Its very frustrating for runners of any speed to have to dodge around walkers especially when more than 2 abreast.

    i will say this…its HARD. I cant even stand to have to walk a little because it just takes SO LONG! HA!

    I told my friend who walked the 13.1 on Sunday where i ran that it, in my opinion is WAY harder than running one (she was out there for over 3:20 and it was hot and humid).

    I seriously do not think I could walk a half marathon so kudos to you!!

  • Michelle March 31, 2011, 9:16 am

    I would say for sure go into the last corral. I was considering running the More half and almost every review I read mentioned the large amount of walkers. It will feel lonely at first but I bet you make friends! 🙂

    Good luck! I hope you still have a great time because NYC is one of the greatest places in the world and Central Park is beautiful!

  • Lindsay March 31, 2011, 9:20 am

    You will do great! As everyone has said, walking uses very different muscles and for some reason tends to cause more shin pain for me, personally. I would definitely fuel and hydrate throughout the race, maybe not as much as if you were running, but definitely some. You are going to be working hard to walk that far, especially if there are hills, so you will need the fuel.

    When I walk a race, I try to keep my pace below or close to a 15 min mile. That keeps me ahead of most of the walkers and on pace with the slowest runners and run/walkers. That will be hard to keep up for 13.1 without training at that pace, but it could be a goal pace. Super fast speed walkers can do races way faster than that even. Olympic walkers are super fast!

    Anyway, best of luck! Enjoy it!

  • jen @ taste life March 31, 2011, 9:20 am

    Caitlin, so sorry you’re still not 100%. I have a feeling this will be an interesting and challenging race for you, and I’m pretty sure you’ll learn something from it. I wish you could run, but I am really, really interested in hearing about how it goes to walk it!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape March 31, 2011, 9:21 am

    Good for you for still walking it! If that were me I probably would have just given up all together. Unfortunately I really have no advice for you. Good luck, though!

  • Sonali March 31, 2011, 9:23 am

    hi caitlin!

    i’m so sorry that you’re dealing with an injury – i completely understand the frustration! i don’t have a lot of walking recommendations, other than i think it would be good to fuel up before and during the race and then lots of stretching, foam-rolling, cross-training as you recover. you will feel better soon!

    i’m actually really bummed that i won’t be in NYC this weekend, otherwise i would have gone out and cheered for (+ walked some) with you! but…i wanted you to know that GOTR-NYC is having a cheering squad out there this sunday (they’ll be on the west side of the park near 77th street), so you should look out for them!

    good luck and looking forward to hearing all about it!

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:46 pm

      I cannot wait to see the GOTR cheering squad!

  • Amy B @ Second City Randomness March 31, 2011, 9:24 am

    I’m currently sidelined with a half marathon scheduled on the 10th. Every day I try to figure out if I’m going to attempt it or drop out. I’m extremely stubborn, so my thought process has been anything but reasonable.

    Tonight’s my first test run in a week. Good luck with yours!

    And yes- the walking is WAY different. Last year I was running 5-milers on a regular basis and then one day did a 7-mile walk with my friend. It KILLED me.

  • Karen March 31, 2011, 9:34 am

    I can’t rely on personal experience, as I’ve never walked or run a race. (Although I have done 15 mi hikes to camp for a weekend:)

    I won’t bore you with the repeat of what she said, but I think it’s sound advice!

    Your sad face and “being lonely” thing makes me want to head up to NY with you SO BAD! I wish I could, but I wouldn’t have babysitting for the kiddies cause the hubby is working Sat night. I know you’ll make friends along the way though!

    Good luck! Can’t wait to see your recap!

  • Laura March 31, 2011, 9:35 am

    Hurray for walkers! 🙂 Here are my tips…

    – As others have said, try to stick to a 15 min/mile pace (about 4-5 mph if you’re on a treadmill). You may want to try a 45 minute walk today so you can get a sense of what walking briskly for a longer period of time feels like.
    – Warm up and stretch before the race, and cool down and stretch afterwards as you would with any sport.
    – Keep your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle and drive your elbows back (when running arms tend to swing further front).
    – If you feel like you are slowing down, swing your arms a little quicker and your legs will catch up. Not sure if this is a “real” tip, but it works for me. haha
    – You may want to keep a small baggie of pretzels or something in your pocket and eat a few every 45 – 60 minutes. You won’t need the caffiene that is in some of the gels, etc.
    – Keep an eye on how much you drink on the course. Since it will be longer until you cross the finish line, it’s longer before you can take a potty break. 😉 I usually alternate water and sports drink.
    – Try to stay upright versus leaning forward slightly as you would when running
    – Try to avoid taking long steps. You’ll move faster with a short stride
    – Since you’ve never walked this far you may want to “gear up” as you would if you were running the race (i.e., sports bra, Body Glide, etc.)
    – Stay toward the back of the pack and side of the road. If you are going around a corner, peek behind yourself to see if a runner is coming up behind you looking to cut in close.

    Have fun!!

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:45 pm

      Great tips, thank you so much!

  • chloe@ 321delish March 31, 2011, 9:41 am

    your passion and determination is inspirational. I have been an athlete my entire life and have struggled with injury and know how hard it is to not be able to have your body do what your mind wants to do.

    I could see the race this weekend turning into one of the most important races of your life 🙂 and the most successful race! keep it up 🙂

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:44 pm

      thank you chloe 🙂 i really appreciate it.

  • Kristen March 31, 2011, 9:41 am

    I’ve never walked a half, but my mum, dad, mother-in-law, and father-in-law all have. Here are some things that I’d do if I was walking:
    1- walk with purpose. I’d try to stick with a really decent walking pace if I could.

    2- pictures! I’d take pictures of the fun signs, the water stations, the weird things on the side of the road. (and as someone else said- they pics won’t be blurry!)

    3-tweet! i expect to see twitter updates from you throughout the race 🙂

    4- Eat real food! I’d totally bring a sandwich. Though at the same time, walking with purpose may not be conducive to sandwich eating. Maybe a half PB and J. But I wouldn’t eat Gu, I’d go with Gu Chomps (mmm…peach tea Gu Chomps). I can’t do the chomps when I’m running, but walking, definitely.

