Monday, October 23, 2006

Curt Sheller Racewalking Article

Wow, what a great find.

Curt Sheller Steps Per Minute

Here it is--linked from his page.

What's Your Steps Per Minutes (Spm)?
What's the Average Length of Each Step You Take?



  • Calculating You Steps Per Minute (SPM)

  • Steps Per Minute Mile Pace Chart

  • Pace and Target Heart Rate Calculators

  • Music and Pacing


What are your steps per minute?


How long is each step?


Do these seem like strange questions? Not really strange, given this formula: pace = spm x each step. These are valid questions you should be asking yourself. You do speed work to increase your spm, and endurance/technique work to improve your form. You measure your time in training, your distance, and some of you even monitor your heart rate. So why not track your spm.

I'm sure you've heard this phrase in various racewalking circles and read the following in numerous racewalking books: "A world class racewalker has a stride length of over 4 feet and takes well over 200 steps a minute." The Chinese have been clocked at 240 spm and faster. That is incredible; great! But how can you use that information? Here's how...

Use the Pace Chart below. Consider this example. Look up the pace for 200 spm and a 4 foot stride length. You get a pace of 6:36. Jefferson Perez won the 1996 Olympic 20K walk in 1:20:07. That's a 6:27 pace. Allen James finished in under 6:00 minutes for the Melrose mile. Six minutes a mile is 220 steps per minute. That's movin'!

As you can see in the chart it doesn't take much improvement in either your spm or your stride length to trim seconds off of your pace. I have a saying I keep spouting. "1 inch is worth 12 seconds a mile." John Soucheck has heard me say that too many times. 12 seconds, now that's a lot of improvement for a little inch.





As you can see one (1) inch isn't much on the ruler but is alot in time.

Look at the chart above. (Ignore the 7.06 number for now). You can see that at 170 spm the pace for a stride length of 3' 1" is 10:04. Increasing your stride length an additional 1 inch results in a pace of 9:48. That is a 14 second improvement. Again, not bad for a little inch.


How To Calculate Any Of The Three Values In The SPM Formula.




Of the three items in the SPM formula (pace, spm, and stride length), pace is very easy to calculate if you have a measured mile. You simply start your stopwatch at the start of the mile and stop it at the end to get your time. Whatever the watch reads that's how fast you went. But what were your steps per minutes and what was your average stride length?

Next, it is far easier to calculate you steps per minute than it is to calculate the length of each step. All you have to do is count your steps for a mile, divide by the time, and you have your average spm. So I'm sure you saying right about now, "You've got to be nuts! How can you keep track of all those steps?" How?

I have developed a manual method and over the years I have refined to down to the following by using a stopwatch. You only have to count 20 steps and read the stopwatch. Do this periodically during a workout to get the average that you are stepping. With your 20 step count and your one mile pace use the chart below to determine your average stride length.

There are also several stopwatches on the market that can be programmed to do this math for you. Checkout Accusplit for a wide range of stopwatches. These watches can do lots of timing related functions.






I 've refined my step counting over the years to the following:Starting when my left foot strikes the ground (I carry the stopwatch in my right hand) I start the count at zero and increase the count with each strike of my left foot. As soon as I reach 10 steps I stop the watch and read the time. With the 10 steps taken by my right foot that's 20 steps. So if my time for those 20 steps is 7.05, I'm taking around 170 steps a minute based on the SPM Chart. I have found that in most training sessions the step count remains pretty even. It's usually the stride length that decreases. That's where the endurance training comes in.


Over time by referring to the pace chart and calculating your 20 step count you will arrive at several 20 step times that you use as a goal in training.Or, use the Accusplit stopwatch mentioned above. EXAMPLE: For a 90:00 session I'll use 7.0 as a 20 step target to stay at. That around 170 spm a 9:00 to 9:30 pace for me depending on my technique. One goal is that National/World class 200-240 spm number. Frank Alongi in his Ledge Point Video stated that elite walkers "start their training a 180 spm." That quote is best read with a thick Italian accent for best effect.

