Monday, September 10, 2012

Walking to race walking step 5

Walking to race walking step 5.

This week I'm going to talk about the straight leg that is one of the big features of race walking.  When your rear leg comes forward and the foot lands mostly on the heel then the leg straightens and you keep it straight until your body passes over it and it becomes the back leg.  The best way I've had it described to me is to imagine your vaulting with the straight leg and your body is riding the leg like a pole vaulter rides the pole.

This same motion is the way extreme mountain climbers walk when going up hills since it allows your legs to go forward the most efficient way and use less energy.  Going uphill with thin air and a pack requires that you walk as efficiently as possible.  That same motion helps the endurance walker do long distance races while maintaining a brisk speed.

So straight up posture, motion starting from the hip going forward, imagine that you are being pulled forward from a rope tied around your hip area, keep your feet going in a straight line and now straighten that front leg untill your body rides over it.

The straight leg is part of what a judge looks for in a race walking competition but for doing our races the straight leg is for better form and faster forward motion without using as much energy.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Walking to race walking step 4

So far we have explored getting our posture upright and proud, leading with out hips and counterbalancing the forward hip motion with the arm swing going further to the back.  Now this week I want to talk about what the feet are doing.

When we walk more efficiently our feet are going to be landing in a straight line in front of us, as someone mentioned like the drunk test that the police give you.  When you bring that hip forward the leg and foot are going to be there anyway when your doing it properly, but this week it's time to concentrate on that.  Your front stride will seem short to you but it is NOT as short as it seems.  It's just a perception.

It helps to practice the straight line foot steps when you have a line in the road to follow or on a track that has lane lines.  If you go to a track try going down the stadium steps a few times or just walk thinking about going down steps like that.  You walk down steps automatically in a straight line because it's the most stable and balanced way to walk down those steps.

As you walk this week, with straight up posture, being pulled forward by your hips, with good arm swing, getting that elbow back and concentrating on your feet landing in a straight line, the whole motion should begin to smooth out for you.

Your foot plant should be more of a heel first plant, on the forward foot, then the foot rolling forward to the toe when your foot is back and then the toe push off to bring the rear foot forward.  We will discuss this part more next week but for this week a good exercise to do is to walk on just your heels for about 25 yards, alternate back to normal walking and then 25 more yards on just your heels.  This is a good warmup exercise also for before a race or training walk.

Thanks for reading and good walking this week.