    5- Make friends. If I didn’t know anyone walking, I’d find a group of walkers and chat for a bit. Walking alone isn’t as fun 🙂

    Have fun! It will definitely be a different race experience for you!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat March 31, 2011, 9:46 am

    One year I walked the same half marathon that I usually run and it was a totally different experience! The cool thing is, you see so much more of the course and you can really take in the sights. I took so many pictures! I also stopped to pet a few doggies 🙂 Usually the runners disperse and the walkers are all together so you really don’t have to stay out of anyone’s way. I tried to keep the same pace through the whole course, which was about a 15 min/mile. I just kept an eye on my watch and picked it up when I felt I needed to. As far as fuel, I just tried to listen to my body and I think I just stuck to water and orange slices during the race. I did refuel with a sports drink and a granola bar afterward. I hope however you do the race that it is a good experience for you 🙂

  • Dianne March 31, 2011, 9:48 am

    My dad’s walked many a race since he’s gotten older and had several injuries from jogging/dancing. He super speedwalks it, though, using his arms a lot and doing probably 5mph. Since walkers usually start behind the runners, I don’t think you need to worry about “etiquette.” And we burn just as many calories per MILE walking as running, so you should probably plan to fuel. Good luck! This will be a challenging mental race, for sure!

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations March 31, 2011, 9:49 am

    My two cents: You should refuel some because you’ll be exercising longer… even though it’s not at the same cardiovascular level of work. The crowd will thin out, and you won’t have to worry about whether you’re in someone’s way. Just enjoy it. I’d start out walking a little faster, which would leave room to slow down toward then end if you need to.

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope March 31, 2011, 9:58 am

    This is wonderful Caitlin… love how you’re turning a negative into a positive. Walking the race is going to be a lot of fun because you’ll still be a part of the action. If I was going, I’d definitely be there next to you. 🙂

    And it’s great that you have another one to look forward to in the near future. GOOD LUCK!

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul March 31, 2011, 9:58 am

    yayy have fun! and….in my opinion, I think that walking with a purpose will give you more motivation? 🙂

  • Ashley @ Feeding Ashley March 31, 2011, 10:00 am

    I can’t really help with the calorie thing, but I definitely think walking is going to be a bit different if not hard. Your calves are definitely going to burn if you walk a fast walk the whole time, and if NYC doesn’t have a time limit walk you own pace on the sidelines.
    I’m sorry about your knee 🙁

  • Kara March 31, 2011, 10:02 am

    I have never walked a race, but I have hiked that far before. I say that fueling is still important while walking, but do it by mileage and not time (like mile 7 instead of 1 hour). Walking uses different muscles, so I bet you’ll be sore the next day!

  • Kara March 31, 2011, 10:03 am

    Also, I know a guy who spedwalked a marathon and he said that starting near the back is critical to not trip up any runners. Then just stay to the side and no one can (rightfully) complain!

  • katie March 31, 2011, 10:04 am

    i ran the more/fitness half last year, and there are plenty of women who walk this half so you definitely won’t be “alone” in the park [and you seem like you’d be able to make friends pretty easily on the course]. i’d definitely bring some sort of fuel with you though – from what i remember they didn’t provide gels on the course, and i’d be starving walking for 3+ hours without anything besides gatorade and water. and i’d just walk as fast as needed to finish under the 4 hour mark.

    good luck!

  • Laurel March 31, 2011, 10:10 am

    I haven’t read all the other comments, so sorry if this has been said already- I made the mistake of wearing my ‘cross training’ (i.e. older running shoes) when I walked a 10k with my mom- Mistake! As I saw one commenter say, your legs and feet get beat up differently when you’re walking vs. running, so be sure to wear really supportive shoes. And just enjoy it, you’re doing something healthy 🙂

  • Genna March 31, 2011, 10:18 am

    I am SO glad you wrote up this post. I signed up (a long time ago) do do a 1/2 marathon in May and had been training for it. I was also just sidelined with IT band/knee swelling and have to take a bunch of time off. My sports therapist said that running the 1/2 would be out of the question, so I had thought about walking it. It’s good to hear some advice on what to do and how to go about things. Everyone’s comments have been such a big help! Thanks!!

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:44 pm

      🙂 I hope you feel better soon.

  • Jordan (Ciao Cow) March 31, 2011, 10:18 am

    I ran ran/walked my lsat half marathon due to injury to. My two suggestions are to stick to the less congested side, and if you are transitioning from running to walking, look behind you to make sure you don’t cut someone off. Good luck!

  • Sarah March 31, 2011, 10:18 am

    Walking a half marathon can be like running one but there are some differences. I trained for the Avon 2-Day Walk (where we walked a marathon on Saturday and then a half marathon on Sunday) and my training plan built progressively over time, just like with running.
    One of the biggest differences is that you will be on your feet for a lot longer than if you were running so you should be prepared to “feel it” a little more. Just like with running you have to make sure you don’t go out too fast and you want to try to keep a steady pace. I naturally walk pretty fast so I used that pace during the event and in training. I have to admit though, the last couple of miles each day during the Avon Walk were done much slower. Since you’re recovering from injury I wouldn’t push your pace too hard – finishing will be a wonderful accomplishment!
    Fueling is still important for walking. I like to think it happens around the same mileage as with running, not based on time. I found success with half water/half Gatorade mixes to sip on during water stations and would have some kind of fuel every 6 miles earlier in on marathon day and 4 towards the end of the day and during the half (because I was still tired and super hungry from the day before). Listen to your body though – if you start feeling slightly faint then you should by all means eat something!
    Also, wear your running shoes – I trained and “competed” in running shoes vs. walking or cross trainers because of the support, structure, and grip they offered. Avon actually told us to wear running shoes over anything else!
    Good luck! 🙂

  • Sarah for Real March 31, 2011, 10:21 am

    Hey there injury twinsie! I’m SO interested to see how your walking goes. I have a feeling you will still have a blast. I am not sure if I’ll be able to even walk my 12k (aches to walk, sit, sleep, swim…) but it’s a month away still so I’m hoping for a miraculous recovery. I wasn’t sure about walking in a 50,000 person event that’s just here in town because… I think it would be so stinking long (just 12k HA!) and boring. Am I just being a poopy pants here? Maybe I need an attitude adjustment and I think reading about you walking a half might help, you are always so inspiring 🙂

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:43 pm

      Hey twinsie!!! Heheh How is your injury going? You need to find a friend to walk with.

