Racewalking Workouts

Racewalking. rhoon/Digital Vision Vectors/Getty Images

Vary your walking workouts to develop speed, increase your metabolism and V02Max, build muscle and performance.

The key to these workouts is not to exceed your lactate threshold - working out so hard and long that your body builds up lactic acid in the muscles. This occurs when you workout at 90% or more of your maximum heart rate for more than 50 minutes. By knowing your Maximum Heart Rate and using a heart rate monitor, you can ensure that you are working out at the right pace for the various workouts.

I learned the walking workouts at workshops I attended - Dave McGovern's Racewalking Clinic and Ero-Fit Racewalking Weekends.

Racewalking Workout Schedule

This weekly suggested schedule is recommended in Dave McGovern's racewalk clinic. It's designed to hone all aspects of your racewalking performance -- speed, endurance, and aerobic fitness.

Each hard workout day is followed by a recovery day or rest day so your body has time to repair and build new muscle and the blood supply to nourish that muscle. You can modify this schedule as best suits your lifestyle, but try to alternate hard and easy days.

Monday: Rest day. No walking of significant distance or intensity.

Tuesday: Economy Workout: This is the speed-building workout. As Dave says, to go faster, you need to go fast!

Wednesday: Recovery: Take it easy to let your body build new muscle and energy systems.

Thursday: Threshold Workout: This workout builds your aerobic capacity and takes you to the limit.

Friday: Recovery

Saturday: Threshold Workout: You can use the same Threshold workout or change it up with intervals vs. steady state workouts.

Sunday: Distance Workout: Prepare for longer races with this long, slower workout.

With each workout, pay attention to your racewalking form and posture.

    Racewalking Drills

    These drills may be practiced during a warm-up. Initially, they should be done slowly to develop correct movements; later, they can be done at a quicker pace. Begin with at least five minutes of slow walking, then perform the drills for 30 - 40 seconds. Do several repetitions.

    While walking, hands placed on shoulders and upper arms horizontal with the ground, rotate your arms in a backstroke motion.

    While walking, hold one arm straight by your side, rotating the other backwards (as in the swimming backstroke). Feel full extension along the side of the torso of circling arm.

    While walking, cross the foot over the centerline of the body with each step; maximize hip flex (twist) while keeping upper body quiet. The right hip rotates forward.  The foot crosses over the center line, noted by the torque of the shirt.

    Bend your arms at 90 degrees, hold upper arm close to the side of the body, forearms parallel to each other. Racewalk with good technique, as you hold your arms absolutely still.

    Racewalk with a long extension BEHIND you. Apply a slight forward lean. Focus on the back leg and roll off the toes before the foot leaves the ground.

    Take very short, fast racewalk steps with hip flex for a distance of 20 to 30 meters. Work towards increasing the number of steps in a shorter period of time.

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