What is Racewalking?
Racewalking is essentially a fast paced from of walking, whereby one foot must always be in contact with the ground.
Historically, the distances covered by racewalkers have exceeded 100 miles in a single event, which spanned multiple days and, in some cases, across multiple states in the US. Recent events are much shorter in comparison, with the Olympic races measured at 20 km and 50 km, and local races anything from 3 km to 50 km+.
In contrast to a marathon, where the distance measured is point-to-point, most racewalking events will actually be measured around a series of laps.
This is mainly due to the judging criteria. Rules are slightly stricter compared to running, which means that judges will need to be in a position where they can monitor each walker’s technique.
However, it’s also worth bearing in mind the following:
While many racewalking events are performed on tracks or involve laps, local track and running clubs have racewalker or walker divisions included in their road races and usually do not involve laps.
The idea of completing laps in an event is probably more true for elite racewalkers and track meets, but the average person learning to racewalk will typically be looking for local road races to try their skills by participating in racewalker and walker divisions. Judges are typically spaced out along the course during judged road races.
Pat Driscoll, NOTC Racewalking Coordinator
A brief history of Racewalking
Although the term itself may have been created fairly recently, walking competitively in one form or other has reportedly been around for thousands of years.
Despite still being a long way from its current form, competitive walking involving the ‘fair heel and toe‘ technique was first observed in England in the early 17th Century. The distance that these races took place over often exceeded 100 miles, and were spread across multiple consecutive days.
After the first English amateur walking championship was organised in 1866, it wasn’t until the start of the 1900’s that racewalking that closely resembles its current form was first granted its place as an Olympic event.
Competitive walking events may seem like a fairly new addition to the Olympics, but it’s actually been an event on the schedule for over 100 years, with the first recorded half-mile walk taking place in the games of 1904. However, during this particular year, racewalking was only to play a small part in the main decathlon event, with a distance of just 880 yards.
Pedestrianism led the rise in popularity of competitive walking in the 19th century
One of the reasons for its appearance in the Olympics was the growing popularity of competitive walking events in the 19th century – which at the time was known as Pedestrianism. One of the best accounts we’ve found on the subject is in a book written by Matthew Algeo, entitled ‘Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America’s Favourite Spectator Sport’.
This book also includes a story of when a New Englander walked from the State House in Boston to the Capitol, in Washington, in 1860. A journey that was originally intended to last no more than 10 days, this was soon documented by national newspapers, increasing the exposure of racewalking to the American public.
It’s generally recognised that this was one of the events that caused walking to become the dominant spectator sport in America, between 1860 and 1880. Before making its way onto the Olympic stage, competitive racewalking then became one of the original events of the Amateur Athletics Association meetings in 1880.
Upon being recognised as an Olympic athletics event, two main distance categories were determined – 20 km and 50 km. While both of these events were originally only made available to men, it wasn’t until 1992 that the first women’s racewalking event was organised.
However, the shorter amount of time that women have been competing in Olympic racewalking doesn’t seem to be reflected in the record books, with records for the top 10 fastest times over 20 km all falling after this year for both men and women.
From its earliest roots being categorized as Pedestrianism, through to its acceptance into the Olympic schedule, racewalking has remained a popular form of exercise and sport. This has led to a number of clubs and organizations being established across the US and the world, and a large number of competitions being held on a regular basis, including a World Race Walking Challenge organised by the IAAF.
What are the rules?
As with the majority of sporting events, racewalking has its own set of rules that you will need to abide by, in order to stay in the race.
Most events will make these rules quite clear before the race starts, and in most cases these will be the same rules you will have to follow at any other racewalking meet.
The list below details the current set of official racewalking rules. There are also some that have been created at specific races, so it’s worth checking if these come into effect before you participate in any competition.
Rules for walkers (extract from USATF rule 232):
- 1. Feet must keep in contact with the ground at all times (loss of contact rule) – the heel of the front foot must touch the ground before the toe of the back foot leaves the ground.
- 2. Support leg must remain straight until the upper body passes over it.
- 3. Knees must be visible to judge
- 4. 3 violations, or “red cards” of any rule listed above will usually result in disqualification
Rules for judges (extract from USATF rule 230):
- 1. Violations can be for the same rule multiple times, but given by different judges on the course.