  • Audrey March 31, 2011, 10:22 am

    I have run a half marathon, but I also walked a half marathon for the Jimmy Fund in Boston (everyone walked it). I think the walking was a great experience for a half! You should definitely train a bit for walking, as it uses completely different muscles than running does (found this out from experience, haha). Just keep a brisk pace, fuel part of the way through, and stretch your muscles just as well as you would for a run. Good luck, Caitlin!

  • Lindsey March 31, 2011, 10:22 am

    I admire your determination and spirit. I’m battling a knee injury that I simply don’t want to acknowledge because I don’t want to be told to stop, or rest.
    You’re going to be walking through NYC with thousands of other people! It’ll be fun regardless of running or walking. You could probably skip through the whole thing and have a blast. Good luck and I hope your knee starts cooperating!

  • Theresa @ActiveEggplant March 31, 2011, 10:23 am

    I have tons of experience walking HMs! I walked FOUR of them in late 2009/early 2010 due to an ankle injury & managed to shave 30 min off of my time from the 1st to the 4th! For me, walking was much more rewarding than not being out there at all, but it is certainly a different beast!
    1. Your feet/legs will HURT in a whole different way. It’s the feet the most for me – walking seems to make my foot move around in my shoe/sock much more than running, so your feet may feel a little “raw” by the time you’re done. And since walking is a different movement, your legs will be a “different” kind of tired after 13.1 than they would be from running.
    2. Stay to the right (and towards the back of the pack) during the beginning until the pack thins out – then you can pretty much be wherever you want, just yielding right for any runners coming from behind.
    3. Walk with a purpose if you WANT. But if you want to take it easy, stroll along at an easy pace. (I tried to keep my pace up so it was still like a “race” for me – more of a mental thing than anything.)
    4. Definitely have some fuel with you. Even though you won’t be going at the same intensity, you’ll likely need something just because of the length of time you’re out there. You may not need as much as normal, but I always ended up using Gu as often as I did on long runs, just because I got hungry out there!
    5. HAVE FUN! Walkers can be a pretty chatty bunch, so live it up & make new friends! There are a lot of people out there walking that have never done the distance before so they like lots of encouragement, and they’ll give it right back!

    Hope you have a good time! Walking a long race is definitely a whole different bag of candy, but it’s can definitely be a good experience if you go in with the right mindset!

  • Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment March 31, 2011, 10:24 am

    While I’ve never “technically” walked a half, I’ve walked the distance before, more than once (6 hours of Relay for Life and a penchant for going on weekend “adventure walks” will do that).

    I think I remember you saying that you have short-ish legs, like me, which made a big difference when I would walk with friends with a longer stride — try to avoid pushing TOO fast, or your calves will cramp early on. For them, 13 consecutive 15min/mi are no problem, and while I can walk a few 15 minute miles, after about 5, I end up dying…. so I had to lower my expectation to 15:30-16 min miles. It’s the same strategy as running; START SLOWER than your actual race pace, so that you can build from that.

    I also think taking in calories *is* important; you’re still burning ridiculous amounts. Case in point: I always assumed I was burning around 200 for my 2.1 mile walk to work, but I wore my HRM yesterday just for kicks… and I was actually burning around 350, and that was for 18min/mi since it was nice and I was kind of strolling… multiply for 13.1 miles and you’ve got a LOT of calories to make up 🙂

  • Angie (Losing It and Loving It) March 31, 2011, 10:26 am

    My first race ever was walking the Reggae Marathon half marathon in Jamaica last Dec. I was not able to run due to breathing issues so I can’t really tell you the difference. I just know that it was nothing like I expected. I was able to walk over 10+ miles here in IL on hills but it was totally different in Jamaica, flat HOT and all I could do was play it by ear. Tons of blisters at mile 8 was not helpful but I still made it to the end thanks to a supportive hubby LOL

    We ate those sport beans to keep energy up and they had water and Gatorade packs at every mile so that’s what we did. Wish I could help but that was my first race and probably my last long distance (although Kev and I are thinking about walking the Disney Princess half sometime if they permit that).

    I would check with the race directors to make sure you can walk it. I have heard some races don’t permit walking at all. Looking forward to reading the other tips you get.

  • Lindsey March 31, 2011, 10:27 am

    Hi, Caitlyn! I’m sorry your injury is keeping you from running another Half, but you can definitely walk it! You shouldn’t worry about walking off to the side because the crowd will thin out. I would take some Gatorade/Gu with you and if you feel that you need it, take it. I’d rather have it with me and not need it than need it and not have it. You might be a little more sore during the race from walking. In my opinion, when you run a half it doesn’t hurt until it’s over but when you walk the soreness is felt sooner (at least for me it is!) I hope you have a great time and I look forward to hearing your recap 🙂

  • DC Runographer March 31, 2011, 10:29 am

    Caitlin, you should think of it as a race you don’t have to walk, but jog slowly. I hurt my IT band recently and have been taking it slow, much slower than I usually run, to ensure I don’t make it worse. I’m sure you could do a combination this weekend of walking and jogging without making your injuries worse.

  • Mia March 31, 2011, 10:29 am

    well, do they say that walking 13 miles burns the same amount of calories as running 13 miles. So, if you’re used to eating on your long runs, you should probably plan to eat the same number of calories on your long walk.

    In terms of etiquette, I would urge you to get into one of the back corals. As someone who has run half marathons before, you know it can be very frustrating to have to weave in and out of walkers or slower runners when you are trying to get a PR, or just run your best.

    I also think if I were you I would try running at least a little bit of the way. I think you will feel about it in the end AND, it would be a lot less boring than walking 13 miles, which will take a significant amount of time.

  • Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt March 31, 2011, 10:30 am

    I think its great that you still want to participate!

