Race Walking. Lesson 4.2. Fitness. Race Walking

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1 Lesson 4.2 By Carone Fitness Racing, although not as common in walking as running, has become an important part of many walkers lives. While competitive walking or racing may not be for everyone, it could at least be worth a try. 1

2 Although this lesson is about racing, the purpose of participating i in races is usually not to win but to have fun and to accomplish a personal goal. Many organized walks do not have winners and are organized to raise money for charity or research. Many walkers race in order to compete with themselves and measure their progress. Others, however, take race walking very seriously and are very competitive. History of Race walking was developed in England 400 years ago. Race walking is a sport, the object of which is, obviously, to walk fast. The sport has been an Olympic discipline for men since 1908 and for women since It is the precursor to long-distance running. 2

3 Rules of There are two rules to : 1. Contact with the ground must be maintained at all times. 2. The advancing leg must be straightened from the moment of first contact with the ground until it passes under the body. Technique: Differences There are some differences between the technique described d in the Fitness Walking lesson and the technique for race walking: In race walking, your foot placement is no longer shoulder-width apart. To maximize speed, your feet should be placed on a near-straight line. As you place your heel on the ground, your toes should lift as high as possible before rolling from your heel to your toes. Straighten your knees just before heel contact, and don t bend them again until they are behind your body. As you return your foot to the front, minimize energy expenditure by keeping the foot as low to the ground as possible. 3

4 Technique: Similarities Race-walking does maintain some similar techniques as regular fitness walking: The longer and harder the push-off, the greater the speed you achieve. Your foot should roll from your heel all the way to your toes; there should be no foot slap. Forcing greater stride length does not induce speed. Synchronizing arm and hip motion maximizes speed. Your hands and shoulders should be relaxed. Good posture is neither leaning forward, nor arching back. Your head should be straight, and you should not look down. Instead, look 20 ft in front of you. Technique: Hills Hills make it harder to maintain correct race walking technique. When race walking uphill, you should shorten your stride a little. Also, you don t need to push off your toes as much. To maintain the same speed, try increasing the cadence of your legs. When walking downhill, you should lengthen your stride and let gravity take you down the hill. 4

5 How Fast Is Fast? The Men s American Indoor Race Walking Record for a mile is 5 minutes and 38 seconds. For a 50k race, the World Record is an average of 7 minutes and 2 seconds per mile. Local competitors typically race between 8 and 15 minutes per mile, and the typical speed seen is 11 to 13 minutes per mile. Training Pace When training for a race, you should time yourself for a mile and find a comfortable pace that you can maintain for the duration of the race. This pace will be different for each walker and can be improved during training. It is important, however, to begin the race at a pace that you can maintain instead of a faster pace that may cause you to burn out before completing the race. 5

6 How Far? is generally a long distance event. In world-class l races, the distances are: Men: 20km (12.4 miles) and 50 km (31.1 miles) Women: 20 km (12.4 miles) For both genders, the most popular race at lower levels is the 5k (3.1 miles). Other possible distances include the 1500m, 3k, 8k and 10k. Who Races? Walking is a sport that anyone can do. It is relatively l easy and requires no extra equipment. Competitors in race walking are drawn from all age groups, from age 10 to as old as 90 years. There are about twice as many women race walkers as there are men. 6

7 Judging in In competitive race walking judges are placed around the course. If three judges agree that a walker has violated the rules of race walking, the walker will be disqualified. Judging is done by the human eye and not by video camera. Training for a Race Training for a race will be similar to your walking training; i however, you will have a specific goal in mind. It is a good idea to set up a mock-race. Set one day aside where you will go through everything that you will on the race day. Eat the same foods, wear the same clothes and shoes that you will race in, get up at the same time, and race at approximately the same time as your upcoming race will be held. This will help you to determine if you can maintain the pace that you have chosen and to foresee other difficulties that may arise during the race. 7

8 Race Preparation The day of a race can be a little nerve- wracking, so it is important to be prepared. The following are some tips to help you feel prepared for your race: When you arrive at a race, check-in first and then locate the aid stations. Set a specific goal for the race that is achievable. For example, to maintain a certain pace during the race, to complete the race, or to cross the finish line under your goal pace. Race Preparation Plan what clothes to wear and check that you have everything before you leave for your race. Do not wear new shoes to a race. You should wear anything that is comfortable and that won t rub against your skin as you walk. Dress in layers, so you can adjust according to temperature changes. Eat a good meal the night before your race. Some experts recommend eating a high-carbohydrate meal, such as pasta, on a race s eve. It is important to eat something that your body can digest well. It is also important to eat something an hour or two before your race. 8

9 Hydration If racing in the heat, plan your hydration carefully. You do not want to get overhydrated or dehydrated. There is a fine balance between drinking enough and drinking too much. Thirst is a sign of dehydration, so don t wait until you are thirsty to grab a drink. During a race, you might want to also consider drinking an electrolyte drink to ensure sodium balance. Nutrition For longer races, nutrition can also be a concern, and it might be a good idea to eat energy bars or gel shots to maintain your energy throughout the race. As they take time to digest, you should eat energy bars before or very early in the race. 9

10 Advantages of Race walking is a great aerobic workout and actually all burns more calories per mile than fitness walking or running. That is because your body is less efficient at race walking and requires more energy to perform the work. also offers some other advantages over running. Race walking Lessens the risk of injury Uses more upper body and trunk muscles Creates more body awareness Is not as popular, so there are fewer competitors Presented By Carone Fitness 10

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