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Copyright 2012 Club Northwest
 
RACEWALKING by Stan Chraminski

Stride

Place each foot while landing on the same straight line. Pretend you are walking on a string stretching out in front of you and you want to step on it every step. This techinque forces your hips to rotate forward and back as well as up and down and contributes to stride length and speed.

Take a short stride. Don't stride out far in front of you. The power in the stride should come from the backward pushing versus reaching out in front of you. A good way to check how far out in front you should step is to raise both your toes well up and walk on your heels with a normal stride. You cannot step very far out this way. The landing point will be a shoe length or one and a half shoe lengths in front of your body. This is the point you should use when racewalking. Fitness or powerwalking emphasizes a long stride in front but this actually curtails speed because it causes a "braking" action and bending of the knees. Notice the dotted line on the drawing below. The stride in front is about 1/4 to 1/3 as long as the stride to the rear.

With a short forward stride and a longer pushing stride to the rear, you can get the rapid stride rate or turnover which brings speed in racewalking. The benefit of the short forward stride is also that the period of straightening of the knee is lessened. Remember, the leg must be straight from landing to when it passes under you. If you keep the stride short in front, this becomes a matter of only a few inches.