    I walked the Avon Walk last year which was about 39.1 miles (a marathon the first day and a half the second). My biggest tip is to not start off to fast. Its a long period of walking and people ALWAYS bolt out and loose steam. Its easy to do because its “just walking”. 😉

    Good luck!

  • Khushboo March 31, 2011, 10:32 am

    Good luck! Am sure it will be a great experience! I would suggest downloading some good podcasts/books to listen to…it will ease the extra hour or so!

  • Kelly March 31, 2011, 10:33 am

    I think that you should walk with intention but not to the point where you are pushing it. I know you will be walking but don’t underestimate walking! It is still hard and walking 13.1 miles will still put a lot pressure on your knees and joints.

  • Tay March 31, 2011, 10:42 am

    Good for you for keeping a positive attitude and still doing the race! My first half marathon, I walked with my mom and her friends. We didn’t power walk exactly (like you would for exercise), but we didn’t just stroll casually either. We kept up a comfortable talking pace. I fueled mid-race (I’d say around mile 7 I think) with a granola bar just because I was HUNGRY! Like you said, the race lasts so much longer. And since you’re not torturing your body as much as you would with running (har har), you’re more aware of hunger.

    And as someone who’s ran races popular with walkers (especially Team in Training), I would say just try and stay to the side and be aware of people around you. Don’t just randomly stop and block. But of course I’m sure you know this as well!

  • SarahC March 31, 2011, 10:43 am

    I haven’t had a chance to read all of the comments so ‘m sorry if I repeat what others have said, but …

    I think it is GREAT that you’ve decided to go ahead and walk the half – both because you are being smart about your injury and health in the long run, and because you are not letting it get the best of you and give up!

    Although it’s not what you originally invisioned, this is a great new challenge! You’ve never done this before! You will probably learn something new about your body and work different muscles than when you run. My advice is to embrace this challenge whole-heartedly and come up with new goals for the race … like a sub 3 hour walk or taking amazing pictures. Maybe post an Operation Beautiful note or two along the way! My guess is that when this is over you will be super proud of taking on a new challenge and getting creative about how you “live healthfully.”

    Oh yeah, AND HAVE FUN!!! 🙂

  • Amy March 31, 2011, 10:46 am

    Because the race is two and a half loops of the Park Drive, I’d say that you’d want to be sure to stay a little on the outside (not hugging the curb on the left) to ensure that the runners are able to pass you easily. Also, you should consider lining up in one of the back corrals (instead of where you’re currently assigned) so that you’re not in the mix of runners at the start and would start out with slower joggers/walkers from the beginning. I broke my arm last year and could only walk. I had to walk a race and ended up crushing my time goal! You’ll probably be really surprised at how fast you can go!

  • Christine March 31, 2011, 10:46 am

    I walked a full marathon last June for Team in Training (7.5 hrs) and a half marathon in October. Walk with a purpose, get in a corral towards the back and have fun! I walk a 15-16 minute mile so maybe just ask people in the corrals what their pace is and stick with someone around that pace. It took me just under 3 hours to do the half last October. Good luck and have fun!

  • Bertha March 31, 2011, 10:54 am

    hi caitlin! i think you should read this 🙂

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:42 pm

      How awesome. I tweeted!

  • Lynne March 31, 2011, 10:58 am

    I have walked a 1/2 marathon due to injury and it was a ton of fun! Deinitely fuel. You’ll want to take in at least as many calories as you would if you were running since you’ll be on your feet much longer. One fun thing about walking is that it’s much easier to eat real food while walking than while running, so you can take pretzels, a PB sandwich, etc. if you’d like instead of the gels. I wouldn’t push the pace too much because there’s no point in prolonging your injury, but I bet you’ll walk at a 15 minute pace if not a little quicker.

    Have a great time!

  • Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul March 31, 2011, 11:08 am

    I unfortunately don’t have any advice to offer, as I have never walked a race either. But I am also running a half this weekend and hope to make it my first sub-2 hour one (I’ve only run one before and it was several years ago), but my knee has been bothering me. It’s nice to hear that you are taking care of yourself and not planning to push through it and potentially do damage. It’s a good reminder to care for yourself.

  • Hallie March 31, 2011, 11:10 am

    Have you checked to see if there is a time course limit? That’ll affect your pacing. For some, you have to finish in 3 hours.

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:41 pm

      I think it’s 4 – thank goodness!

  • Nicole March 31, 2011, 11:18 am

    I’m in the same boat as you. I was suppose to run a half marathon in CT this weekend but injured my knee a month ago, also not sure how-it felt fine on my 10 mile run and then the next time I hit the road I immediately felt pain. I’m also fine doing any other activity, biking, ET, even squats and lunges, but running is a no 🙁 I tried again yesterday and felt fine the first .75 miles and then it went from fine to no way can I even think about going another step-odd. Anyhow, I’ve never walked a race either, and 13.1 seems a long way to walk and also probably the not the best thing for knee recovery.

    Best of luck in your decision and I hope to have the chance to meet you in NYC this weekend!

  • Kristen March 31, 2011, 11:18 am

    My mother-in-law walks 2 half marathons every year, and has been doing that for at least the past 5 years. I don’t really think she paces herself, but she does walk “with purpose” – more of a speed walk than a casual stroll. I say walk at a pace you feel comfortable with. As long as your leg isn’t bothering you, I think you’ll be fine. I would still fuel your body since you will be moving LONGER than if you were running it. You might not need as much fuel, but you will still need some. Keep in mind, you have run marathons and have been out on a course for 4+ hours, so the time thing shouldn’t be an issue for you – you just might be a little more bored. Start in the back – there should be a “walkers” group, so I don’t think you would have to avoid anyone on the course since you are walking. And remember – ENJOY IT! You are still doing something you love! Take your camera with you and enjoy NYC! I’m jealous I can’t be walking it with you!

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me March 31, 2011, 11:20 am

    Never walked a race but I would definitely walk with a purpose. I see no need to bring gu or anything like that. I’m hoping the walk doesn’t irritate your knee though. Have fun!

  • monicanelsonfitness March 31, 2011, 11:28 am

    I have no advice for you, I just love your photos of all these races.:)
    Plus the grilled cheese machine, I need one of those. I loved the clip of the twins…just AWESOME!

