TECHNIQUE
 
The image at right is of Jefferson Perez of Ecuador, 1996 Olympic Games gold medalists in the 20K race walk, and 3-time holder of the world record at 20K. The photos that make up this animation were taken during a 10K race walk in which he averaged just over 6 minutes per mile. On my computer, he is taking about 186 steps per minute (close to his real-world step rate)--which makes this animation a fair representation of his racing speed.  [see Note 1]
 
But, how can anyone walk that fast
legally with such apparent ease?
 
The answer is fairly simple. In addition to natural talent, good conditioning and a lot of heart, Perez (now retired) walked that fast because he had mastered the technical skills of race walking--and he made it look easy because he had great race walking style.

Technique is the manner and degree to which
one employs the technical skills of an endeavor.

This section of eRaceWalk.com presents a comprehensive examination of race walking technique as employed by walkers of all skill levels. It does so by looking at the concepts behind, elements of, and visual demonstrations of the technical skills currently being taught by race walking instructors and coachs to walkers at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced skill levels.
 
The information is based on the best narratives available to me (through books, technical papers, and Web pages); notes I have taken at classes, clinics, and camps led by top race walkers, coaches, and judges; by closely watching some of the best race walkers in the world; and by carefully studying many hundreds of photographs of race walkers (of all skill levels) in action. I have also studied a lot of Web articles on physics and biomechanics (for walking and running) as I tried to piece the entire puzzle together. As I note on the About Us page, I am simply trying to tell the story others have developed, no matter what their discipline.
 
My primary sources of information and photos are as follows.
  • McGovern:  Dave McGovern of New York has produced the most extensive collection of articles and books on race walking technique that I am aware of. Dave is an outstanding race walker, makes his living teaching, coaching, and writing about race walking. He knows (and has strong opinions about) most facets of the sport. His Web site is Dave's World Class Racewalking.
     
  • Salvage:  Jeff Salvage of Pennsylvania has the second-most extensive collection of articles, books, and videos on race walking technique that I am aware of. Jeff is a very good race walker, supplements his day job as a race walking coach and outstanding photographer of race walkers. You will want to visit his outstanding collection of photographs taken at major races. His Web site is Racewalk.com.
     
  • Westerfield: Gary Westerfield of New York is a track coach but, more important, is one of the two IAAF race walking judges for the United States. He is very knowledgeable about race walking technique, and I highly recommend his 2007 paper on The Use of Biomechanics in the Judging of Race Walking that contains very valuable insights in the biomechanical underpinnings of good race walking technique.
     
  • There are a number of Web pages on running technique that provide valuable insights into both running and race walking technique.
     
  • Visini: Vittorio Visini, Head Coach of the Italian Race Walking Team and former Olympian, has an outstanding (and extensive) collection of current and historical racwalking photos at his Multimediavisini.com Web site.
     
  • There are many photos of race walkers in the UK available in the Web archives of the Race Walking Record. I highly recommend a visit to their Web site--and a subscription to their magazine.
     
  • There are many photo galleries at the Web sites of race walking clubs and the personal Web sites of top race walkers. See the Web Links page for a list of those sites.
     
  • YouTube offers a wide variety of of race walking videos--including the slow-motion videos created by Vittorio Visini (mentioned above) and used in the Video Studies pages of this secton. Simply enter "racewalking" or "race walking" (without the quotes) in the search box at the top of the YouTube page to begin locating the race walking videos.
 
[Note 1] My thanks to Jeff Salvage for letting me use the images of Jefferson Perez used to create the animation shown at the top of this page. Jeff has an outstanding Web site at Racewalk.com that discusses, among other things, the technique of race walking.
 
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