Tips from Canada’s race-walking champion

Rachel Seaman shares her best tricks on technique and staying motivated

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Rachel Seaman was only 19 when she blew away the competition in the junior 10-kilometre race at the 2005 Pan American Race Walking Cup, winning by 28 seconds and shattering the Canadian record. “I’m still amazed I did that to this day,” she says. Seaman’s still a Canadian race-walking champion. Here she shares some tips for race-walking success:

Buy the right shoes
Proper shoes are extremely important. “Get yourself fitted at a specialty running store,” she says.  “Race walkers use a shoe with a lower heel because when you walk, you walk heel to toe as opposed to mid-foot to toe like a runner does. It’s also good to have a shoe that’s flexible, that you can bend through the middle.”

Pump your arms
One of the keys to successful walking, she says, is using your arms properly. “You want to have them at about 90 degrees. Pump them front to back like you would when running. Make sure your hands get no higher than chest level and no farther back than your hips. This will get you moving a little bit quicker and burn more calories.”

Find your groove
Don’t try to be a weekend warrior. Seaman suggests developing a consistent walking routine, like heading out every second day, instead. “You want to have an enjoyable, comfortable workout rather than a crazy one. Start out conservatively and don’t overdo it.”

Set a goal
What motivates Seaman? “My goals are what drive me to work out so hard,” she says. Seaman dreams of one day making the Olympic team. Set your own goal – walking a 10K, hiking a large hill – and go for it.