How to prepare for a Nordic walking race

Flexibility is very important for fitness walking! And it's very important to find the right shoes.


Nordic walking is very demanding from a technical point of view. The heel of the foot hits the ground first, the lead leg should not be stretched when it passes under your hips, the hand and elbow of the lead arm cross the body at buttock height to push forward before starting over again, from the front of the body... you see, it's not easy.

What's more, during a race, judges are placed along the course to make sure the rules are respected.

You must have absolutely perfect technique to avoid being reported by the judges! Jean-Michel Wlodyka, Île-de-France Nordic walking champion gives us some technical tips:

"Before you start racing, it's very important to get official training with a Nordic walking club which belongs to the French athletics sporting federation: Fédération Française d’Athlétisme.Training with a coach, instructor or other members helps to correct your errors. You can't correct yourself, at least not as well, when you walk alone. I also recommend you watch races, because you can learn a lot from watching other walkers! »

You've been warned...you can't make up Nordic walking as you go along. You need to take your time before getting up to speed!



Once you've mastered the technique, here are four important points for your preparation:


1/ Choose a race compatible with your goal

There's nothing you can do about it: the Marche Nordique Tour (MNT) races are only open to club members. Lucky, because it's club members who taught you the right walking technique! Once you've mastered that, you can define your goal depending on your experience, capacity and training schedule.

You have decided to participate in the French Nordic walking championship?~The MNT races with national accreditation are your priority because they win more points.~ 

Or you just want to get a taste for Nordic walking racing?~Then try the regional races .

2/ Find the races that will prepare you for your goal

No doubt about it, the 25 km Nordique Bellifontaine race which takes place each year at the beginning of May in Fontainebleau is perfect for you! Problem: you've never walked that far.

Solution: be patient and prepare yourself by participating in preparatory races until the big day!

For example, increase the distances of your races and complete your preparation with the 27 km in Bouilly in the Marne area, just two weeks before the Nordique Bellifontaine race. It will give you a good taste for the distance. Remember you don't have to walk your preparatory races at your full potential. The aim is to be in tip-top shape for your final goal !


3/ Follow a gradual training plan until your goal

We've said it before: Nordic walking racing is unlike any other athletics discipline. In other words, to reach the starting line with ambition, you can't forgo a regular and gradual training plan.

"Ideally, you need three-week training cycles with increasing intensity from week to week until the race," explains Marc Thoraval, coach of the Fontainebleau club. We work on technique, increasing from average to high speed, strength, cardio training, not to mention nutrition and hydration while you're exercising. Every little detail is important if you are going to be ready on race day."

4/ How to find the balance between your professional life, personal life and sports goals

Depending on your goal, the preparation can be quite time consuming. Jean-Michel Wlodyka warns: "It's no secret. It's like any other sport. If you have ambitious goals, you need to have a healthy lifestyle and train from three to five times per week to be competitive. That takes time and energy! »


But Nordic walking is not a professional sport regardless of your level, so there is no remuneration for performance. As a result, finding a balance between family life, work and sport can be tricky, yet it is essential for feeling in harmony on all three fronts!


Are you ready? Now you know how to prepare correctly for a Nordic racing competition! Are you ready to get started?!


Share your preparation experiences and tips before the race! There is a whole community of enthusiasts out there. It's open to all for discussion and advice.