This article will provide a detailed description of what race walking is while also informing more about the various race walking techniques that are commonly involved to get the posture right.


Do you want to win competitions, burn more calories per mile, and have more toned muscles? The sport of race walking might be ideal for you. What began as a Victorian-era high-society pastime has been a staple of the Olympic Games since 1904. Look for ways to accelerate quickly without trying to break into a run. All the cardio workouts may seem to not work. Running jumping and cycling may seem like not really helping your cause to burn calories and gain muscles. If you’ve got a similar problem then you might want to try out race walking. Race walking was quite prominent, especially during the 18th century in England. Where the long-distance competitive walking was called to be pedestrianism and is usually slightly slower in pace than running or jogging. Racewalking was also adapted as an Olympic sport later on when it was named the race walking Olympics. This race walking technique is not something that can be easily achieved but if you master it properly you might see a lot of benefits associated with it.

History of race walking

The origins of race walking can be traced back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The footmen, who would walk and run alongside the coaches for their masters, were the first contenders. Known as "Pedestrianism," the sport grew in popularity as a professional endeavor during the 19th century.

Race walking made its Olympic debut in 1904 with a half-mile race that was a part of the decathlon's former 10-event "all round championship." With the exception of the 1928 Amsterdam Games, individual races, at first over shorter distances, were first introduced at the 1906 Intercalated Games in Athens, Greece, and have since been a part of the Olympic Games and World Championships.

It is a respectable sport with a long history in the Olympic Games and strong roots in track and field competition. However, contemporary viewers and commentators continue to disparage racewalkers despite this. You have three options: take offense, learn to deal with the punches, or walk away.

The days of kings competing, significant prize money on the line, and genuine respect were the days of walking. When running took over in the previous century, all of that came to an end.

Olympic racewalking receives no respect from sports commentators. Every Summer Olympics, they can't help but make snide remarks or play the "Benny Hill" theme song as a joke during the women's world record-breaking performance.

Extreme sport competitors are the fastest marathon and 50K walkers. The 26.2-mile marathon is several miles shorter than the standard 50-kilometer distance. However, recent doping scandals have also tarnished the sport. Some world champions have been denied the opportunity to compete or had their Olympic medals taken away.

Because of the consistent surface, race walking is also done on running tracks. Rubber coating is applied to the tracks to create a smooth, continuous surface. The track's width is approximately 122 cm, and its length varies from 200 to 400 meters.

20 km race walk

This international championship race walking program's shortest distance is traditionally run on a looped road course.

20 km Race Walk History

Men have participated in the 20 km race walk at the Olympic Games since 1956, while women only started competing in 1992, initially over 10 km. Later, however, at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, 20 km was added.

China has recently been one of the top 20 km race walking nations, taking home four of the six available medals for men at the Olympic Games in 2012 and 2016. 

50 km race

This athletics race walking competition, which is the longest on the Olympic schedule, is typically held on a looped road course and one of the long distance competitions.

50 km race walk history

Women first competed in the 50 km race walking event at the 2017 World Athletics Championships held in London. The men's 50 km race walk has been a part of the Olympic Games since 1932, with the exception of the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Furthermore, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Program did not include a 50 km race walk for women.

Robert Korzeniowski of Poland, who won a breathtaking hat-trick of Olympic titles from 1996 to 2004, is considered to be the greatest 50-kilometer racewalker in history.

In the Soviet Union, race walking is extremely popular, and the majority of the competitors come from China, Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Australia, Russia, Australia, Russia, and other countries.

How to do race walking

The athlete uses a very challenging technique called race walking to advance as rapidly as possible without running. But there are race walking rules. 

Walking uphill and downhill require different methods. In order to conserve energy and speed, walkers who are climbing incline their bodies forward, reduce their strides, and bend their arms slightly more and swing them less.

To maintain contact with the ground while falling, they lean back, prolong their stride, lower their forearms, and swing them more.


The athletes make an effort to walk with as much ease as they can while keeping their upper bodies straight for balance.


