RACE WALKING 101  -  AN INTRODUCTION TO RACE WALKING
SCREEN
 T01P09
9 - HOW TO HOLD AND USE YOUR FEET
 
1. Proper foot technique involves holding the toes up during foot contact, land on the heels, rolling over the foot (with toes still raised), and pushing off from the toes.  When done properly, a race walker makes little sound with the feet.  (As a race walker, you will almost always hear a runner coming up from behind. However, you will probably not hear a race walker coming from behind you until he or she is about to pass you.)
 
2. Holding the toes as high as possible prior to foot contact has a second, very important benefit. It will help you straighten your knee before heel contact.
 
3. Unless you have a biomechanical problem that limits foot angle, your feet should point forward (rather than toed in or toed out).
 
4. The feet should track very closely--as if you are trying to walk on a beam no more than about 4" wide. Some walkers even cross their feet, having the left foot track further right than the right foot (though most instructors argue against this now).
 
5. As a beginning race walker, you will probably not be able to use your ankles and toes to drive your self forward -- relying more heavily in the large muscles of the leg.  As you get better, however, you will learn to use the feet more effectively in propelling yourself forward.
 
6. As you toe off, the foward-moving foot should skim very close to the walking surface. This action requires some bending of the knee but it should not be much more than is required to skim the surface. However, avoid the tendency of some new race walkers who, focused on having the knee straight when required to do so, also tend to keep the knee too straight when bringing the leg forward. Walking "stiff legged" significantly limits leg speed.

 
Icabod is showing very little action in his ankles during toe off.
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