What is race walking?


Race walking by definition is described as:

  • Racewalking, or race walking, is a long-distance athletic event. Although it is a foot race, it is different from running in that one foot must appear to be in contact with the ground at all times. Stride length is reduced, so to achieve competitive speeds, racewalkers must attain cadence rates comparable to those achieved by Olympic 400-metre runners—and they must do so for hours at a time since the Olympic events are the 20 kilometer race walk and 50-kilometre (31 mi) race walk.

Race walking is actually a sports event.  I think its rather funny to watch!  It is much like running only if the participant starts running they are automatically disqualified.  It is a really fast walk where you are pumping your arms just as you would in a run.  It gets the heart rate up just as in a run and burns calories just as quickly as well.  You would stride as quickly as you can without being considered running.

I am sure there are some rules that govern walk racing; I just dont know what they are.  As a high school and college track and field athlete I have seen the walk races take place and those participants are just as tired as I am after a race.  To me it actually looks harder than running.

Race walking is a competetitive athletic event.  It is a foot race where one of the feet must be on the ground at all times.  There are two specific rules that are important during a race walk.  The athlete's back toe must not leave the ground until the heal of the front foot has touched the ground.  The second rule is that the supporting leg must be straight from the point of contact with the ground and stay straight until one's body passes over the leg.  The judgement of these rules is done by the human eye and controversy can arise.  The walkers pump their arms close to their hips and their strides are short and quick.  Race walking can help one tone muscles and burn calories.  When learning the technique of race walking it is important not to focus on your speed, rather one should get down the correct walking form and build skills. 

Continue Learning about Types of Walking

Types of Walking

Types of Walking

Know the difference between speed walking, power walking and race walking? By varying your pace or way of walking, you can address different areas of your body and even focus on your mental health. Learn more about different types ...

of walking and their benefits with expert advice from Sharecare.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.