Using the chart, I realized that even at my 6' 4" height I have a relatively short stride compared to a world class walker. My stride length in 1992-93 ranged (in races) from 3' 4" to 3' 6". My spm was about 180 spm in races up to 10 miles. So you can see the fastest that I could possibly do a 10 mile race (Ronn Zinn, Asbury Park, NJ every year) was 1:24:00. That was my PR up to 1996.

So I went on an "increase my stride length campaign". And, it worked. I was able to increase my stride length to around 3' 8" in the course of a year. Now that is only a 1 or 2 inch improvment. But remember, "1 inch is worth up to 12 seconds per mile." And my PR for the Zinn 10-miler now is 1:21:12 (8:13 pace). Knowing my spm average during the race I look on the SMP Chart and see that, indeed a 8:13 average is an increase of 1 inch.


How to Get That 1 Inch or More Increase? And Where Does It Come From?


Where Does It Come From? It's behind you and around your hips.

The biggest technique gains that the average walker can make is by improving what they are doing with the hips and feet.

First the feet. At a national championship, notice the top walkers. Their rear foot doesn't leave the ground until it has rolled right up to the end of the toes, (B) before the end of the propulsion phase. The front foot of most average walkers has landed long before the rear foot gets done with the propulsion phase. Notice in the illustration below that the foot of walker (A) still has about 3 inches to go before rolling up on his toes. Now if 1 inch is worth up to 12 seconds a mile, that walker is leaving almost a half minute on the ground! That could be the difference between an 8:30 mile vs a 9:00 mile. Quite a difference!

OK. So that adds up to 3 inches of improvement. Want some more? You'll find it in your hip action. Better hip extension combined with the inches from better foot action can really add up. The average walker can add up to 3 inches to their stride length with better hip extension and the strength to hold it. That 3 inches plus the 3 inches from better foot action adds up to a one minute improvement. Not that's walking. Put that together with the endurance and strength to hold this new technique and there you go. A one minute per mile PR. It can and does work. Now back to the roads ;-)



Better hip extension plus better rear foot action equals faster times.