With a hip swing that induces the hip rotation typically seen in race walking, the athlete presses off his back leg in this step and extends his other leg forward. The vigorous arm movement increases the stride's amplitude by helping to maintain balance as the weight is transferred.

   Both feet on the ground

The athlete performs this step by putting the other feet firmly on the ground before lifting the back foot off the ground. Additionally, it is ensured that the feet are positioned in a straight line in front of one another.


The athlete shifts his center of gravity forward in the final step by using the muscles in his upper legs to propel himself forward. The elite walkers typically move at speeds greater than 15 km/h.


The first person to cross the finish line is deemed the winner. The judges closely scrutinize the walkers as:

  1.  A competitor is disqualified if they fail to step upon a straight leg or lose contact with the ground more than twice.
  1. If a competitor violates the rules just once, the judge will issue a warning and let them go; however, if it happens again, a disqualification warning will be displayed on the board for all competitors to see. However, if three judges find an athlete in violation, this results in disqualification.

Race Walking vs. Speed Walking : What’s the difference?

Speed walking and race walking speed are not the same thing. A good fast walking technique does not use the straight leg technique which gives racewalking its hip rotation, despite borrowing racewalking's posture and arm motion.

In races like 5K charity runs but also half-marathons, you can employ the racewalking technique to walk more quickly and even outpace some runners to the finish line. However, racewalking is also a competitive sport in and of itself.

Locally judged races can be won, and if you are talented enough, you may be selected for the Olympic team. Racewalking provides opportunities for people of all ages to contend and achieve national standing, so it's not only for the young.

Racewalking is way different than speed walking. Although a race walking technique often requires posture and arm motion similar to fast walking it consists of hip rotation which is not quite prominent in fast walking. In events such as 5K charity runs and half marathons, race walking is usually involved which is otherwise also called competitive walking. There are also techniques to this competitive walking that allow people to even beat runners. However, racewalking on its own is also considered to be quite a competitive sport.

You can win most of the local level races and if you think you are well accustomed to the techniques you may also enter the race walking Olympics which will give you an even better standing. One of the main highlights of this race walking is that anyone of any age group can easily participate. You can also use racewalking as a means to boost the intensity of your workouts which will also increase your heart rate from a moderate level to vigorous intensity.

You could use racewalking speed to increase the rigor of your walking exercises. Your heart rate may increase from a moderate to a vigorous level as a result.

Equipments required for race walking


The most crucial item for racewalkers is their footwear. "When racewalking, it is impossible to land on your toes. You come to a stop on your heels and roll completely through.

Shoes should have a lower heel to encourage the heel-to-toe rolling motion because it will allow the foot to touch the ground more quickly. Because racewalkers do not even land on their toes, this roll is essential. 

Sweat-wicking socks

Cotton socks are not recommended for walkers. Cotton keeps perspiration close to the body, which promotes blister development.

Comfortable Clothes

It's crucial to dress appropriately. Sweat-wicking abilities should be a feature of fabrics. Chaffing can happen when clothing is too tight. Additionally, beginners must purchase a pair of shorts that won't climb up.

Hydration equipment

Just like other sporting events, racewalking causes perspiration and thirst. Jackinsky advises using a hydration pack for longer walks so that walkers can bring their water with them.Music: 


Good music is advised, much like how runners have a favourite tunes or playlist that gets their blood pumping.


Sunglasses, a hat, or a visor may be needed on sunny days or in warm weather. Racewalkers may need gloves or warm clothing in cooler weather.

Prepare Yourself for Race Walking

You will need a good coaching class and consistent feedback to learn the right way to racewalking. The techniques involved in race walking while may seem easy you need to ensure that proper posture is maintained to get it right. It mainly needs detailed observation to get the right techniques in hand. Here are some ways you can prepare yourself for race walking.

1. Participating in racewalking clubs

You might want to be a part of the racewalking clubs where you get to meet with people who have similar interests. Being a part of the club and being judged within a competitive environment will help me develop as a racewalker. Plus you will also get to gather trophies, ribbons, and medals from various races which will increase your confidence and help you reach the Olympic speed walking level.

