Race walking is a popular athletic sport that involves long distance races and differs from running competitions in style. The participant must appear to have one foot touching the ground at all times and the adherence of this is closely scrutinized by a panel of judges. The Summer Olympics holds two races, the 20 kilometers and 50 kilometers walks, and the IAAF World Championships in Athletics features similar events. It is a common misconception that the sport is relatively simple compared to other professional athletic sports. It’s just walking, right? Not exactly. It is a surprisingly complex skill that requires thousands or hours to master proper form and technique.
It is important for race walking athletes aspiring to professional sporting achievement to develop a proper walking technique. This includes maintaining the correct form to use otherwise neglected muscles in order to maximize your walking potential. Athletes must combine basic walking techniques with a complex strategy to be successful. As walking habits form quickly, it is imperative that aspiring athletes start slow and master the most basic methods specifically foot position, foot striking, hand, arm, and shoulder position, limiting over-striding, and posture.
All workouts should start with warming up and stretching, and as race walking is not only dominated by professional athletes, many participants often neglect this stage. This is can lead to injuries, namely muscle strains. Training should begin with slow walking to warm up the muscles and get the blood pumping, followed a series of stretching drills designed to improve walking. Recommended drills for race walkers include arm swings, bent arm swings, snakes, long arms, backward windmills, hurdlers, side leg swings, forward leg kicks, hip rocks, and bend down hamstrings. It is also crucial to stretch down after completing any race walking training Some recommended post-workout stretches are the calf, hamstring, quadriceps, shin, groin, and shoulder stretches.