Steps Per Minute Mile Pace Chart


SPM[20]      3'  3'1"  3'2"  3'3"  3'4"  3'5"  3'6"  3'7"  3'8"  3'9" 3'10" 3'11" 4'  
140 8.57 12:34 12:13 11:54 11:36 11:18 11:02 10:46 10:31 10:17 10:03 9:50 9:37 9:25
141 8.51 12:28 12:08 11:49 11:31 11:14 10:57 10:41 10:27 10:12 9:59 9:46 9:33 9:21
142 8.45 12:23 12:03 11:44 11:26 11:09 10:52 10:37 10:22 10:08 9:54 9:41 9:29 9:17
143 8.39 12:18 11:58 11:39 11:21 11:04 10:48 10:32 10:18 10:04 9:50 9:37 9:25 9:13
144 8.33 12:13 11:53 11:34 11:16 11:00 10:43 10:28 10:13 10:00 9:46 9:33 9:21 9:10
145 8.28 12:08 11:48 11:29 11:12 10:55 10:39 10:24 10:09 9:55 9:42 9:29 9:17 9:06
146 8.22 12:03 11:43 11:25 11:07 10:50 10:35 10:19 10:05 9:51 9:38 9:26 9:14 9:02
147 8.16 11:58 11:38 11:20 11:03 10:46 10:30 10:15 10:01 9:47 9:34 9:22 9:10 8:58
148 8.11 11:53 11:34 11:15 10:58 10:42 10:26 10:11 9:57 9:43 9:30 9:18 9:06 8:55
149 8.05 11:48 11:29 11:11 10:54 10:37 10:22 10:07 9:53 9:39 9:26 9:14 9:02 8:51
SPM[20] 3' 3'1" 3'2" 3'3" 3'4" 3'5" 3'6" 3'7" 3'8" 3'9" 3'10" 3'11" 4'
150 8.00 11:44 11:24 11:06 10:49 10:33 10:18 10:03 9:49 9:36 9:23 9:10 8:59 8:48
151 7.95 11:39 11:20 11:02 10:45 10:29 10:14 9:59 9:45 9:32 9:19 9:07 8:55 8:44
152 7.89 11:34 11:15 10:58 10:41 10:25 10:10 9:55 9:41 9:36 9:15 9:03 8:52 8:41
153 7.84 11:30 11:11 10:53 10:37 10:21 10:06 9:51 9:37 9:24 9:12 9:00 8:48 8:37
154 7.79 11:25 11:07 10:49 10:32 10:17 10:02 9:47 9:34 9:21 9:08 8:56 8:45 8:34
155 7.74 11:21 11:02 10:45 10:28 10:13 9:58 9:43 9:30 9:17 9:05 8:53 8:41 8:30
156 7.69 11:16 10:58 10:41 10:24 10:09 9:54 9:40 9:26 9:13 9:01 8:49 8:38 8:27
157 7.64 11:12 10:54 10:37 10:20 10:05 9:50 9:36 9:23 9:10 8:58 8:46 8:35 8:24
158 7.59 11:08 10:50 10:33 10:16 10:01 9:46 9:32 9:19 9:06 8:54 8:43 8:31 8:21
159 7.55 11:04 10:46 10:29 10:13 9:57 9:43 9:29 9:16 9:03 8:51 8:39 8:28 8:18
SPM[20] 3' 3'1" 3'2" 3'3" 3'4" 3'5" 3'6" 3'7" 3'8" 3'9" 3'10" 3'11" 4'
160 7.50 11:00 10:42 10:25 10:09 9:54 9:39 9:25 9:12 8:59 8:48 8:36 8:25 8:15
161 7.44 10:55 10:37 10:21 10:05 9:50 9:36 9:22 9:09 8:56 8:45 8:33 8:22 8:12
162 7.40 10:51 10:34 10:17 10:01 9:46 9:32 9:18 9:05 8:52 8:41 8:30 8:19 8:09
163 7.36 10:48 10:30 10:13 9:57 9:43 9:28 9:15 9:02 8:49 8:38 8:27 8:16 8:06
164 7.31 10:43 10:26 10:09 9:54 9:39 9:25 9:12 8:58 8:46 8:35 8:24 8:13 8:03
165 7.27 10:40 10:22 10:06 9:50 9:36 9:21 9:08 8:55 8:43 8:31 8:21 8:10 8:00
166 7.23 10:36 10:18 10:02 9:46 9:32 9:18 9:04 8:52 8:40 8:28 8:18 8:07 7:57
167 7.18 10:32 10:15 9:58 9:43 9:29 9:15 9:01 8:49 8:37 8:25 8:15 8:04 7:54
168 7.14 10:28 10:11 9:55 9:40 9:25 9:12 8:58 8:46 8:34 8:22 8:12 8:01 7:51
169 7.09 10:24 10:07 9:51 9:36 9:22 9:08 8:55 8:43 8:30 8:19 8:09 7:58 7:48
SPM[20] 3' 3'1" 3'2" 3'3" 3'4" 3'5" 3'6" 3'7" 3'8" 3'9" 3'10" 3'11" 4'
170 7.06 10:21 10:04 9:48 9:33 9:19 9:05 8:52 8:39 8:27 8:16 8:06 7:55 7:45