  • Summer March 31, 2011, 11:30 am

    This guy walked a half marathon in Birmingham back in February:

    Along with this guy:

    You might check out their blogs. They’ve both lost an incredible amount of weight and are very inspirational. I think if you poke around you might find some help, and both guys are on Twitter. Good luck with your half!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) March 31, 2011, 11:33 am

    Caitlin, I’ve done 17 half-marathons (adding 3-4 more this year!), but the one I enjoyed the most was the Disneyland Half-Marathon last September. I was coming back from injury, and I was running with a friend, so this completely removed all pressure from me.

    Her system was that we’d run 2 songs, speed-walk 1 song. She told us when her iPod indicated that it was time to walk. It worked out pretty well. We finished in about 2:30 and had a blast(my PR is 1:54).

  • Heather March 31, 2011, 11:34 am

    Id walk with purpose, I guess, just have fun. If I was in NY I would totally walk with you.

  • Christine March 31, 2011, 11:36 am

    I’d probably aim for a 4 mph speed or a little bit faster, and stay to the right. I would say do the whole run/wall interval schedule but I’m wondering if that will backfire pain-wise since you haven’t done it. And have fun!

  • Ambre March 31, 2011, 11:39 am

    Hey Caitlin 🙂
    I’ve never walked a half marathon, but I have done two Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure’s, which we walk 60 miles over 3 days. During my training walks, we tried to pace at 4mph, which is a pretty steady walking pace.. It would take you over 3 hours to complete it this way, though, but you’ll complete it! 🙂

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:40 pm

      You are awesome for doing that! 60 miles – wow!

  • Sarah March 31, 2011, 11:39 am

    I walked my first half marathon with my mom three years ago, followed by a walk/jog, and then finally a (pretty slow) run this past year.

    I found the walking one to be more enjoyable and relaxing because the other racers were more friendly. We stopped to take pictures, and although I have lived in/near this city my entire life, it was nice to see it in this way! When I ran, everyone around me seemed concerned about their time instead of just enjoying the run, which was my plan. The only downside to walking is that there were fewer people cheering you on because you start later and you move slower, so people get tired and leave.

    As far as fueling, when I walked I would alternate gatorade and water at the fluid stations, whereas I would usually take both at each station when I ran. I never used any other supplementation (GU, etc.) for either during the race, but I would eat the snack they provided afterward. I would say just to listen to your body, you seem to be pretty good at that! 🙂 And enjoy it! It would be so exciting to see NYC in that way!

  • Nicole March 31, 2011, 11:56 am

    I walked my third half marathon this past Sunday. It was hot, humid and I was bored to tears. The first year two of my friends walked it with me. Last year one friend did. This year, no one.
    My tips-
    start early if you can
    find a buddy that walks about the same pace as you
    stay to the right, but even if you do, some runners are really rude and will all but knock you over
    fuel, especially if it’s hot-I did a water and Gatorade at every stop but the last where I just wanted water and I did Shot Bloks at about mile 7 (this proved to be pointless because my ankles cramped up at mile 8ish just like last year)
    load your iPod with LOTS of different music so you have plenty to choose from
    BEWARE the blisters-you’re out there for a long time, in sweaty socks that rub and it bites!

    I know there has to be more but I’m in a fog, or maybe it’s denial, right now. Heh.

  • Lisa March 31, 2011, 12:14 pm

    You had me at “Marines.” 😀

    I’ve thought about doing a Half in a jog/walk format. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend the money if I wasn’t going to RUN it. Plus I wasn’t sure if it would just annoy the reals runners doing it….

  • Kaity March 31, 2011, 12:23 pm

    The weather in NYC should be 52ish on Sunday, so my advice is to enjoy Central Park, take lots of awesome pictures, and walk like New Yorkers do (pretty fast, with a purpose). Central Park is not the easiest or flattest course so who knows, you might even break a sweat, maybe? I’m sure there will be plenty of walkers to chat with 🙂

  • Amy March 31, 2011, 12:32 pm

    I’m looking forward to see you do… I’m a runner, and you know what? As lame as I feel for admitting this: I actually find walking pretty taxing on my body.

    My cousin is a huge walker, and whenever I go out with her I end up with shin spints, and huffing & puffing!

    I can run for hours, but if I power walk for over an hour… look out! Shin splints galore!

  • Kim T March 31, 2011, 12:43 pm

    You’ll love the walking/ walk run crowd. There’s always lots of talking and friendliness at the back of the race. And just as much cheering. In some ways slogging through the 13.1 is harder than running. If I were you I’d try run/walk within reason. Start slow, run 1 min, walk 1 min. And see what you can do. I ran/walked my first HM. Averaged about 13min or so miles. That was with training too, I’m just slow. But it was still great, still a sense of accomplishment. If I remember correctly I ran 5 min then walked 1 min. Toward the end I just ran more. Does running slowly hurt your knee as much? Anyway, good luck. You’ll be glad you did this. I’d say refuel on whatever schedule you would normally, i.e. do you refuel every hour? Then stick with that. Good luck!

  • Madelyn March 31, 2011, 12:49 pm

    Hey Caitlin, I’m a veteran of 3 Susan G. Komen 3-Days and I think walking at a comfortable pace for you is the best idea. 4 miles an hour, give or take, like Ambre suggested above is definitely a good pace to keep. Just make sure you take the same precautions for blisters and hotspots that you would if you were running. You might want to do a training walk or two of a few miles before Sunday to see how your shoes/socks/feet fare with the different impact of walking. And you’ll definitely want to be fueling with Gatorade and/or Gu. You may not be running, but you’re still putting out and covering 13.1 miles, so your body will definitely need appropriate fueling. 🙂 Good luck, I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time!

  • Emily March 31, 2011, 12:52 pm

    The races I run are mostly through NYRR/Central Park so I can tell you from experience that TONS of people walk their races. You won’t be bored! Most of the walkers stick to the right side. As for how fast you walk – do whatever feels right for you. Maybe start off a little slower and then ease into a brisk walk or jog (if you can). I notice that a lot of the walkers walk pretty quickly!