- 2. If a chief judge is assigned, it is they who will remove a competitor from the race
- 3. The chief judge may not submit any warnings for failure to maintain proper technique.
If you would like to read through the USATF’s comprehensive guide to race walking rules, you’ll find them in section VI (rules 230, 231, and 232) of this document. However, due to the fundamental importance that it holds towards correct walking form and defining the race walking technique, we’ve listed rule 232.2 below.
USATF Official Rules:
- Rule 232.2 – Definition of race walking
Race walking is a progression of steps so taken that the walker makes contact with ground so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs. The advancing leg must be straightened (i.e., not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until the leg is in the vertical upright position.
Despite the limited and fairly straightforward nature of these rules, many athletes, even at a professional level, will still break them on a regular basis.
Excluding a small number of exceptions, this is far from deliberate. The rules simply state that if an athlete is violating the loss of contact rule, then that violation should be visible to the human eye. This means that there may be a few milliseconds where both feet are off the ground, but this would only be picked up by sensors or some form of tracking technology.
To prevent a judge from single-handedly disqualifying a walker, they can give only one red card per athlete. Walkers aren’t told which judge gave them a red card, to prevent blatant rule breaking when passing this same judge on consecutive laps.
Deciding on the number and placement of judges is something we look at in more detail later in this article, but these rules essentially mean that any race needs a minimum of 4 judges – 3 to assign each of the “red cards”, and a chief judge to be responsible for the resulting disqualifications.
If you were to walk into any gym, you would probably notice that the equipment has been designed to suit as many different body types as possible.
For example, the running area on the treadmill probably exceeds 60 inches in length to take into account taller runners at faster running speeds, while the cable machines have different settings to let you find the optimal plane of motion for your muscles to move the weight.
In these circumstances, recommended exercise form and technique is fairly universal. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for racewalking.
Because the combination of movements is so unique, it’s often the case that people have a hard time grasping what’s required, and turn to looking at pictures and videos of elite level walkers for a point of reference.
This isn’t something that’s generally encouraged, as each individual person’s body structure will be subtly different. Trying to match the arm movement and foot placement too precisely will usually lead to an unnatural racewalking motion, which will impact your race times and increase the likelihood of injury.
Instead, it’s best to develop your own technique that still falls within the two main rules of the sport. However, there are a few basic words of advice that we can offer.
10 Tips for perfecting the technique:
Ensuring your toes leave the ground at the correct time is important for abiding by the rules,
as well as maintaining good form
- 1. If you’re new to racewalking, don’t worry too much about your pace. Focus on getting the fundamental movements correct before worrying about your times.
- 2. Try not to lose patience if you don’t pick up the technique as quickly as you might like. For some walkers this learning process can be as little as a few weeks, whilst for others it may take several years to really perfect their form.
- 3. Before each race or walking session, ensure you warm up and stretch your muscles effectively. 20 minutes should be sufficient.
- 4. Keep your knee and foot close to the ground as you use your hip rolling to help thrust your free leg forward.
- 5. The rear foot should still just about have its toes touching the ground when the heel of your front foot touches the ground.
- 6. Arms – Keep arms bent at a 90 degree angle at all times.
- 7. Hands – Your hands should not cross the midline of the torso, and should remain close to your body.
- 8. Upper body – Maintain a posture that’s as close to upright as possible to retain the power from your arm swing.
- 9. Stride length – Practice varying your stride length across the same distance to see which is most efficient for your height and body type. This will also help prevent over-striding and reduce pressure on the knees.
- 10. Head – Maintain a level head with eyes looking straightforward
History of record holders
As with running, racewalking also has its own list of record holders, segmented into gender and distances. These records are recognised by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and date back to early 1911.
To act as a quick reference guide, we’ve compiled the top 10 most recent record holders for the 20km and 50km distances.