171 7.01 10:17 10:00 9:45 9:30 9:15 9:02 8:49 8:36 8:25 8:13 8:03 7:52 7:43
172 6.97 10:13 9:57 9:41 9:26 9:12 8:58 8:46 8:33 8:22 8:11 8:00 7:50 7:40
173 6.93 10:10 9:54 9:38 9:23 9:09 8:55 8:43 8:30 8:19 8:08 7:57 7:47 7:37
174 6.89 10:06 9:50 9:34 9:19 9:06 8:52 8:40 8:28 8:16 8:05 7:54 7:45 7:35
175 6.85 10:03 9:46 9:31 9:16 9:03 8:49 8:37 8:25 8:13 8:03 7:52 7:42 7:32
176 6.82 10:00 9:43 9:28 9:13 9:00 8:46 8:34 8:22 8:10 8:00 7:49 7:39 7:30
177 6.77 9:56 9:40 9:25 9:10 8:57 8:43 8:31 8:19 8:07 7:57 7:46 7:37 7:27
178 6.74 9:53 9:37 9:22 9:07 8:54 8:40 8:28 8:16 8:04 7:54 7:44 7:34 7:25
179 6.69 9:49 9:33 9:18 9:04 8:51 8:37 8:25 8:13 8:02 7:52 7:41 7:31 7:22
SPM[20] 3' 3'1" 3'2" 3'3" 3'4" 3'5" 3'6" 3'7" 3'8" 3'9" 3'10" 3'11" 4'
180 6.66 9:46 9:30 9:15 9:01 8:48 8:34 8:22 8:10 7:59 7:49 7:39 7:29 7:19
181 6.62 9:43 9:27 9:12 8:58 8:45 8:32 8:19 8:08 7:57 7:46 7:36 7:27 7:17
182 6.59 9:40 9:24 9:09 8:55 8:42 8:29 8:17 8:05 7:54 7:44 7:34 7:24 7:15
183 6.56 9:37 9:21 9:06 8:52 8:39 8:26 8:14 8:03 7:51 7:41 7:31 7:22 7:12
184 6.52 9:34 9:18 9:03 8:49 8:36 8:24 8:12 8:00 7:49 7:39 7:28 7:19 7:10
185 6.48 9:30 9:15 9:00 8:46 8:33 8:21 8:09 7:57 7:46 7:36 7:26 7:17 7:08
186 6.44 9:27 9:12 8:57 8:43 8:31 8:18 8:06 7:55 7:44 7:34 7:24 7:15 7:06
187 6.41 9:24 9:09 8:54 8:40 8:28 8:15 8:03 7:52 7:42 7:31 7:21 7:12 7:03
188 6.38 9:21 9:06 8:52 8:38 8:25 8:13 8:01 7:50 7:39 7:29 7:19 7:10 7:01
189 6.34 9:18 9:03 8:49 8:35 8:22 8:10 7:58 7:47 7:36 7:27 7:17 7:07 6:58
SPM[20] 3' 3'1" 3'2" 3'3" 3'4" 3'5" 3'6" 3'7" 3'8" 3'9" 3'10" 3'11" 4'
190 6.31 9:15 9:00 8:46 8:33 8:20 8:07 7:56 7:45 7:34 7:24 7:15 7:05 6:57
191 6.27 9:12 8:57 8:43 8:30 8:17 8:05 7:54 7:42 7:31 7:22 7:12 7:03 6:54
192 6.25 9:10 8:55 8:40 8:27 8:15 8:03 7:51 7:40 7:29 7:19 7:10 7:01 6:52
193 6.22 9:07 8:52 8:38 8:24 8:12 8:00 7:48 7:37 7:27 7:18 7:07 6:58 6:50
194 6.18 9:04 8:49 8:35 8:22 8:09 7:57 7:46 7:35 7:25 7:15 7:06 6:57 6:48
195 6.15 9:01 8:46 8:33 8:19 8:07 7:55 7:43 7:33 7:22 7:13 7:03 6:54 6:46
196 6.11 8:58 8:43 8:30 8:17 8:04 7:52 7:41 7:31 7:20 7:10 7:01 6:52 6:43
197 6.08 8:55 8:41 8:27 8:14 8:02 7:50 7:39 7:28 7:18 7:09 6:59 6:50 6:42
198 6.06 8:53 8:39 8:25 8:12 8:00 7:48 7:37 7:26 7:16 7:06 6:57 6:48 6:40
199 6.02 8:50 8:36 8:22 8:09 7:57 7:45 7:34 7:24 7:13 7:04 6:55 6:46 6:37
SPM[20] 3' 3'1" 3'2" 3'3" 3'4" 3'5" 3'6" 3'7" 3'8" 3'9" 3'10" 3'11" 4'
200 6.00 8:48 8:33 8:20 8:07 7:55 7:43 7:32 7:22 7:12 7:02 6:52 6:44 6:36
201 5.97 8:45 8:31 8:17 8:04 7:52 7:41 7:30 7:19 7:09 7:00 6:51 6:42 6:34
202 5.93 8:42 8:28 8:15 8:02 7:50 7:39 7:28 7:17 7:07 6:58 6:49 6:40 6:31
203 5.91 8:40 8:25 8:12 8:00 7:48 7:36 7:25 7:15 7:05 6:56 6:46 6:38 6:30
204 5.88 8:37 8:23 8:10 7:57 7:45 7:34 7:23 7:13 7:03 6:54 6:45 6:36 6:28
205 5.85 8:35 8:21 8:07 7:55 7:43 7:32 7:21 7:11 7:01 6:52 6:43 6:34 6:26
206 5.82 8:32 8:18 8:05 7:52 7:41 7:30 7:19 7:09 6:59 6:49 6:40 6:32 6:24
