Tag: Sprinting

Inspirational Member Of The Month: Aditya Pande



Aditya Pande came to Teresa Nelson and TN Multisports in December of 2015 being inspired by a local co-worker who we had helped complete Ironman Chattanooga. He wanted to do the same and quickly joined Seattle Athletic Club to work on his swimming.

At Aditya’s first lesson he was unable to make it from the wall to the flags (5 yards).  We called upon our super patient and technique driven instructor Nathan Palmer to help him out.  Aditya and Nathan met two to three times a week covering breathing techniques, floating, and eventually the full swim stroke. With learning anything new, he had good days and not so good days, but he stuck with it believing in his plan.

Aditya, also, was new to biking, having ridden a bike before, but still needed to learn clipping in and out, bike handling, and basic skills associated with riding on the road. He participated in our Lake Chelan bike camp in April, and several group rides throughout the year to conquer these skills. He learned to love riding!

Several months passed and although Aditya could swim we still had to conquer the swim in the lake and with a wetsuit.  Aditya began doing lessons in the open water, meeting with triathlon coaches Mark Webb and Dustin Gilbert, both avid SAC go-ers as well.  Although hesitant, he and Coach Teresa decided it was time to pull the plug and signed up for his first super-sprint triathlon at Lake Meridian.

Race day came and the gun went off for his 400-yard swim and panic set in.  He hung onto a kayak as several minutes passed. Nathan went to the race and with a little help from kayakers, they were able to encourage Aditya put his head down and get the swim done. He completed the three disciples of swim, bike and run in a little over 2 hours!

Three weeks later we decided to try another triathlon after a few more open water swims. His event was at Lake Stevens. This time, he finished the swim portion in half the time of his previous race and dropped 30 minutes off his previous race time. (Click here for the video)

Aditya refused to give up, showed up and made things happen day after day and week after week, for nearly a year!!!  You can learn a lot from this guy. You will continue to find Aditya in the pool perfecting his stroke, running to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and biking as he trains for his third major triathlon in California, the  Oceanside 70.3 in April 2017 which is quickly approaching!!!

Dustin, Mark, Nathan, Teresa and a team full of athletes were so excited to see Aditya achieve his goals. His commitment to the process is undeniably the reason for his success.  We are very proud of all Aditya has accomplished and wished him the best of luck as he continues to accomplish more and more!



3 Steps to a Quicker Start

All sports share a one common trait. Whether it is volleyball, basketball, swimming, or biking, all depend on the ability to perform a given task in the shortest time possible. For instance, the success of a tennis player relies on making split second decisions and having an explosive reaction. The foundation of this action is sprinting. Sprinting is often misunderstood; in that, the benefits of being able to sprint are not only applicable in the 100 meter dash, but are equally useful in virtually every sport. Below are three key points that will help improve your sprinting form and in turn lead to better sport performance.

    One of the most crucial components of sprinting begins with correct body positioning. While maintaining a relaxed upright position, the head, torso, and legs should be aligned at all times. During acceleration the body should lean forward approximately 45 degrees and quickly move upright to a less than 5 degree lean upon achieving maximal speed. Your head should remain focused directly ahead during the entire movement. It is also important to note that weight distribution should be primarily on the ball of the foot or your toes. Variation of weight distribution between these two are typically considered to be a personal preference.
    The first step to having an effective start is dorsi-flexing the foot (ankle at 90 degrees) and moving the heel directly toward your glutes following the push off. Your knee should come up as high as possible, ideally 90 degrees, as the other leg extends and strikes the ground using the ball of your foot as the first contact point. One of the most common mistakes that can dramatically hinder performance and even increase the risk of injury is over-striding. A common characteristic of over-striding is striking with your heel first followed by a rolling motion through the foot. Doing so eliminates one of our body’s primary shock absorbers (the ankle) and in turn causes the impact of striking the ground to reverberate through the tibia and fibula often leading to shin splints. A heel strike also means more time on the ground leading to a slower stride.
    Sprinting is a full body explosive movement that requires the synchronization of both the arms ands legs in order to do so effectively. Here is a simple test that demonstrates just how important proper arm movement is; try sprinting with your arms held straight and down towards your hips throughout the entire movement. Instantly this movement should feel very unnatural and awkward. Now, this time during the sprint, hold your arms at 90 degrees and attempt to move them faster than the stride of your feet. This is very difficult to do and will usually result in your legs attempting to match the same tempo as the arms. A common error in arm movement during a sprint comes from too much flexion and extension in the elbows scene by a “chopping motion” with the hands. A good rule to follow is the “rule of 90’s” which refers to keeping both arms at 90 degrees once the body is in motion and has achieved the 5 degree lean. Hands should come in front of the nose but not across the body, any lateral arm movement (arms crossing the center line of the body) will result in energy lost and a slower maximal sprinting speed.