20 km Men’s Records
|1 (h) 16 (m) 43 (s)||Sergey Morozov||Russia||Saransk||June 8, 2008|
|1 (h) 17 (m) 16 (s)||Vladimir Kanaykin||Russia||Saransk||September 28, 2007|
|1 (h) 17 (m) 21 (s)||Jefferson Pérez||Ecuador||Paris||August 23, 2003|
|1 (h) 17 (m) 22 (s)||Paquillo Fernández||Spain||Turku||April 28, 2002|
|1 (h) 17 (m) 23 (s)||Vladimir Stankin||Russia||Adler||February 8, 2004|
|1 (h) 17 (m) 25 (s)||Bernardo Segura||Mexico||Bergen||May 7, 1994|
|1 (h) 17 (m) 30 (s)||Alex Schwazer||Italy||Lugano||March 18, 2012|
|1 (h) 17 (m) 33 (s)||Nathan Deakes||Australia||Cixi City||April 23, 2005|
|1 (h) 17 (m) 36 (s)||Zhen Wang||China||Taicang||March 30, 2012|
|1 (h) 17 (m) 38 (s)||Valeriy Borchin||Russia||Adler||February 28, 2009|
50 km Men’s Records
|3 (h) 32 (m) 33 (s)||Yohann Diniz||France||Zurich||August 15, 2014|
|3 (h) 34 (m) 14 (s)||Denis Nizhegorodov||Russia||Cheboksary||May 11, 2008|
|3 (h) 35 (m) 47 (s)||Nathan Deakes||Australia||Geelong||December 2, 2006|
|3 (h) 35 (m) 59 (s)||Sergey Kirdyapkin||Russia||London||August 11, 2012|
|3 (h) 36 (m) 03 (s)||Robert Korzeniowski||Poland||Paris||August 27, 2003|
|3 (h) 36 (m) 04 (s)||Alex Schwazer||Italy||Rosignano Solvay||February 11, 2007|
|3 (h) 36 (m) 06 (s)||Yu Chaohong||China||Nanjing||October 22, 2005|
|3 (h) 36 (m) 13 (s)||Zhao Chengliang||China||Nanjing||October 22, 2005|
|3 (h) 36 (m) 20 (s)||Han Yucheng||China||Nanjing||February 27, 2005|
|3 (h) 36 (m) 21 (s)||Matej Tóth||Slovakia||Zurich||August 15, 2014|
20 km Women’s Records
|1 (h) 24 (m) 56 (s)||Olga Kaniskina||Russia||Adler||February 28, 2009|
|1 (h) 25 (m) 02 (s)||Elena Lashmanova||Russia||London||August 11, 2012|
|1 (h) 25 (m) 08 (s)||Vera Sokolova||Russia||Sochi||February 26, 2011|
|1 (h) 25 (m) 09 (s)||Anisya Kirdyapkina||Russia||Sochi||February 26, 2011|
|1 (h) 25 (m) 16 (s)||Shenjie Qieyang||China||London||August 11, 2012|
|1 (h) 25 (m) 27 (s)||Elmira Alembekova||Russia||Moscow||February 18, 2012|
|1 (h) 25 (m) 32 (s)||Olena Shumkina||Russia||Adler||February 28, 2009|
|1 (h) 25 (m) 41 (s)||Olimpiada Ivanova||Russia||Helsinki||August 7, 2005|
|1 (h) 25 (m) 46 (s)||Tatyana Shemyakina||Russia||Adler||February 23, 2008|
|Hong Liu||China||Taicang||March 30, 2012|
|1 (h) 25 (m) 52 (s)||Larisa Emelyanova||Russia||Adler||February 28, 2009|
|Tatiana Sibileva||Russia||Sochi||February 20, 2010|
50 km Women’s Performance Records
Unfortunately, unlike the men’s events, there isn’t a 50 km event for Women’s racewalking in the Olympics. That being said, the following table shows the top 10 performances in the US women’s 50 km racewalk, outside of Olympic and professionally judged competitions.
