Why the hell is Mall Walking an Olympic Event? I can’t answer THAT, but I can tell you a few things about it..because I wasted some time looking it up.
Here it is in a nut shell. You walk as fast as you can WITHOUT running. The basic way to tell the difference is the sillier you LOOK, the more likely you are doing it RIGHT. Walking is determined by a couple of things.
1) you must always have 1 foot on the ground.
2) from the time your front foot hits the ground till the time your body passed over and is in front of that leg your knee MUST remain straight. Go ahead and try that… I’ll wait.
You gain speed by properly using your hips… but don’t swing them side to side that apparently is inefficient. Actually unlike regular walking, or running if you could see your footprints they would be in almost a straight line. (yes that does make it look even sillier. See what I told you?) Here is an illustration from a racewalking site that shows proper foot placement.
So the longer step I take the fast I am..RIGHT? Nope, again silly looking is better. One of the big strategical mis steps (pun intended) is OVER striding. You apparently lose efficiency by taking too long of a step and having you heel come down hard. It looks like this.
On the surface this LOOKS like an instance where it looks sillier to do it wrong rather than right…but NO doing it right is even sillier looking.
A couple other things. Unlike at the mall, you are not allowed to listen to any music or radio. Also unlike the mall there are judges who follow you around and watch your stride. Take in improper step and you get a red card. Three red cards and you are disqualified from the race…and yes that happens at the Olympics.
WHAT DO I DO WITH MY ARMS? Again, silly looking is better. Don’t just swing them like you are walking to get the mail or the morning paper. I just cut and pasted this from the website racewalk.com.
Proper use of the arms is key to mastering the hip motion just described. Synchronizing arm and hip motion maximizes efficiency and speed.Each arm should travel from a couple of inches behind the hip to just above the chest line. You generate the primary power for arm movement by driving the shoulder on the backwards swing of your arm. Do not try to generate power by wildly pumping your arm backward or thrusting it forward. Just use the shoulder as a fulcrum and let the arms swing like a pendulum. Here are pictures from the site of proper and improper arm motion.
Finally: What are some things I can say during the race to make people around me THINK I know what the hell I’m talking about?
HE’S OVERSTRIDING! Just say it occasionally. They won’t know what it means either, but just say it and them give them some cock and bull explanation that the heel was at too sharp of an angle.. Remember, they know less than you do.
THATS A RED CARD! followed by something about bending a knee or having both feet off the ground, then say “y’know, three red cards is a DQ. Again, they know less than you so the fact that you know THAT will make them think everything else you said is true too since you know that!
Hope it helps.