2.  Racewalking guides and videos:

Wanting to read about the basics and advanced techniques of racewalking can be easily done via various racewalking guides and videos that are available online. You can also check out online video streams. These books come in as quite helpful especially if you want to learn more about racewalking and its history.

3. Racewalking coaching class and clinics:

Finding a clinic or a coach will help you learn all the essential techniques that are required for a race walker. There are also several clinics that consist of proper training plans. Racewalking is such a unique sport that it becomes hard to get it right without proper training.

Race Walking Technique

There are various parts you will need to concentrate on when practicing for race walking. Just focusing on your legs will not provide the right posture or speed required for race walking. Here are various parts and techniques needed for race walking that will help you gain a better understanding.

1. Head and posture:

  • The head level should be straight and your eyes should be looking at least 20 yards ahead of your body.
  • Make sure you are relaxed especially the jaw part and there is no tension in your neck

2. Arms:

  • Arms should be placed at an angle of 85 to 90 degrees at all times while racewalking
  • While swinging your arms need to be kept loose yet they need to be swung vigorously right from your shoulders.
  • Keep your hands close to the body with the elbow of your hand brushing your hip bones
  • Your hands under no circumstance should cross over the vertical midline of your body or even go above the chest level.
  • After the completion of the forward swing your upper arm will be at level with your torso. During a forward swing, your hands should not be driven upward.
  • During the backswing, you can imagine that you are reaching out to your phone in your back pocket and avoiding the extension of your arms past your range of motion.
  • Make sure you keep your hands relaxed with a loosely clenched fist and the thumb on top which is the most important technique.
  • Your arm should swing around powerfully while also maintaining a powerful torso and leg technique, especially during Olympic speed walking.

3. Torso:

  • Ensure your body posture is relaxed and straight
  • Avoid leaning too much either in the back or front.
  • Hold in your abdominal muscles and do not clench the muscles.
  • Shoulders should remain relaxed at all times.

4. Feet:

  •  One foot will always be in contact with the ground
  • Lading too far can lead to overstriding which can cause a soft knee and also a possible injury to your knee muscles.
  • Land on your heel with your ankle being flexed within your range of motion. Be sure that you do not lift your toes while flexing the ankle as it can stress the tendons at the top of the ankle.
  • There might be soreness, tightness, or burning hence take it easy till your ankle muscles become conditioned.

5. Hips:

  • Rotate your hips forward and back horizontally which may seem similar to the twist dance.
  • Avoid excess lateral hip motion as it can lead to hip muscle injuries
  • The oblique muscles will be the primary flexors in this action.

6. Legs and stride:

  • The knee of the front leg which is advancing must be kept straight when the advancing foot will be in contact with the ground.
  • Move the legs slowly at first and then gradually increase your speed
  • Do not overstride while walking at a fast pace.


Now that you know so much about racewalking, its time for you to jump in and get started! You have all the things you need to know to get going. Your walking workouts can shift up a notch if you learn to racewalk. See if you can attend a clinic or get mentoring in your area to learn this Olympic technique. Now that you know everything about race walking and how to apply various racewalking techniques it will now be easier for you to take part in Olympic speed walking. Once you understand the rules and the techniques it will be easier to take part in race walking and eventually be a part of high-level competitions.


  1. Why do you get disqualified in race walking?

One foot must always be on the ground when racewalking, according to the rules. A walker might well be disqualified from a racewalking competition if, as seen with the unaided eye, he or she "lifts," or loses touch with the ground with both feet.

  1. What injuries do race walkers get?

The hamstrings, knee, foot, shin, and ankle were the most frequently hurt areas, in that order. While abdominal injuries were rare, the pelvis and back injuries were more common, possibly as a result of a mix of the impact forces encountered and the disproportionate movements of the torso and trunk.

  1. How fast do race walkers go?

While being tested, the race walkers averaged a speed of 12.5 km/hr, which was faster than the 8.7 km/hr average speed attained by regular men their age while fast walking. 

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