|4 (h) 33 (m) 23 (s)||Erin Taylor-Talcott||Olympic Trials, Santee, CA||January 22, 2012|
|4 (h) 39 (m) 40 (s)||Susan Armenta||US Champs, Chula Vista, CA||February 17, 2002|
|4 (h) 41 (m) 36 (s)||Erin Taylor-Talcott||50k, Ocean Twp, NJ||September 11, 2011|
|4 (h) 49 (m) 42 (s)||Susan Armenta||US Champs, Manassas, VA||March 31, 2001|
|4 (h) 50 (m) 40 (s)||Erin Taylor-Talcott||USA 50km Champs, Coconut Creek, FL||November 24, 2013|
|4 (h) 57 (m) 11 (s)||Erin Taylor-Talcott||US Champs, Surprise, AZ||February 7, 2010|
|5 (h) 11 (m) 04 (s)||Erin Taylor-Talcott||US Champs, Tustin, CA||January 23, 2011|
|5 (h) 12 (m) 56 (s)||Cheryl Rellinger||US Champs, Hauppauge, NY||November 10, 2002|
|5 (h) 16 (m) 20 (s)||Tammy Stevenson||US Masters Champs, Houston, TX||January 7, 2012|
|5 (h) 17 (m) 22 (s)||Jeanne Bocci||US 50k Champs, San Francisco, CA||August 26, 1979|
If you haven’t yet tried racewalking for yourself, there are a number of ways you can learn about and practice the technique required to take part in competitive races.
How to practice racewalking technique:
- Using a treadmill at home or in your local gym
- Walking the same routes you might usually run outdoors
- Spectating at a local racewalking meet
- Joining your local racewalking club
- Watching videos online
Whilst we would have to agree that there’s no substitute for actually getting up and learning the technique from the start, we’ve managed to find a video that does an excellent job of talking through all of the steps involved.
What is Racewalking?
If you would like to watch some examples of what it’s like to take part in a competitive racewalking event, you can find a full collection of video examples on the YouTube channel for the Olympic games.
Finding the best shoes
If you’re considering taking up racewalking, whether it’s as part of a club, on a competitive level, or even both, footwear will play a major role in your performance.
As with running, comfort is paramount. When you consider that the 50 km races will be in excess of the 26.2 miles of a full marathon, the distances travelled may lead you to consider the same shoes as you would use for running.
However, the question is whether or not these will be well suited to the distances you’re going to be walking, and the movement of your feet as they move through the rolling motion of each step.
Due to the higher impact nature of running as an exercise, running shoes will usually have much more cushioning in the heel and throughout the sole. This isn’t altogether needed with racewalking, and you should look for shoes that provide slightly less cushioning but are still going to be comfortable, so as to reduce the weight.
You also have to consider that you’ll be taking more steps than a conventional runner, so every bit of weight saved can have a big impact on your time.
It can also be useful to find a shoe that has a slightly more flexible sole, so that you can maintain the rolling type motion of your feet as you walk at a higher pace.
We’ve put together a shortlist of our recommendations below, to act as a quick reference guide.
Top 6 racewalking shoes
- 1. Reshod Walking Shoes
Reshod is a brand created by Carmen Jackinsky – a racewalking coach and founding member of Racewalkers Northwest, based in Oregon. These shoes feature a midsole design specifically developed to suit a racewalker’s needs.
The design of the heel and sole encourages a more efficient transfer of weight as you roll onto your leading foot, optimizing speed and exercise form.My shoes were designed with the beginning racewalker in mind. I wanted to offer something that will help teach the “heel toe” segment of the racewalk gait without the need of a trainer.
This shoe should also work well for those transitioning into a fitness program.
While walking is a relatively low impact activity, customers who are seeking to lose 50 lbs or more need shoes with a better cushioning system that also supports their feet, knees and hips.
I’ve been doing a lot of corporate fitness programs in the Portland area over the last 15 years, so I get feedback from all ages and levels. That, combined with my work at Nike and Columbia Sportswear has put me in a unique position to service walkers with all sorts of products and services.
~ Carmen Jackinsky, founder of Reshod Walking Shoes
- 2. Hersey Custom Racewalkers
Despite being towards the upper end of racewalking shoes in terms of price, the low-profile, lightweight, flexible, and durable construction of the Custom Racewalkers has made them one of the most desirable shoes on the market.
This particular design also features more protection than their Custom Competition Racewalkers. Both pairs offer customization options for the mesh, trim, outer sole, and inserts.
- 3. ASICS Men’s GEL-DS Racer 9
With the Racer 9, ASICS have managed to develop a shoe that still remains incredibly light, whilst providing a bit more cushioning than you get with the Hersey’s.
The sole construction remains supportive throughout the rolling movement of your feet while racing, thanks to the Duo-Max Support System that also enhances stability.
- 4. Mizuno Unisex Wave Universe 4
Designed with a G3 outsole and SmoothRide for the low impact transitions that come with racewalking, the Mizuno Wave Universe 4 is a shoe that has less cushions than the ASICS Racer 9’s, but with a lower profile on the heel.
