July 10, 2009, Newsletter Issue #33: Stride Length

Tip of the Week

With any kind of walking, or running, there are two basic ways to increase speed: increase stride length or increase turnover. Stride length is how long your step is. Turnover is how fast you step. There is a limit to how much you can increase your stride length, and often when you do, you do it at the expense of your form or technique. The important thing is not to try to make your step bigger by stepping farther forward, though this seems like the natural way to do it. If you step too far forward, you can actually set up a braking action by coming down too far back on your heel. Stepping too far forward can especially cause a problem with Nordic walking technique, because it can interfere with proper pole placement. Remember your pole is slanted slightly backward, and you don't want to start wobbling it back and forth by moving your wrist. To properly increase your stride, make it a little longer in back by pushing off with your toes. Better yet, concentrate on a faster turnover if you want to go faster. Make sure to maintain form and move smoothly, synchronizing arm and leg movements. Practice moving just a little bit faster for a short distance until you get used to it. Even if you don't want to increase overall speed, knowing how to move faster can come in handy when you're trying to keep up with somebody or you just want to have some fun by varying speed.

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