Danielle Kirk

Danielle Kirk : Olympic – hopeful racewalker

racewalking

January 23, 2000 US WALKERS REWRITE RECORD BOOK

Someone is going to have to print a new edition of the racewalk handbook. That’s because four of its American records were broken today (1-23) during the “Road to Sydney” 30km/20km race at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. Atlanta Olympian Curt Clausen was the biggest winner of the day, breaking the 2-hour record and the 30 km record while winning the latter in a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, 0.4 seconds. ARCO resident Andrew Hermann finished second (2:12:31.4), but was leading at 25 km, so that record is now his. Danielle Kirk got the fourth and final new record (1:39:27).

racewalker danielle kirk
Danielle Age: 26 – Beginning weight: 126/20.74% bodyfat – Present weight: 112/14.4% bodyfat

Danielle Age: 26 – Beginning weight: 126/20.74% bodyfat – Present weight: 112/14.4% bodyfat

From NORTH AMERICAN RACEWALKING JOURNAL

Racewalking: How it can improve your physical performance

Walking helps to strengthen your body, to be healthier, and to improve your figure. Anyone can do racewalking, but for this, it is necessary to know the rules and techniques. That’s why I’ll help you find out how to do race walking correctly and what race walking should be like for beginners.

How is Racewalking Different From Running?

Racewalking differs from running in many aspects such as the rules, technique, and speed of movement. The main requirement for walking in race walking is to walk straight and lean on the heel. At all times one of the legs must be in contact with the ground and in this way support, balance, and help keep the body in an upright position is promoted. These are some of the most notable differences between race walking and racing:

  • When running, the athlete starts both legs at the same time between touches to the ground, while when walking, one leg marks the movement.
  • Running is focused on speed control and performance throughout the run, while race walking maintains a more consistent pace throughout the run.
  • When running, the legs are subjected to a load of 6 times the usual body weight, which can lead to serious injuries. Walking does not put such a force on the legs; therefore, it is safer.

 

Race Walking Execution Rules

racewalkingRace walking is an alternation of steps performed in such a way that the athlete’s foot is always in contact with the ground.

  • The front leg must be fully extended from the first contact with the ground.
  • For women, the distance must be 3.5 km in the arena, 10 km in stadiums, and 20 km on the road. For men: 3.5 km in the arena, 10.20 km in stadiums, and 20.50 km on the road.
  • With each new step, the front foot should touch the ground until the foot of the back foot lifts off the ground again.
  • The supporting leg must not bend at the knee.

Basic Techniques You Should Know Before Practicing Racewalking

This sport includes its technique to achieve optimal performance. The result is an adequate distribution of the load (bodyweight) during the march, this includes an average speed that must be between 5 and 10km per hour. The gait technique has the following basic rules:

  1. The arms should be bent at the elbows at an angle not exceeding 90 degrees. This helps the athlete to move, when the arms are correctly positioned, this makes the balanced movement of the walker much easier.
  2. The athlete’s back must be kept straight. However, the body should be slightly leaning forward. The main key to success when walking is to maintain the balance of the center of gravity.
  3. When walking, the heel should touch the ground first, then the ball of the foot. Important when walking, the support must be smooth and even throughout the foot.
  4. Legs should not be bent.
  5. You must move rhythmically and don’t forget to breathe properly Breathing control is essential to guarantee performance, that’s why during training the emphasis is on deep and controlled inspirations and exhalations.

Race Walking Health Benefits

  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Reduces cholesterol levels
  • Strengthens the skeletal system
  • Improves insulin production and tissue response to it
  • Increases the volume of muscle mass
  • Tones the body
  • Reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases
  • Promotes weight loss

What does Weight Training Contribute to Performance During Race Walking?

Regular weight training in a gym or at home with dumbbells and weights promotes muscle development and increased strength and endurance. This not only looks good aesthetically but also has positive effects on health and sports performance.

Weight training increases physical performance, reduces the risk of injury from falls, and improves posture. Weight training is an important component of sports training at any age.

Benefits of Weight Training

Improves Body Composition and Posture

Both women and men benefit from weight training done correctly. The muscles become firm and the fat content is reduced. The back is stabilized and the pelvis is straightened by the tighter abdominal muscles, this favors a better balance of the center of gravity during walking. In addition, the posture becomes more upright, this favors better control of movements.

 

Improves the Performance of the Cardiovascular System

The positive effects of weight training on the cardiovascular system are well known. But studies show that weight training can also lower heart rate and increase stroke volume, these effects are particularly important in sports like racewalking because good cardiovascular performance is needed to ensure good athletic performance. Positive effects have also been proven in reducing blood pressure. Being able to reduce and even normalize through regular weight training, minimizes the risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

Reduces Risk of Injury

The stronger the muscular system, the better protected your body will be. Muscles stabilize ligaments and joints and make them more resistant to overload and injury. It also helps to prevent age-realted deterioration like osteoporosis and herniated discs.

 

Stimulates Fat Loss

Since the musculature constitutes almost 40% of the total body mass and already consumes between 20 and 40% of the total energy. The more muscle mass the body has, the higher the basal metabolic rate. Approximately 60-75% of our body’s energy consumption is determined by the basal metabolic rate. Therefore, even small increases in basal metabolic rate can play a significant role in weight loss and fat loss.

Relavitely low bodyfat is essential to achieve good performance during the Olympic walk because a high percentage of body fat makes it difficult to achieve a good state of resistance, it also represents a greater effort and increases the overload on the joints, especially those of the knees and ankles increasing the risk of injury.

Race walking is an alternative to running

Walking keeps the leg muscles in good shape, especially in the hamstrings and buttocks, improves the condition of blood vessels and joints, and improves health markers like blood pressure.  In addition, the body will produce “hormones of happiness” called endorphins, during extended exercise sessions.  Racewalking can burn up to 500 kcal/hour. Therefore, race walking is recommended for those who want to lose weight.

 

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24438531/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6715100/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23187321/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20613650/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17805097/
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