If you’ve owned a pair of Nike Free 3.0’s in the past, the profile of the heel drop will feel very familiar, with a large enough toe space and lightweight construction that makes them incredibly comfortable to use.
- 5. ASICS Women’s GT-2000 2 Running Shoe
Ideal for women who are looking for a bit more support and cushioning, but without too much added weight. Ideal for longer races and marathons.
Ideal for women who are looking for a bit more support and cushioning, but without too much added weight. Ideal for longer races and marathons.
- 6. Saucony A6
The A6 is a recent upgrade over the earlier A5 design, which has a proven track record amongst racewalkers for its excellent support and durability across longer distances.
The upgrade sees a reduction in the weight from 5.6 oz to 5.2 oz, whilst maintaining the same low profile heel-to-toe drop of 4mm. Despite this low drop, there’s still adequate sole between your feet and the road to provide some much needed protection and a layer of cushioning.
This doesn’t mean to say there’s the same cushioning as with the ASICS Racer 9’s, but this all helps to improve the firm feeling of each footfall, helping to improve your times over both short and long distances. These are also an excellent lower cost alternative to the Saucony Kinvara 5’s, which offer the same 4mm drop.
How to prepare for your first Racewalk
Before we take a look at how you can organize your own races and events, we wanted to cover the various stages of preparation for your own personal walks.
In a similar way to cyclists and runners, racewalkers can usually choose between performing their workouts solo, or joining a local club. Whilst finding a local club will be fairly location dependent (more on this later), there are now a large number of clubs around the world, although they are easier to find in some US states than others.
But whether you are preparing to racewalk alone, or as part of a group, the stages of preparation will be almost identical.
Shorter, non-competitive walks will usually be less than 10 km, unless training for a specific event. Over these shorter distances, there are really just a few basic points to remember.
Top 5 preparation tips for sub 10km racewalks
- 1. Meal planning won’t be as crucial as the nutrient timing for longer distances, but it can still get yourself into a useful routine by eating a light, carbohydrate-rich meal 2-3 hours before your walk.
- 2. Take time to properly warm up and stretch before starting, then perform the same stretching routine when the walk is complete.
- 3. Ensure you are adequately hydrated before you start, and take a small bottle of water with you if possible.
- 4. Try to get into a routine. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean walking the same distances and routes the same times each week, but having the meals, clothes, and any hydration you want to take with you makes it easier to fit in the shorter distance walks when you’re pushed for time.
- 5. Clearly map your route, and change it regularly. Walking a route you know well can be reassuring, but don’t be afraid to plan different routes – involving both flat and hill sections where possible – to keep your workouts fresh and improve your motivation.
If you’re planning a route before you set out, May My Walk* is probably your best bet (registration required). If you change this on a daily basis, then it might be easier to have technology record your distance and steps for you. This is achievable via personal fitness trackers, such as Fitbit or Garmin Connect.
* We’ve also put together a complete guide to MapMyWalk, which provides step-by-step explanations for everything from creating a food log, through to importing .GPX files for creating routes and logging workouts.
Although MapMyWalk is free to use, if you’re looking for an alternative that doesn’t require registration, we can also recommend Plot A Route. This still allows you to plot a route, and even allows you to export routes to file formats that are compatible with MapMyWalk, if you decide to switch services in the future.
10 Benefits of Racewalking
- 1. Race walking caters to all levels of physical fitness. There is no real barrier to entry, meaning that it’s an ideal form of exercise to teach children from K-12 through to adults, all the while challenging their own aerobic system.
- 2. Although the two main rules of race walking are in place to ensure your movement can still be judged as walking at competitive events, this also lowers the impact on your joints. Lower impact means fewer injuries in the short and long-term, compared to joggers and runners, due to the smoother range of motion.
- 3. Race walking requires no specialized equipment or expensive memberships, and doesn’t require specific gradients or locations to be performed effectively.
- 4. The constant thought that goes into maintaining good form and correct posture while walking can help to relieve stress from the day.
- 5. Rehab for athletes with injuries from other sports – As a rehabilitative source of exercise for injured runners, who not only want to be able to maintain their level of fitness, but also their competitive lifestyle.
