Sunday, August 26, 2012

Walking to race walking step 3

Those of you that have been follow this progression from walking to race walking have so far explored the difference that good posture makes and have now become acquainted with paying attention to your hips.  The hip forward has probably made you feel a little out of balance with your stride.  I wanted you to feel that way a little so that when you start practicing this weeks step with the two previous steps it will begin to smooth out for you.  Still a long way to go but each new step should make the whole stride feel smoother and more effortless.  By Marathon weekend you just might be able to take a couple of minutes per mile off your time with about the same effort.

Ok this week concentrate on your arm swing.  As that hip is going forward the elbow, held close to your body, is going back.  A walker's correct arm swing is more to the back than a runners because your stride is more to the back.  So concentrate on that elbow going back as your hip goes forward and keep the posture straight.

You should feel that your stride is short in the front, (it's not as short as it seems), because your not striding out like a runner, your sending that hip forward and that elbow back.  The elbow is going back further than the hip is going forward and your legs will be following that.  So your stride will be longer in the back, on the average a 60/40 split but that varies with each person and isn't important, the important thing is that the stride is longer in the back.

You should also begin to notice that your feet are landing more in a straight line now if your hips are leading the stride.  Remember that rope that is pulling you forward from the hip and as Tracy said your walking tall as though you have a wire attached to the top of your head that is pulling you to perfect posture.

Thanks for reading and good training this week.  "Remember to stretch after eaxh training session.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Walking to Race Walking Step 2

Last week we discussed the benefits of having good posture when you walk.  Another advantage of keeping that back straight and chin up and level is that you don't get a lot of the aches and pains from exercise.  When you walk or run with your head down, the force of gravity is pushing on the back of your neck instead of on top of your head.  When you lean forward the gravity force hits you somewhere in the lower back.  So along with this weeks step to concentrate continue to keep that posture straight up and walk proud.

As Tracy mentioned our core, center of strength and where the power for fast and efficient walking comes from is a few inches below the navel.  So, for this week imagine that you have rope tied around your waist and you are being pulled forward.  The rope is pulling you forward from that core area so you are leading with your hips.  Straight up posture and you are being pulled forward by the rope around your hips.  Concentrate on each hip going forward and starting your walk step from right there in the hip as it moves forward.

A big part of big successful with fast efficient walking is how you perceive a motion.  What has worked well for me is concentrating on driving the hip forward.  I used to think swinging the leg forward and that was impeding my efficiency, thinking driving the hip forward helped me get the motion right.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Transitioning from walking to race walking.

Several of our Wish members walk their half and full marathons.  I want to offer those that are interested an easy transition from regular or "power" walking to efficient race walking.  The advantage is that you can walk at a faster pace with less effort than you can with regular fast walking.  You don't ever have to compete in judged race walking competitions to get the benefits of efficient walking.

Each week, starting tonight and then every Monday I'm going to give those that are interested an efficient walking step to work on when they walk that week.  Then each week you will get another piece of the puzzle.  You will lean something new to work on and continue to use what you have learned so far.

I will answer questions and offer individual tips to explain and clarify the techniques that I will present to you.  We have another race walker in our group, Tracy who has offered her help as well.  Tracy will be giving a slightly different view of the technique detail that I talk about each week.  How well you can perceive a technique move will determine how successful you will be with the race walking.  Having a couple of slightly differing views helps a lot since not everyone feels a move the same way.In addition I will post videos and commentary from accomplished race walkers and coaches. 

This weeks focus is posture.  Posture is extremely important to efficient walking.  Gravity pushes down on us all the time and the most efficient way to move through gravity is with a straight up walking posture.  Back straight, chin up and walk tall.  Good posture also allows you to get more motion form your hips which translates to a longer stride.

This week when you walk concentrate on posture, back straight, chin up, walk tall.  Try to get in at least two training walks before Monday.

Another good habit to get into right now is to stretch regularly, at least 3 times a week.  Stretches for the back, different leg muscles, hips and groin are all very important.  You will probably be sore for a while if you haven't been stretching regularly.

Lastly it's time to do some house cleaning.  Make a deal with your self to stop drinking soft drinks and drink cold water instead.

Please respond to this post if your interested in learning to walk more efficiently.  You can post your questions on the weekly thread or directly to Tracy or I on the Wish board or on Facebook.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Travel Tips

I know that a lot of you that travel probably already do this but for those new to traveling to races and traveling in general, here are some tips.

I buy two of everything I use, toothbrush and paste, deodorant, electric get the idea.  I put together a kit with all the stuff in it and then when it comes time to travel then all I have to do is throw that kit in the suitcase and not worry about that kind of stuff.  The other day I lost my comb so I just borrowed the comb from my travel kit till I had a chance to get to the store and replace it.  It helps when you unexpectedly run out of something to.  But the main thing is that is one less thing to think about when I travel.

Another thing I do is buy vacation clothes off season and put them away already washed and pressed or folded in a suitcase ready for a trip, I have one suitcase for each season, already pretty much packed.  DisneyWorld in January has been a challenge the last few years since it's fluctuated between 21 and 85 degrees.

I keep a gym bag packed with race stuff and exercise stuff in general  I use it pretty much everyday and keep it packed with a couple of sets of shorts tech shirts and socks.  I also keep it stocked with safety pins, bodyglide and extra shoe laces.

So when I'm ready to take off for a weekend race I just need to throw the shaving kit in the pretty much already packed suitcase, grab the gym bag and I'm ready to go.

Thanks for reading and please share your own tips for making travel packing and preperation less of a headache.