Say the word "marathon" and most people conjure images of runners sweating and limping across the finish line. But marathons and half-marathons aren't just for runners. Want to walk a half-marathon? Walkers have less risk of impact-related injuries than runners. By planning ahead, taking proper care of your body and having the right gear on race day, you, too, will be strutting across that finish line in no time.
Recorded Pep Talks
Record self-pep talks on your smartphone during training and just before the race when you're pumped up and feeling optimistic. Listen to them during those moments of the race when you're feeling discouraged, tired or bored.
Fuel and Water
Don't make any changes to your diet on race day. Eat and drink what you normally ate during your long training days. If you usually pack gummy bears and protein bars in your fanny pack, do the same on race day. If a particular gel is tried and true, stick with it -- race day isn't the day to switch brands. And don't overdo it with the water. Drinking too much water can lead to hyponatremia. If you're thirsty, drink. If not, walk on.
Wear clothing made of high-tech, breathable fabrics that you've already worn and washed before race day to be sure no tags or seams will scratch or chafe. Avoid cotton -- it isn't as efficient when it comes to wicking moisture away from your body. You might want to wear an old sweatshirt -- one that you wouldn't miss if you lost it -- if it's unexpectedly cold on the morning of the race. You can peel it off and toss it aside as the weather warms. A lightweight disposable poncho will fit into a fanny pack and will keep you dry during a spontaneous rain shower.
Apply lubricant made for runners to areas that are prone to chafing, such as underarms, at the bra line and on nipples. Some walkers apply lubricant to their feet as well. To soothe chafing after the race, apply medicated diaper rash ointment.
Though a long, hot shower might sound good after your race, the heat might contribute to increased swelling and soreness. Ice your achy legs, ankles and feet instead.
Aline Lindemann is a health, food and travel writer. She has also worked as a social worker, preschool teacher and art educator. Lindemann holds a Master of Liberal Studies in culture, health and creative nonfiction writing from Arizona State University.