Lets get a few things clear
1. I am FAT
2. I describe myself as a runner
Heck, sometimes despite my desire to impress everyone with my plussize fitness I simply find myself walking in races...but not only that I find myself looking at other Fat runners thinking "oh look, they're walking too" however I think this about all runners regardless of size, but I figured in this post I would spell out the issues as I see it so that we can all kinda understand it next time we notice it.
In my 10 years of running I would say that the catalyst for walking episodes during a run tends to fall into two distinct camps.
Body Stuff Reasons
Head Stuff Reasons
And can you guess which sort are the easiest to deal with?
So here are my top 10 reasons why we find ourselves walking despite our best intentions and some suggestions to help prevent or minimise it (if you want to not walk at events of course)
Injury - Like anyone an injury can strike at any time during an event and if you feel something is not right then you would be silly to try and run through it. My advice would be to call it a day and seek medical advice, but I know many of us struggle on determined to cross that finish line.
Struggling to breath - So this may be fitness related, but could also be due to a hill or all matter of psychological things going on. And if your breathing doesn't feel right then slowing down to a walk makes perfect sense. I promote something called The 60 Second Rule which means you can walk whenever you like, as long as you start back running after 60 seconds.
Muscle Soreness - After a few miles its quite possible that your legs are feeling it, mine often hurt as a result of a recent training run or cross training session a few days prior. A difficult hill section often has me walking to help my legs recover and by the end of a marathon everything hurts so its no wonder many people walk.
Fatigue - If you are absolutely shattered and your feel faint or lack lustre its quite possible you are fatigued with your energy stores depleted. Try taking on some quick carbs via an energy gel of some sweets, you will be surprised at how much of a boost that can give you.
Sickness - After running 16 miles non stop for the first time at the London Marathon back in 2012 I literally had to slow down and walk because I was convinced I would be sick if I didn't. I felt nauseous, perhaps due to the excitement or perhaps because of the energy gel I had just consumed. Sickness may pass after a while, as mine did...or maybe you need to chuck up your guts and reassess the situation.
and Head Issues
Given up - this is a biggy. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy and we do just give up on ourselves. I've often done this behind a line of trees, or places where I think I can't be seen, and sometimes its been in full view simply because my head is messed up. All kind of things go through your mind when you run, and once you get into that dark place its hard to pull yourself out again.
Embarrassed - When I first started running I used to stop and walk if I saw anyone I knew, or had to pass busy places. I would also stop and walk up hills through fear of having to stop half way anyway. When you start to worry more about what other people think about what you are doing than what you think yourself, then you are in trouble. Switch things round and remember what a superstar you are for even being there.
Bored - I sometimes walk simply because I am uninspired by a route, or need to change my music or make a phone call (Serious). I have to keep my mind occupied but not thinking about the actual running. Podcasts and Audiobooks are great for this...thinking about whats hurting or how long you still have to go...not so much.
Lost confidence - This is quite similar to the given up bit, but can sometimes be brought on by a traumatic incident out of your control that throws you off kilter. Someone name calling, slipping over, loosing your balance, being startled or barged. Pull yourself together give yourself a good talking to and get back into the race.
Followed everyone else - If you are surrounded by other runners at a similar pace or slightly faster, you are likely to keep running, find yourself amongst a whole heap of other walkers and you think "what the heck", but don't be roped into joining them. Always line up in the right position at the start of a race, and if people do start walking play a game with yourself to track down the runners, overtaking as many walkers as possible.
So there we have it 10 reasons why Fat runners walk in races....and of course these are not restricted to fat runners...I bet all runners have walked for one of the above reasons at one point in their career.
But before I leave you, there is also another kind of walker I want to draw your attention to and these are the people who purposely set out to walk as part of their race strategy. A bloke called Jeff Galloway actually promotes a whole system based on run/walk strategies and many runners swear by it some even seeing their overall race times improve.
So next time you see someone walking at an event, don't just assume its cos they're Fat, lazy or unfit...its much more complex than that...plus skinny people walk too....all the time....trust me I notice these things!!!