- 6. Relatively easy to integrate into busy routines – If you have very little free time to exercise as it is, you probably aren’t going to feel like travelling out to a gym when you get back from work. By simply putting on a pair of running or race walking shoes, you are able to take advantage of even limited windows of time, before, during, and after work.
- 7. Improves cardiovascular function and aerobic capacity.
- 8. Walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running, according to a study conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkley, California.
Specifically, some of the results found were as follows:
– Running reduced the risk of high blood pressure 4.2 percent and walking reduced the risk 7.2 percent.
– Running reduced the risk for high cholesterol 4.3 percent and walking lowered the risk 7 percent.
– Running lowered the risk for diabetes 12.1 percent and walking reduced the risk 12.3 percent.
– Running decreased the risk of heart disease 4.5 percent and walking reduced the risk 9.3 percent.
- 9. Results published by the University of Pittsburgh in The Journal of the American Medical Association show that regularly walking at a fast pace leads to a faster gait speed in later life, which may actually increase your life expectancy.
- 10. Walking has been scientifically proven to slow mental decline, lowers Alzheimer’s risk, and improve your sleep quality.
Top 10 useful Racewalking resources
So far we’ve covered everything from the best technique to use, through to a history of competitive walking. Hopefully we’ve been able to provide you with all the information you need, but just in case, we also wanted to provide a quick list of resources to expand on some of the points we’ve mentioned here.
The following websites range from scientific studies through to the personal websites of some of the world’s leading racewalkers.
- 1. IAAF Racewalking Challenge
The International Association of Athletics Federation was founded in July 1912, in Stockholm, after the completion of the Olympic Games being held in the capital.
Although the IAAF encompasses many different types of athletics, they do have an excellent section that’s kept up to date with the latest news from the sport. As well as being kept up to date with the latest race walk news, you can also find a collection of photos in their gallery, showing some of the winners from race walk events around the world.
There’s even a calendar of elite level competitions, which includes events such as the IAAF World Championships, and the African Racewalking Championships.
- 2. Biomechanical Comparison Between Racewalking and Normal Walking
Summarising research conducted by the sports sciences department at the University of Milan, Italy, this study not only looks at the differences in lower limb movement between the two forms of walking, but also explains some interesting methods which could lead to increasing your stride length.
Although this particular study tends to focus almost exclusively on lower limb movement, there are still others that have been conducted which focus on the importance of the arm swinging motion on walking speed. One of the best examples we’ve found is this study found in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
- 3. The Walking Site: Racewalking
Created as a useful source of information for people of all walking experience levels, The Walking Site also has a number of recommendations of its own for locating walking clubs and groups in almost every state across the US.
With the majority of information being tailored towards shorter races, the same personal trainer and running coach that founded The Walking Site has also created a site dedicated to walking marathons, called Marathon Walking.
- 4. USATF Racewalking
The USA Track and Field website is possibly the best online resource for discovering upcoming racewalk events. Most races provide contact information for someone that’s organizing the event, or a link through to the race website.
If you’re considering attending an event as a spectator, to support the athletes and find out more about the technique, USATF also provides details of the upcoming national championships.
One final point we wanted to mention about USATF is that they have an excellent article covering everything you need to know about race walking scholarships at colleges, including the qualifying standards and a collection of NAIA success stories related to the program.
- 5. World Class Racewalking
This is the first of our useful resources to relate to an athlete’s personal blog, and it happens to be for one of the most experienced racewalking coaches in the US.
Dave McGovern is an Olympic trials qualifier, USATF and LSA certified coach, and has won 14 U.S. National Championships across a career spanning 30+ years. This site is full of useful information related to competition and technique, from sample training schedules, through to race results and podcasts.
Dave has also published two books on the subject, entitled ‘The Complete Guide to Marathon Walking’, and ‘The Complete Guide to Racewalking: Technique and Training’.
- 6. Walk About Magazine
A bi-monthly online magazine with 10 years of archived issues to choose from. Although Walk About Magazine covers many aspects of recreational and race walking, it’s not strictly dedicated to the sport.
We’ve included it here as it still provides some interesting stories of long and short distance walking, training tips, competition experiences, and walking / trail shoe reviews.
- 7. High School Race Walking
Despite the number of online listings for various racewalking records, it’s actually surprisingly difficult to find an accurate and frequently updated list.
