Abingdon Athletics Club has a lively race walking section, with a group of members who train twice a week.
The group meets on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6.45 pm (normally in the area outside the front of the building) at Tilsley Park, Abingdon.
We have a qualified coach, Graham Chapman (of Headington Roadrunners), who takes us through different sessions, with both individual and group coaching. The sessions are varied – occasionally, we do track sessions where we practise our technique through drills, exercises and short speed sessions. Other sessions involve a circuit quite close to Tilsley Park. Longer routes can extend to 10km and beyond (Graham encourages longer distances only when the walker is ready for them).
The Race Walking Association website has plenty of information for beginners and seasoned race walkers alike.
How to join in
The walking group includes both Abingdon members and a few from other clubs too.
Contact Graham via his blog. In addition to giving information on the coached sessions for the forthcoming week, his blog includes a wealth of information on race walking and links to other race walking sites.
You can do as much or as little as you like, and you will soon learn – it is not difficult. We all walk before we run, and the technique for racewalking is no more than an exaggerated extension of what we all do naturally.
Even for a novice, there are chances to compete fairly soon into your training. There are two standards of racing: B-races, the lower, less severe, standard, can be attempted by most. They are a good introduction to walk races. The other category, A races, are the standard for championship, inter-counties, national and international races.
Briefly, a B race will mean you will not be penalised for bending your knees but must still have contact with the ground, and an A race means you will be penalised for bending your knee or having both feet off the ground at the same time.