    I ran the Disney Half in January and I had really bad IT Band issues during that time, but I did it anyway. I ended up walking/jogging most of it. I remember how defeated I felt and emotional I got as I watched so many people pass me, knowing that I could be running with them if I wasn’t injured. BUT, I kept saying to myself that I am proud for doing the race in the first place 🙂 Remember that walking a race is still an accomplishment!

    I’m still undecided if I’m going to run the NYC Half this Sunday, but we’ll see. If I do, I’ll look out for you – wear something bright 🙂

  • Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily March 31, 2011, 12:54 pm

    That’s awesome that you are going to still take part in the race. Personally I am super competitive so walking would be really hard to do…I know I would just start running. But I think whats awesome about taking it slow is that you get to experience the race in an entirely different way.

  • Karla March 31, 2011, 1:04 pm

    It doesn’t matter what form of exercise you are doing, at that 1 hour mark your body has been depleated of your glycogen stores, so make sure you are taking in some sugar/carbs (glucose)and important electrolytes! I would down a cup of gatorade at least every hour.
    Good luck and enjoy New York!

  • kk March 31, 2011, 1:04 pm

    you won’t have to be super vigilant about a fuelling schedule, for two reasons.

    1) even if you’re walking briskly, your hr is still going to be low enough that you’ll be burning mainly fat for fuel. so you’re not going to bonk like you might if you’re racing. of course, you’ll be out there for awhile so definitely take in some calories, but don’t worry too much about a fuelling strategy.

    2) unlike when you’re running, your body will be able to digest food pretty easily while you’re walking. so you won’t have to worry about getting gassy, bloated or nauseous if you eat solid food or too many carbs (eg over 100 cal worth) in one shot. you could go with GU or gatorade but personally, if i were walking a half marathon, i’d rather bring a backpack with some actual food in it.

    good luck and have fun!!

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:39 pm

      Great tips kk!

  • Natalia - a side of simple March 31, 2011, 1:05 pm

    I don’t have any advice as an experienced race walker, but I think this will be a great opportunity for you! It will be just ANOTHER experience that you can write about and relish. Plus, it will give you time to think and meditate while taking in the sights, as well as pump up an amazing playlist.

    I’m so happy you and your mom are making NYC a girl’s trip 🙂 What fun! And can I add that you look dynamite in your first photo that you posted?

  • Miranda @WorkingMomWorksOut March 31, 2011, 1:10 pm

    I’m sorry about your injury. I’m interested to see how it goes in NYC. You never know when, as a runner, you’ll be put in a position where you have to walk. Take care of your body first – you’re doing what’s right.

  • Kristen March 31, 2011, 1:21 pm

    I have a 1/2 marathon in a week and a half on april 10th. And since i havent been able to train, I am going to see how walking/running goes. I have never walked a half, But I would love to hear the advice you get from others!

    Im so glad you are going to do this race! Like my mom says, if you finish your a winner 🙂

  • Laughter-Loving Stacy March 31, 2011, 1:22 pm

    I walked a half marathon early this month. I didn’t plan on it, but I was VERY sick and my body was simply not okay with running.

    It was definitely a whole new animal. For me, it was harder to be mentally happy and proud of myself. I was disappointed that I wasn’t running, but I never quit and I held on to being proud of that.

    I really loved this blog post and I especially have liked reading the comments. I wish I had a lot of these thoughts in my head before my half marathon. Walking is entirely different and my muscles were extremely sore afterwards. It was a great mental challenge I should have embraced.

    Good for you for doing the race anyway! You will feel so proud and accomplished after it! 🙂

  • Sophia @ Raven Waves March 31, 2011, 1:23 pm

    That’s great that you’re still going to do it! 🙂

  • Julie @ Lettuce Choose Healthy March 31, 2011, 1:39 pm

    we just learned about this in my athletic performance class about runners/walkers.

    For fuel since you are walking you could incorporate real food rather than gels.

    pace-wise.. I say go with what you want to do.. If you want it to be more like a race I would power walk it.. but if it’s just to be out there an enjoy it i say go for a stroll.

    Definitely start behind the runners. I don’t see why walking in the middle would be bad. As lot as people have enough room to get by.

    You have such an amazing attitude towards this race! you’re awesome!

  • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 1:43 pm

    I don’t know too much about walking half marathons, but it sounds like you have been getting some good advice above. I will be running the race this weekend, though! Maybe I will see you there 🙂

    I did want to point out that Central Park is very hilly. Most people who aren’t from NYC aren’t aware of that and get surprised when they run a race here. I think that given your current knee situation, walking is definitely the way to go.

  • Cara March 31, 2011, 1:54 pm

    I love your positivity around your situation! I think it will be different experience to walk the 1/2 but I can guarantee you, that you won’t be alone. There are always tons of people walking what a great way to make a few new friends!
    And just think about the scenery and atmosphere you would miss if you were running.

  • Kacy March 31, 2011, 1:54 pm

    I love your attitude. I definitely feel like walking will be a whole different experience. In some ways I feel like it’s more hardcore to walk 13.1 instead of running it because that is a LOT of pressure on your feet. You will do great and it will just be another experience you can add to your repertoire. And you won’t be risking further injury, which is absolutely the most important thing!

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks March 31, 2011, 1:59 pm

    While I’ve never walked a half, I’m guessing you should still fuel. I have walked like 7 or 8 miles in one go and usually around mile 5 or 6 I start to get HUNGRY! I would say, pack some snacks and eat as you feel you need it.

    Great attitude though, Caitlin. I love that you’re going to walk if you can’t run. Full of awesome. 🙂

  • Johanna B March 31, 2011, 2:06 pm

    I’ve always walked my races – not a runner you see. I would suggest you walk at a comfortably fast pace. You don’t want to push at first or you’ll tire too quickly. You don’t want to stroll like you’re sightseeing but as though you have somewhere you want to be soon (like the finish line). Probably not a good description but I can’t think of any other way to put it. I know you’ll have a good time and look forward to reading about it.

  • Feisty Eats March 31, 2011, 2:22 pm

    I would also suggest starting towards the back and walking briskly throughout the 1/2. Take snacks and water – it is still 13.1 miles. Good luck!