Whilst the official Olympic site details the world event records, HSRW actually manages to segment race walk records into a much finer range of criteria. This includes records for individual US states, national champions, indoor and outdoor times, and across distances of up to 10km.
There’s also a growing list of annual walking events that will be taking place across the country throughout the year, ranging from the Greater Boston TC Invitational in January, to the USATF 50K Race Walk Championships in December.
- 8. Overcoming Common Nutrition Issues
Following a brief introduction to the training routines of racewalkers at the AIS, this useful fact sheet – created by the Australian Sports Commission – goes into great detail about how to overcome nutritional issues that can impact the performance of racewalkers during training and competition.
This includes the pros and cons of manipulating carbohydrate intake for optimizing energy reserves, what type of food and drink to consume pre / post walk in order to re-fuel glycogen stores and promote recovery, and some useful advice for altitude training.
- 9. One Step at a Time
A New York Times article written around the time of the 2012 London Olympics, discussing how difficult it is to judge the sport of racewalking at the event.
Despite focussing fairly heavily on the fact that technology plays such a major part in the Olympics, and on the rule of one foot being on the ground at all times, the tone remains unbiased.
It also debates the different types of technology that could be implemented in future Olympic games and competitive events, should the condition that ‘loss of contact violations need to be visible to the human eye’ be removed. Certainly worth a read.
- 10. Racewalk Instructional Guide for Grade Schools
A PDF document available through USATF, this is written in a tone that feels like it’s most suitable for the teachers of grade schools, who are interested in teaching racewalking as part of the children’s physical education.
This includes everything a teacher could need, from the equipment needed through to the recommended reading of the 2nd edition of ‘Racewalking, Fun!‘ – a collaborative work by racewalk.com, NARI, and USATF.
There’s even a detailed walkthrough of a full 45 minute lesson plan, detailing how to introduce children to the exercise, guidelines for correct posture, and games / exercises they can actually participate in. This last part is particularly useful for adding an element of competition to the class.
Finding a local Racewalking club
While there are many of us who love the solitary nature of running and walking, if you’re just starting out with race walking or prefer a team environment for motivation, walking clubs can be the answer.
When we were putting together this section of our guide, we expected to find a collection of useful resources that listed a large collection of clubs, which was updated regularly. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case – at least, none that were as comprehensive as we we’d hoped for.
That’s why we’re going to be compiling a list of racewalking clubs right here in this article. For now, they will be based in the US and UK, but this may be expanded in the near future.
If you happen to be a member of a race walking club and would like to be included, we would love to hear from you via our contact page.
If you don’t see any clubs close to your location, you can always reach out on social media. There are communities on Google+ dedicated to walking, Facebook pages, Twitter hashtags, and Pinterest boards all dedicated to the sport, where you can also ask questions and learn from the experiences of others.
Racewalking clubs in the US
|Capital City Wanderers||Alabama|
|Port City Pacers||Alabama|
|Inland Empire Racewalkers||California|
|Walk 2 Win||California (San Diego)|
|The Lopers Club||California|
|South Florida Racewalkers||Florida|
|Indiana Racewalker's Club||Indiana|
|Greater Evansville Runners and Walkers Club||Indiana|
|The New Orleans Track Club||Louisiana|
|New England Walkers||Maine|
|Potomac Valley Track Club||Maryland and Virginia|
|Pegasus Walkers Athletic Club||Michigan|
|Racewalkers’ Club of St. Louis||Missouri|
|Cornhusker Flyers Track Club||Nebraska|
|Shore Athletic Club||New Jersey|
|New York Walkers Club||New York|
|New Albany Walking Club||Ohio|
|Miami Valley Track Club||Ohio|
|South Texas Walking Club||Texas|
|Parkside Athletic Club||Wisconsin|
Racewalking clubs in the UK
|Abingdon Athletics Club||Oxford|
|Belgrave Harriers||Greater London|
|Leicester Walking Club||Leicester|
|City of Sheffield Athletics Club||Sheffield|
|Enfield and Haringey Athletic Club||Enfield and Haringey Athletic Club|
|Aldershot, Farnham and District Athletic Club||Aldershot|
|Steyning Athletic Club||West Sussex|
|Tonbridge Athletic Club||Kent|