How to Race Walking: Training Tips
Do you want to win competitions, burn more calories per mile, and have more toned muscles? You might be a perfect fit for racewalking as a sport. Look for ways to accelerate quickly without breaking into a run.
Racewalking Vs. Speedwalking
Not just speedwalking or fast walking, racewalking involves more. Racewalking’s posture and arm motion are borrowed from a good fast-walking technique, but racewalking’s use of straight legs to rotate the hips is not one of them.
In races like 5K charity runs and half-marathons, you can use the racewalking technique to walk more quickly and even outpace some runners to the finish line. Racewalking, however, also counts as a separate competitive sport.
If you are talented enough, you can place first in local judged races and make the Olympic team. Racewalking provides opportunities for people of all ages to compete and achieve national standing; it is not just for the young.
Because you use more muscle when racewalking, you burn more calories per mile than when you walk normally.
You could use racewalking to increase the rigor of your walking exercises. It can cause your heart rate to increase from a moderate to a vigorous level.
Race Walking Rules
The goal of the sport is to cross the finish line quickly, as indicated by the sport’s name. However, it is constrained by stringent laws governing its method.
Race walking is distinct from running in that an athlete rarely lifts both feet off the ground during a sprint stride.
In race walking, however, athletes must always have one foot in contact with the ground at all times, as visible to the human eye. Judges are present at events to make sure the rule is followed.
It is considered “lifting” and subject to punishment if there is no discernible contact.
“The fastest lifter will comply with the rules because your eye can catch anything that is slower than 0.6 seconds. The limit must be pushed, and the edge must be sought after.” – Canadian race walker and Olympian Inaki Gomez told The Star.
Additionally, as the body passes over the advanced leg of the athlete, the knee must not budge and the leg must straighten. Every race walker is scrutinized, and if he stooping during the race, he could be penalized.
Depending on the type of event, there are anywhere between five and nine judges who visually inspect the race. They carry paddles with the symbols for “loss of contact” () and “bent knee” ().
A race walker will be disqualified if they receive three warnings (paddles) from different judges, including the chief judge. The disqualified athlete is shown a red paddle.
While 5000m, 10,000m, 20,000m, and 50,000m races are held on outdoor tracks, 3000m and 5000m are the standard distances for race walking competitions held indoors. The 10km, 20km, and 50km races—each with its own label—are run on metalized roads.
How to Race Walking
The physical activities of running and walking are balanced in race walking, a type of speed walking. While race walking is less impactful than running, it still offers many of the same advantages. Due to this, race walking is less demanding on the knees, feet, and hips. Any age can benefit from race walking as a fun way to get active daily and take part in competitions. By using the right technique and regular training, you can race walk.
Using Proper Technique
Recognize the Importance of Proper Technique
It’s crucial to use the right form when race walking for fitness or if you intend to compete. This can reduce your chance of getting hurt, make the most of your workouts, and keep you from getting knocked out of competitions.
- To improve your understanding of race walking, think about attending a local workshop or watching a video of proper techniques. You might learn insider strategies for enhancing your performance by working with a seasoned racewalker.
Maintain Proper Posture
Your race-walking performance can be improved by maintaining proper body alignment. The best position for race walking is to hold your head and body upright while placing your hips squarely beneath you.
- Allow your ankles to do any leaning while you’re walking. Your hips rolling, a crucial element of race walking, can be avoided by slouching from the waist.
- Maintain a relaxed posture with your face and neck.
Use Your Legs to Pull
As you plant your foot on the ground, straighten your bent knee. Keep the forward leg straight while starting to push forward with the opposite foot and ankle, using the momentum you already have. This movement should cause your front leg to slightly pull slightly, especially in the hamstring.
- Maintain a stride length and quickness that is comfortable for your body and level of fitness. As you get better, adjust them.
- Look to see if you can feel the ground beneath and behind you being pushed and pulled by your straight leg. You know your stride is correct if you can feel it.
Push Ahead With Your Ankles and Toes
Keep your hips, ankles, and knees all in the same vertical plane while maintaining a forward-facing foot position. You’ll be able to keep your hips and knees in good alignment, which will lengthen your stride and reduce your risk of injury. Additionally, it prepares your legs for the subsequent step.
- Lifting your foot off the ground will cause your knee to slightly bend. The main distinction between race walking and running is that you must always keep your other foot on the ground. At all times, you must keep your feet on the ground.
- Start moving forward with the other foot and ankle while returning your bent knee and foot to the ground.
Roll Your Hips
You can increase your leg turnover by allowing your hips to roll as you take each step. Your racewalking speed increases as a result. It might take some getting used to because this movement is specific to race walking.
- As you walk, allow your hips to sway. You will move forward as you plant a leg on the ground because the hip that is connected to it will slightly rise. The hip that is attached to the back leg will slightly drop as you lift the knee and leg. As you switch legs and continue to move forward, you turn.
- The risk of injury increases if you swing your hips out to the side.
Wear Comfortable Walking Gear
You can race walk anywhere—inside or outside—and you don’t need any specialized gear or attire. To maximize the benefits of your race walking, you should, however, consider wearing clothing and shoes.
- Make sure your shoes are both flexible and comfortable. Most race walkers wear running shoes with stability and cushioning.
- Pump your arms. Holding your arms at a 90-degree angle, briskly pump them in time with your steps. This can help you keep your momentum, make the most of your strides, and advance.
- Hold your hands at the middle of your chest, but not higher than your breast level.
- When you swing your arms, avoid tensing or hunching your shoulders. This can waste a lot of energy and possibly shorten your stride. Wear clothes that are appropriate for the terrain you will be walking on. For instance, a sweat-wicking tank would be great in the summer, and a long-sleeved merino t-shirt can fend off chills in the fall.
