|WHAT IS RACEWALKING
Do you feel the need for speed?? Racewalking may be your answer. Although racewalking is a technique that can be used at any walking speed it is generally used by walkers to increase their speed and endurance. Plus the racewalking technique provides a great aerobic workout and burns more calories per mile than fitness walking or running.
There are two basic rules of racewalking. (USATF #39 & 150).
1) Racewalking is a progression of steps so taken that the walker makes contact with the ground so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs.
This is what differentiates racewalking from running. It means that there is a moment when the heel of the front foot and the toe of the rear foot appear to be in contact with the ground at the same time. Before the racewalker takes the rear foot off the ground, their front heel must make contact with the ground. Contact with the ground appears (to the human eye) to be maintained at all times.
2) The advancing leg must be straightened (i.e., not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until in the vertical position.
This differentiates racewalking from other forms of walking. It does not mean that your legs are straight at all times. The rule is that the knee should be straight when the heel strikes the ground. It must remain straight until it passes under the body. Then the knee bends and swings forward taking the next step.
Many people visualize racewalkers as very clumsy looking, with chicken-like awkward movements. This may be true for a beginner, but an experienced racewalker moves in a fluid forward motion.
If you want to racewalk you must learn proper technique. And practice, practice, practice.
The best sites for technique information are:
Racewalk.com, an excellent site by Jeff Salvage is the official race walking home page of USATF. It has good instructions for Flexibility/Technique Drills and Stretching, and Jeff has a lot of amazing racewalking photos on the site as well.
Be sure to see Dave McGovern's site for a ton of good articles on racewalking and training. Dave is informative and has a unique sense of humor. He also travels around the country conducting weekend racewalking clinics.
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