207 5.80 8:30 8:16 8:03 7:51 7:39 7:27 7:17 7:07 6:57 6:48 6:39 6:30 6:22
208 5.76 8:27 8:13 8:00 7:48 7:37 7:25 7:15 7:04 6:55 6:46 6:37 6:28 6:21
209 5.74 8:25 8:11 7:58 7:46 7:34 7:23 7:13 7:03 6:53 6:44 6:35 6:27 6:19
SPM[20] 3' 3'1" 3'2" 3'3" 3'4" 3'5" 3'6" 3'7" 3'8" 3'9" 3'10" 3'11" 4'
210 5.70 8:22 8:09 7:56 7:43 7:32 7:21 7:10 7:00 6:51 6:42 6:33 6:25 6:17
211 5.68 8:20 8:06 7:54 7:42 7:30 7:19 7:09 6:58 6:49 6:40 6:31 6:23 6:15
212 5.66 8:18 8:04 7:51 7:39 7:28 7:17 7:06 6:57 6:47 6:38 6:30 6:21 6:13
213 5.62 8:15 8:02 7:49 7:37 7:26 7:15 7:04 6:55 6:45 6:36 6:27 6:19 6:12
214 5.60 8:13 8:00 7:47 7:35 7:24 7:13 7:03 6:52 6:43 6:34 6:25 6:18 6:10
215 5.58 8:11 7:57 7:45 7:33 7:22 7:11 7:00 6:51 6:41 6:33 6:24 6:16 6:08
216 5.56 8:09 7:55 7:43 7:31 7:19 7:09 6:58 6:49 6:39 6:31 6:22 6:14 6:06
217 5.52 8:06 7:53 7:40 7:28 7:18 7:07 6:57 6:47 6:37 6:29 6:21 6:12 6:04
218 5.50 8:04 7:51 7:39 7:27 7:16 7:05 6:55 6:45 6:36 6:27 6:19 6:10 6:03
219 5.48 8:02 7:49 7:36 7:25 7:13 7:03 6:53 6:43 6:34 6:25 6:17 6:09 6:01
SPM[20] 3' 3'1" 3'2" 3'3" 3'4" 3'5" 3'6" 3'7" 3'8" 3'9" 3'10" 3'11" 4'
220 5.45 8:00 7:46 7:34 7:22 7:12 7:01 6:51 6:42 6:32 6:24 6:15 6:07 6:00
221 5.42 7:57 7:45 7:32 7:21 7:10 6:59 6:49 6:40 6:30 6:22 6:13 6:06 5:58
222 5.40 7:55 7:42 7:30 7:19 7:08 6:57 6:47 6:38 6:28 6:20 6:12 6:04 5:57
223 5.38 7:53 7:40 7:28 7:16 7:06 6:55 6:45 6:36 6:27 6:18 6:10 6:02 5:55
224 5.35 7:51 7:38 7:26 7:15 7:04 6:54 6:43 6:34 6:25 6:17 6:09 6:01 5:53
225 5.33 7:49 7:36 7:24 7:13 7:02 6:52 6:42 6:33 6:24 6:15 6:07 5:59 5:52
226 5.31 7:47 7:34 7:22 7:11 7:00 6:50 6:40 6:31 6:22 6:13 6:05 5:57 5:50
227 5.28 7:45 7:32 7:20 7:09 6:58 6:48 6:38 6:29 6:20 6:12 6:04 5:56 5:48
228 5.26 7:43 7:30 7:18 7:07 6:57 6:46 6:36 6:27 6:18 6:10 6:02 5:54 5:47
229 5.24 7:41 7:28 7:16 7:05 6:55 6:45 6:35 6:25 6:16 6:09 6:00 5:53 5:45
SPM[20] 3' 3'1" 3'2" 3'3" 3'4" 3'5" 3'6" 3'7" 3'8" 3'9" 3'10" 3'11" 4'
230 5.22 7:39 7:26 7:15 7:03 6:53 6:43 6:33 6:24 6:15 6:07 5:59 5:51 5:44
231 5.19 7:37 7:24 7:13 7:01 6:51 6:41 6:31 6:22 6:13 6:06 5:57 5:50 5:42
232 5.17 7:35 7:22 7:11 7:00 6:49 6:39 6:30 6:21 6:12 6:04 5:56 5:48 5:41
233 5.15 7:33 7:21 7:09 6:58 6:48 6:37 6:28 6:19 6:10 6:02 5:54 5:47 5:40
234 5.12 7:31 7:19 7:07 6:56 6:46 6:36 6:26 6:17 6:09 6:01 5:52 5:45 5:38
235 5.10 7:29 7:17 7:05 6:54 6:44 6:34 6:25 6:16 6:07 5:59 5:51 5:44 5:37
236 5.08 7:27 7:15 7:03 6:52 6:42 6:33 6:23 6:14 6:06 5:58 5:49 5:42 5:35
237 5.06 7:25 7:13 7:01 6:51 6:40 6:31 6:21 6:13 6:04 5:56 5:48 5:41 5:34
238 5.03 7:23 7:11 7:00 6:49 6:39 6:29 6:20 6:11 6:03 5:55 5:47 5:39 5:33
239 5.01 7:21 7:09 6:58 6:47 6:37 6:27 6:18 6:09 6:01 5:53 5:45 5:38 5:31
SPM[20] 3' 3'1" 3'2" 3'3" 3'4" 3'5" 3'6" 3'7" 3'8" 3'9" 3'10" 3'11" 4'
240 4.99 7:19 7:07 6:57 6:46 6:36 6:26 6:16 6:08 6:00 5:52 5:44 5:37 5:30

