Speed walking, also called fast walking or race walking, is a competitive, athletic and Olympic sport where athletes normally race on foot adhering to specific techniques and rules. Speed walking rules were updated in 1995 by the International Association of Athletics Federation to spell out the variation between walking and running. During speed walking make sure that your stride distance is reduced. This way, you will have effective competitive speed to complete the race within the shortest time.
Maintaining Ground Contact Rule
Observing your back toe position is a fundamental rule in speed walking. When you participate in a speed walking race, your back toe should not leave the ground until your front foot touches down. The idea is to set a clear difference between running and speed walking. Ensure that both of your feet are always on the track at the same time as seen through watchful eyes of officials. Failure to adhere to the rules may lead to you being being disqualified from the competition. In addition, make sure that your back toe is parallel with your front heel to maintain a double contact motion.
Straightened Leg Rule
When you are speed walking, your legs should always be straight when touching the ground. You should maintain this straight leg posture as the rest of your body passes over that leg. The straightened leg rule is used to distinguish speed walking from ordinary walking where you bend your knees while walking. In addition, the straightened leg rule sets a difference between speed walking and running.
Human Eye Contact
Unlike other sports where judges can use video replays, speed walking requires a judge to have sharp vision. This visibility contact helps the judge to closely watch leg movements and posture to see if you are violating the contact rule. If a judge realizes that your back toe is touching the ground at the same time with the front foot, disqualification may follow. Judges also rely on their vision to observe the straightened leg posture with the ground at all times. If you fail to maintain this posture, you may be disqualified.
Like other competitive sports, speed walking requires that you follow the rules faithfully in order to excel. One of the techniques you can employ to ensure that you maintain contact and straightened leg angle is to keep your arms low and near your hips Keeping your hands at that low level ensures that your shoulders are not rising. Also, avoid sideways movements so that you can achieve effective forward momentum.
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