Signing up for a 5K is a way to add excitement and challenge to your fitness routine. If you are having second thoughts that you can run the whole 3.1 miles, do not fear. You can walk during most 5K runs. When you do choose to walk, make sure you follow proper etiquette to avoid disturbing other participants.
If you are running a large race where starting times are arranged in staggering waves based on predicted speed, make sure you are in a later wave so you do not disturb more competitive athletes. You can arrange this when you sign up or change your start time at the race registration. For races that have a mass start, position yourself near the back of the group.
If you fear that running the entire 5K is too much, insert walk breaks during your run before you become overly fatigued. Jeff Galloway, a respected running coach, even recommends that you take walk breaks during your training runs and even on race day. Walk breaks prevent your muscles from overtiring and can help you recover faster from the exertion of the race.
When you do walk during a race, move to the side so faster people can pass you. If you are running with a group of friends, never walk more than two abreast. You don't want to create an walking wall that impedes other runners. If someone says "excuse me," move.
Some races have a time limit for the course. If you do not finish in a set amount of time, you are no longer considered as part of the race. Traffic may no longer be diverted off the course, your time will not count and water stops and aid stations are shut down. Every race sets its own rules, but 5K time limits can vary from 90 minutes to 3 hours. If you feel you may need to walk but want your time to count, review your particular race's rules so you finish on time.