Benefits of Racewalking

Check out this article by Jeff Savage on www.walkingresource.com about the benefits of racewalking.  Even if you never intend to compete and haven’t quite mastered the straight leg landing, racewalking is good for your health and fitness.

 

Minneapolis Clinic

Here’s a shot of the group at the Race Walking Clinic of Excellence in Minneapolis September 21 and 22, 2012.  The cat in the hat on the left is Tim Seaman, coach, Olympian, and multi race walking record holder in the USA.  The Minnesota folks thought Tim, being from San Diego, might need some head gear to cope with the crisp northern fall air.  On the far right, in black, is Jeff Savage.  Jeff is a former elite race walker who coaches, writes race walking books, and shoots photos/videos at races around the world.

It’s all in the hips, baby!

This is my new mantra.  And it’s supposed to make me a better race walker…

I spent this past weekend in Minneapolis at a Race Walking Clinic of Excellence, taught by Tim Seaman and Jeff Savage, and hosted by the Twin Cities Race Walkers (yes they have a club, more on that in another post).  There were 24 experienced and aspiring racewalkers from Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, California, Wisconsin and Manitoba, ranging in age from 29 to 70+.  This the second time I’ve been to one of these clinics and it didn’t disappoint.

Saturday started with everyone being photographed to get a “before” picture of our technique.  The chance to see and hear what’s right and wrong about technique is one of the most valuable parts of this clinic.  So I did my best technique for the camera and felt pretty confident – straight front leg, good arm swing, feet landing on the center line, not leaning forward.  Then we looked at the pictures.  Yikes, what a train wreck!  Way too much arms (guess I overcompensated after my first clinic where I was told to use more arms).  And no hip movement!  The rest of Saturday was spent doing drills, stretches, and more walking to try and get the feel of less arms and more hips.

We were back Sunday morning (in the frost) and the more hips thing was still feeling really weird. I was walking in circles (ok, ovals on the track) willing each hip to move forward, while remembering less arms, straight front leg, smaller stride.  It would have been sooo much easier to pat my head, rub my stomach and chew gum.  Or run.

Something finally clicked. We were videotaped before lunch and everyone showed huge improvements.  My hips were actually moving!! And I wasn’t overstriding anymore.  The arms, well, they’re still a work in progress.  The coaches did a bit more tweaking and by the end of the clinic on Sunday, I was feeling a lot more comfortable.  And I noticed I was going a bit faster without any more effort.   Success!!

This clinic was definitely worthwhile (shopping at the Minneapolis outlet stores didn’t hurt either).  Tim and Jeff do 5-6 clinics in different places each year and I’d highly recommend attending one.  If we can get a minimum of 22 people, and a suitable location, Tim and Jeff could do a clinic in Winnipeg.