Training Regularly for Fun Or Competition
Develop a Plan
Much like long-distance running, race walking training frequently resembles it. In fact, you can compete in walk races over distances of up to 50 kilometers (30 miles). Making a plan for yourself can increase your level of fitness and boost your race walking performance. For the greatest training benefit, alternate days of effort with days of ease and rest. An example of a race walking workout schedule, which you can modify to fit your lifestyle, is:
- Sunday should be a day of rest or recovery with little to no activity.
- Workout on Monday called the “economy,” which is quick-paced and helps you gain speed. For instance, on these days, you might walk quickly for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Tuesday: light exercise so your body can recover. For instance, you could stroll for 30 minutes at a slow to moderate pace.
- Your aerobic capacity will be pushed to the limit on Wednesday during a threshold workout. For instance, you could walk quickly for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Thursday: a brief workout for recovery. Walk at a moderate or slow pace for 20 to 30 minutes
- Friday: perform a threshold workout; add some intervals. Walking at a fast and a slow pace for 30 to 60 minutes is recommended.
- On Saturday, do a slower distance workout that will let you cover more ground in less time. For instance, you could stroll for 60 to 90 minutes at a slow pace.
Warm Up Your Body
Warming up your body is crucial before beginning your race walking workout. By doing this, you can reduce your risk of injury and get your muscles and joints ready for the workout.
- Start with a leisurely five-minute stroll.
- Exercises that last 30 to 40 seconds each as a warm-up are then performed. You can practice exercises such as shoulder rotation, arm circles, quick steps, and extending your back leg far behind you. Lunges, hip circles, and squats with a restricted range of motion are additional effective warm-up exercises.
Stick to Your Workout Plan
Keep as close to your workout schedule as possible if you’re race walking for fitness or even competitions. As you get better, you might need to modify it. If you’re sick or feeling exhausted, you should also take some time off. You can improve your form and achieve your best results by adhering to your plan.
- If you are sick and experiencing symptoms above the neck like runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, or a mild sore throat, reduce the intensity of your workouts. If you have a fever, are exhausted, or experience severe muscle aches, take a few days off.
- If you feel that your exercise program is no longer challenging you or you have seen a noticeable improvement, you should revise it.
Cool Down Your Body
As crucial to you as warming up is allowing your body to cool off after a workout. It helps you progress in your race walking, brings down body temperature, and can help loosen up tight muscles.
- When your workout is finished, take a quick 5- to 10-minute walk.
Stretch Your Muscles
Every cool-down must include stretching. It increases your range of motion, helps your muscles become less tight, and guards against injury. Perform any of the following stretches for 20 to 30 seconds, or until you feel your muscles elongate without pain:
- Calf stretch.
- Shin stretch.
- Hamstring stretch.
- Quads stretch.
- Hip stretch.
- Groin stretch.
- Shoulder stretch.
Get Sufficient Rest
Rest is just as essential to your workout as recovery is. Every week, allow yourself at least one whole day of rest. Make sure you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night as well. This aids in your body’s recovery and the development of the muscle and stamina required for a race walk.
Coaching and Resources
In order to perfect the proper racewalking technique, you will need coaching and feedback. It will take a lot of observed practice to do it correctly because it is simple to get it wrong. To pique your interest in racewalking, use these resources.
- Racewalking Books and Videos: At Racewalk.com, you can find books and videos that explain the fundamentals of racewalking as well as more advanced methods. Additionally, there is an online video stream and full clinics on DVD. These books and videos are excellent resources for learning more about the sport.
- Racewalking Clinics and Coaching: For racewalking instruction, finding a coach or clinic is crucial. A racewalking coach can be found online. Every year, coach Dave McGovern conducts clinics across the country. Without training, racewalking is simply too unnatural a motion to master.
- Racewalking Clubs: To meet and compete with others, look for racewalking clubs worldwide. The best way to improve as a racewalker is to join a club that holds regular competitions where your form is evaluated. Additionally, you’ll start to collect medals, trophies, and ribbons from competitions.
Having a long history in the Olympic Games, racewalking is a noble sport with deep roots in track and field competition. The criticism of racewalkers by contemporary viewers and commentators, however, continues. You have three options: take offense, develop a sense of humor, or walk away.
With kings competing, significant prize money on the line, and genuine respect, walking once enjoyed its heyday. When running took over in the previous century, all of that came to an end.
Olympic racewalking receives no respect from sports commentators. Every Summer Olympics they can’t resist making snide comments or jokingly setting the women’s world-record-setting performance to the “Benny Hill” theme music.
Extreme sport athletes are the fastest marathon and 50K walkers. The 26.2-mile marathon is several miles shorter than the standard 50-kilometer distance. Doping scandals have, however, also tarnished the sport in recent years. Some former champions have been denied the opportunity to compete or had their Olympic medals taken away.
Your walking workouts can shift up a notch if you learn how to racewalk. See if you can attend a clinic or get coaching in your area to learn this Olympic technique. Using our calculator, determine your speed.
Is Race Walking Difficult?
“Racewalking is 100 times harder than running. Running causes you to breathe more heavily and become more exhausted the harder you push yourself. Due to your body giving up on you before that, racewalking doesn’t really allow you to breathe as deeply.
What Are the Two Main Rules of Race Walking?
There are two main guidelines for race walking: • Contact: The competitor is never allowed to lift both feet off the ground simultaneously. Knees: From the time the foot first touches the ground until the vertical upright position, the advancing leg must be straightened (not bent at the knee).