  • Emma (Namaste Everyday) March 31, 2011, 2:47 pm

    I’m so glad to hear that you are walking! I love the never-give-up attitude you have about this 🙂

  • Joanne March 31, 2011, 2:54 pm

    First, you need to pay attention to your knee throughout the entire 13.1 miles. Second, you HAVE done something like this before and that’s the two full marathons you have under your belt. You are mentally trained for being on the road 3 plus hours.
    Third, you’ll walk at a pace dictated by your knee, as aggressive or as gentle as it will allow without debilitating pain. You might even be able to toss in a jog or two here and there.
    Most Important! Seed yourself at the back of the race. You don’t want to get trampled and, with your competitive spirit, get all upset when a bunch of runners pass you. This way you can walk in the middle of the road, not to the side where the grade my aggrevate your knee.

    You can do that NYC Half, Caitlin. I’ve been reading your blogs for too long and know that in your mind, you have a plan that will see you through from start to finish. You haven’t failed yourself yet. 🙂 Good luck!

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:38 pm

      Thank you Joanne 🙂

  • joyce crawford March 31, 2011, 2:58 pm

    I’m a regular marathon power walker from England and there’s some good advice on your feed – especially Laura (no 36). I do train an awful lot as it does use different muscles. Do remember to vaseline your feet as your feet will rub different places on your trainers. I also take on board a 200Kcal snack every 90 mins. Enjoy

  • Anne Weber-Falk March 31, 2011, 3:06 pm

    Should you have different shoes for walking that distance? You will carry yourself differently when you walk versus when you run. It’s something to think about.

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss March 31, 2011, 3:13 pm

    You are definitely such an inspiration!! 32 races?! That’s amazing!! 😀 I don’t have many tips for walking, though as I usually get that “must run” mindset, you know? It’s good you’re going to try it though! I know Tina at CnC walked a marathon..she’d probably have some really great tips.

  • Angela @ MyPinkyToes March 31, 2011, 3:34 pm

    I’m sorry, I have no advice, but I just wanted to just tell you good luck…your perseverance and dedication is very admirable!

  • Rachel V March 31, 2011, 3:39 pm

    I’m glad you’re still doing the race, even if not running! Being in NYC will be awesome. I’d bring my camera and take pictures of the gorgeous architecture and other race surrounding that you don’t always have time to appreciate as you run by. One thing I’d be worried about (and someone may have already said this) is shin splits. I run all the time and never have shin splints, but if I walk for a long time I tend to get them! Have fun and make friends with the people walking around you!

  • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} March 31, 2011, 3:39 pm

    I’m so frustrated for you, Caitlin. I’m sorry you are dealing with an injury. I have no walking advice for you, only sympathy. Have a super fun weekend, regardless! 🙂

  • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston March 31, 2011, 3:43 pm

    My step mom is training as a walker for an upcoming half and she has to maintain a 14 min pace to make the course time limit. I think it would be good to have a pace in mind esp if your course has a cut off.

  • Clarissa March 31, 2011, 3:54 pm

    I didn’t know you could walk them! I would LOVE to do that! My sister does the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and I think it’s marathon length! I bet the website has good tips!

  • Emily March 31, 2011, 4:07 pm

    Caitlin! I’ll walk it with you! I’m signed up for this race and I was just going to skip it because I too was injured and had to stop running altogether. Now my friends are still running it, so I was either going to just watch or stay home. Email me and we can discuss because it might be fun. 🙂

  • Beth March 31, 2011, 4:42 pm

    Caitlin, I cannot tell you how perfectly timed this post of yours is. I am in a similar injury situation with the Big Sur 21 mile race May 1st. I know my recovery will not allow me to run the whole race (also I am not longer trained to do so!) but it is classified as a run/walk and so I was toying with the idea of trying that option instead. Your post has given me the inspiration! I am with ya lady! Go walking races 🙂 It is so much better to still walk a race than just not go.

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:37 pm

      Yay walking is cool 🙂

  • Jill Will Run March 31, 2011, 5:24 pm

    Yes, you should walk with a purpose. All the walkers I coach are given strict advice to hold themselves up and power walk, no leisurely strolling allowed! 🙂 Most races have a cut-off time, the half marathon I’m training a group for has a cut-off that requires a 15-minute mile pace for everyone.

    Walking works muscles differently, so you may feel some different muscles aches after the event.

    You will still need to fuel yourself, but the nice thing is that it’s easier to tolerate “real” food as opposed to engineered running food when you are walking.

    You should start the race toward the back so that runners don’t have to work past the walkers. And you should kind of hang to the right side, but if you are in with a lot of other walkers than you guys are free to cover the full width of the course as you need. (The main reason for staying to one side is if you are starting in front of runners.)

  • Runeatrepeat March 31, 2011, 6:10 pm

    I vote walking with a purpose! It’s not a Sunday stroll – it’s still race 🙂 And I think you’ll almost need more fuel since you’re going to be out longer. I find I get hungrier with long walks over long runs since running can scare your hunger away.

  • Laura March 31, 2011, 6:29 pm

    You have such an awesome attitude about this! I love that you aren’t giving up on the race but still listening to your body.

    I’ve never walked a race, but I have walked the Susan G. Komen 3-Day (a 60-mile walk) three times. Don’t be casual about it; walk with a purpose. I’m not sure what the time limit is, but if possible, aim between 3.5-4.0 mph. You don’t want to re-injure yourself since you’re not trained to walk 13 miles. Just make sure you stretch regularly. Komen always says 5 minutes of stretching each hour during the 3-Day, and taking that advice last year really did help me prevent my knee injury from previous years from flaring up again.

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:37 pm

      Great tip about stretching!

  • Kate @ Spoonful of Vigor March 31, 2011, 8:10 pm

    Thank you for posting about this! I signed up for a marathon for May 1st, and some things have gotten in the way of my training. I’ve been considering walking (or running some, walking more), and all the tips people have been suggesting are super helpful.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin March 31, 2011, 8:42 pm

    That is so awesome that you’re still going to do it anyways! I think it will be kind of neat to see a half marathon from a different perspective than you’re used to. I hope you find a walking buddy to keep you company! 🙂

  • Jenifer March 31, 2011, 9:08 pm

    Awww….. no sad faces! I’m doing the Ukrops 10K sat, but if I weren’t I’d come walk it with you! So here’s my take… I did my first half a few weeks ago, the Shamrock. Averaging about 18 min. miles. I finished in 4.08. I’m a little nervous for you in the fact of that there’s a 3 hr time on yours. You most certainly are going to have to be walkin with a purpose in order to make this, especially since you are short. The only time you’ll need to stick to one side is if a runner comes up, otherwise you’re fine. I wish you the best of luck sweets!I’m sure you’ll do fine.

