Race Walking

Last December I got a wild hare and decided that I wanted to try something new, and that something new was race walking. DH2U had put the idea into my head many months before. I dismissed it at the time. I can’t even remember why now.

I really knew nothing about race walking except for an old (1980s) FYI segment by Hal Linden, at the end of which he did the funny hip moving walk away from the camera.

Hal Linden - FYI

I used the Googles to find out more and discovered that there would be a race walking clinic in my town mid-January. At first I wasn’t sure if it would be too much for a newbie, so I wrote the organizer, two-time Olympian Tim Seaman. He wrote right back, and I decided that if I was going to do this, I wanted to learn good technique from the beginning, so I signed up.

I was so glad that the majority of the group were new to the sport. That removed the internal feeling that I might be holding the rest of the group back.

The clinic was wonderful. It was two days and a great mix of classroom and track time. We also got pictures of us walking so we could see our form, which was unbelievably helpful.

Tammy Race Walking

The comment says “Nothing much to comment on mostly good.” The in-person critique was much more thorough! Here is a more instructive one showing the angles – and letting me see I was overstepping.

Race Walking Overstepping

The morning of day two is when I realized that the injury that ended my dance career prevents me from doing proper form. Each step ends with a pivot and push, which is the equivalent of a side step, which I cannot do. Tim was wonderful during my mini pity party, and he pointed out that using the rest of the technique will help me dramatically improve my time.

In the past, no matter how hard I pushed myself, I was never able to walk fast enough for it to be cardio. But walking with Tim doing what I could technique wise, I definitely was winded. It gave me hope.

These race walking clinics take place across the country. If you’re interested, check out the website to find one close to you – or come to San Diego next January and enjoy our good weather. (Note: This is not a paid post. I loved the clinic and have a newly developed love for the sport as well.)

In the time that has passed since the class, I have dropped my per mile time by three minutes, and I’m consistently able to have my last mile be at least as fast, and normally faster, than my first mile. The few pounds that I have lost have been an added benefit.

I bought my first pair of race walking shoes a couple weeks ago.

Tammy's new shoes

While the heel should be slightly less high than these, the movements are so much easier not having the thick, soft heels of my cross trainers. What a difference better equipment makes!

What was your latest wild hare? or Does anyone else remember the old FYI segments on ABC?

2 thoughts on “Race Walking”

    1. I’m so flattered you stopped by my blog! Tim did a great job teaching us the basics. Of course I put in the picture of me in my best form! I’ve now added in another picture that was incredibly helpful – it shows my hands were going too high, and I was overstepping.

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