Pace and Target Heart Rate Calculators




Active.com calculators




ROAD COURSE CALCULATOR


From NARF: link(From their site) - This calculator is designed to help you plan and evaluate your training sessions or races on a road course (or on a path, around the block, at a mall, or wherever). The course can be a loop, out-and-back, or point-to-point. The calculator considers each completion of the road course as one "loop" (even if it is a point-to-point course), and can easily perform the following functions: convert distance to laps, convert laps to distance, convert pace to lap time, convert lap time to pace, convert pace to race time, convert race time to pace.


Music and Pacing


A lot of people use music while training. I for one don't really do that being a professional musician I get too involved in the music and loose focus on walking. I like to really focus on the task at hand and not get distracted. I listen to my walking (technique and physical effort). But for those walkers with a better attention span than mine ;-). Music can be be a great benefit. So why not actually have it be a training aide as well and not just background music.

The Medical & Sports Music Institute offers their Music In Sync, Vol I Race Walking (and walking) tapes. They have 64 tempos from 100 bpm to 220 (race walking from 170-220). Since there is such great interest in footfall frequencies for race walkers, I thought you would like to know about their tapes because they can match footfall frequency with any pace. The tapes can also help with pace compliance and increasing pace. Let's say a walker wants to shave 1 min. off of their 10K time, using the chart above, you come up with the projected spm. You can then just pop in the correct bpm tape that equals the spm goal pace.

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