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:36 pm

      I think this half has a 4 hour time limit!! So I’ll be OK – I hope!

  • zoe (and the beatles) March 31, 2011, 9:17 pm

    i lovelovelove LOVE walking! i just got back from an epic four hour walk with my friend. however, i am NOT used to walking such distances! i can tell you that we were pretty parched and about to eat the world by the time we got home. so something tells me water, obviously, is necessary (we stopped for some) and fueling is a must. it takes a longer time than you might think to walk such a long distance! also, i know you have vibrams and i just walked the walk in mine…it was blissful. no knee pain like i usually get on long walks. no lower back pain or hip pain either. really, REALLY recommend it! also, i think it’s awesome you’re walking it. good for you! walking is basically amazing :). good luck, caitlin!

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:35 pm

      Hmmm maybe I will do my vibrams…

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 9:35 pm

      Hmmm maybe I will do my vibrams…

  • Amanda March 31, 2011, 10:27 pm

    I would say to make sure you fuel because you will be going for longer. I had to walk half of my marathon due to injury and I found that it was harder because I was going for so long. Take in what seems natural, you don’t need a lot, but I would definitely fuel some.

  • Julie @ Wearing Mascara March 31, 2011, 10:46 pm

    Hi Caitlin! I feel like I never comment – ugh but I always read 🙂 Just wanted to put it out there that I do not run a lot anymore, but I love walking! If you get some good comments/emails from this post, I’d love to see a follow up on training for walking races… I feel like it’s often overlooked! I love the race community and vibe but if I don’t want to run, it would be great to train to walk 🙂 More info on that would be fab. Have a great night!

  • Brittany March 31, 2011, 11:14 pm

    ahhhhh such a great topic 🙂
    1- I’d say go with the pace that feels comfortable to you, you can fast walk, slow it down, jog a little big, then start fast walking again.
    2- definitely fuel as often as you need, i had gatorade every few times they had them at the water stations. I had a 1/2 of a power bar at mile 4, the other half in between miles 7 and 8, and another GU around mile 11 or so before the HUGE mountain in Austin.
    3– I’d make sure your ipod is amped up with plenty of good jams!
    4– You’re going to rock it NO MATTER WHAT and i can’t wait to hear your re-cap! xoxo

  • Jolene ( March 31, 2011, 11:20 pm

    I have walked 3 hours with a purpose before … in NY!! We walked from one end of Manhattan to the other, and we walked quite quickly. I say walk at a power shopping pace 🙂

  • Brittany March 31, 2011, 11:24 pm

    Oh i forgot, You might want to invest in some Body Glide anti-pain and anti-friction balms, which you may already have! But great things 🙂 And don’t hesitate to re-apply during the half!

    Also, people seem to look down upon those of us who walk during races, so thanks for giving us walkers some love!

  • Laura April 1, 2011, 8:39 am

    A couple of years ago I did a 4-day walking event that is held each year in the Netherlands. We walked 50k each day and it was brutal but so much fun! The best thing about it was meeting the other walkers and getting cheered on by the spectators (it is a major event with 40.000 walkers and many many visitors, it is made into a one week festival). Anyway, because of all the training I did to prep, I have learned a great deal about walking.
    1. you are only walking one day, so you don´t have to worry about pace too much. My advice would be to start slowly to warm up and then speed up to a fast walk that you can keep up for a while. Sticking to one pace is easiest. If you take a break, don´t sit on the cold ground and stretch you muscles especially calves and quads.
    2. fuel. bring enough water and something to eat. because you walk you can just eat a sandwich or a banana, it does not have to be very easily digestible such as Gu. But you will probably not get very hungry until after the race. Holding a water bottle (and fidgeting with your fingers) also helps prevent swollen hands and fingers.
    3. Prepare for blisters and chafing as you would for any long run. You are an expert on that yourself.
    4. Stretch afterwards and do not push yourself too hard. You are not used to walking these distances and the muscles you use are slightly different, depending on your running technique.
    5. have fun! I think walking long distances is really fun and relaxing. You see a lot of things, and you meet new people.
    Good luck and looking forward to the recap!

  • Allison @ Happy Tales April 1, 2011, 9:07 am

    Good for you for reaching out and garnering tips on how to walk a half!! I bet it is SOO different from racing/running one… as it probably uses slightly different muscles, and as you noted, takes a lot longer!!! I’m so glad that you are going to take it slow… you are looked up to by SO many people and I truly think this example you are setting will help save a lot of people from injury (or further injury…) Kudos to you, caitlin!

  • Charise April 1, 2011, 11:30 am

    Good for you trying to make the best of it, Caitlin! I don’t have tips on walking a half-marathon really, but just thinking about it being 3 hours, I would eat something at some point. I normally eat something every 3 hours or so, even if I’m not out burning 1000 calories, and adding in the digestion time between breakfast and race, I’d feel awful afterwards if I hadn’t refueled at all. Good luck!

  • Stacey April 1, 2011, 12:29 pm

    If you are up to it post race, you should check out the vegetarian food festival going on in NYC on Sunday!

  • Maureen April 1, 2011, 4:25 pm

    Great post Caitlin. I will be mostly walking this marathon on Sunday, with some spurts of running in between. I am dealing with Morton’s Neuroma and I am hoping I will not have to stop too often to massage the ball of my foot. I am hoping to finish in under 3:00. Good luck to you!!

  • Jayne May 28, 2013, 2:06 pm

    I’m training to walk a half myself in August. Hal Higdon has a great training program for walkers if you have the time. Otherwise, I’d say 16 min miles will let you finish the course by the max allowed time.

Previous post:

Next post:

Healthy Tipping Point