It’s important to note that before beginning any sort of sprint training a proper warm-up is crucial. Due to the high intensity nature of a sprint the likelihood of injury goes up dramatically if a warm-up is not performed. Also, corrections to form will lead to much greater improvements in speed over simply attempting to just run at maximal effort. For more information on sprinting technique and how it can benefit you please contact Will Paton.

Benefits of Sprinting

Unfortunately there are some common misnomers about sprinting.

  • Bad for the joints and muscles
  • Doesn’t help with weight loss
  • Doesn’t train the cardiovascualar sytem
  • Only young people and athletes should do them

In reality sprinting drills are one of the most effective methods of increasing your fitness level and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Whether you are biking, rowing or running doing repeated bouts of short distances at high speed can do wonders for your heart, lungs, muscle tone, joint health and waist line.

Contrary to popular belief the cardio vascular systems isn’t inactive at short distances. With continuous, fast and flowing motions your heart and lungs have to work overtime to circulate blood to your working muscles. The cardiovascular system wasn’t designed to work in isolation. With sprinting there is a constant eb and flow between your anaerobic and aerobic systems. The muscles and connective tissue create, absorb and redistribute power while the aerobic system fuels the body with oxygen and blood. When challenged with short distances and high speeds the cardiovascular system is forced to pick up its game to fuel these intense bouts of exercise. Your energy systems respond very well to intensity not just volume.

Have you ever peered down at the calorie counter on the treadmill and have your heart sink? All that work and you haven’t burned close to the amount of calories you wanted to. With sprinting the calorie burning doesn’t stop when you stop. With the increased demand of high intensity training your metabolism is working even when the workout is over. If you don’t believe me run a quarter mile as fast as you can then rest. If you can run with any inkling of speed I guarantee you will be huffing and puffing even after your stop running. The more intense your sprinting workouts are the longer your metabolic rate stays elevated afterwards.

The connective tissue (tendons and ligaments) gain strength when exposed to rapid and flowing ranges of motion. The fluid and buoyant movement of a competent sprinter gets the nervous system fired up which sends a signal to your connective tissue to expand and contract quickly. This creates power and momentum that travels through the muscles propelling you through space. These elastic movements strengthen the ligaments and tendons which enables them to fire faster and more efficiently. Slow and plodding movements can actually wear away and damage them over time. If you want to keep those joints healthy pick up the pace.

Often sprinting is looked at as a young persons activity. This is hardly the case. In my mind the older you are the more you should be working on your sprinting. Some of the many attributes that decline with age are flexibility, strength and power. With decent sprinting technique you can develop and improve on all those attributes. Plodding your way through a slow, moderately paced workout for an hour will not slow down this process. If you train slow you will move slow outside of the gym as well. Training with fast and flowing motions will combat the aging process by training your body to move with long and fluid movements.

Sprinting workouts can involve many different modes of exercise. Running, rowing, biking and swimming can be great activities to use in a bout of sprints. Make sure to pick an activity that you are already competent in. If you are a horrible swimmer now is not the time to start torpedoing across the pool. Find a cardio machine or mode of exercise that you can move with at least some fluidity. The goal isn’t muscle fatigue. The goal to finish your allotted distance with speed and grace.

When picking a distance and amount of sprints to do be smart. Pick a distance and set number you can finish with fluidity and speed and competent form. If you start thrashing in the pool or you sounds like a 3 legged elephant on the treadmill you probably have gone too far or have done too many rounds. You can start with as little as 100m run or 1 lap in the pool. The distance doesn’t matter. Your quality of motion and the speed in which you perform trumps volume and mileage any day. A good rule of thumb is “When the power and speed decline it is time to stop”.

Allow yourself up to 3 minutes in between rounds. If you are moving with any kind of speed you will need and appreciate the time off. You want to be as fresh as possible when you sprint. Focus on how fast you finish not whether you keep going. If you feel like you do not need the rest your speed , strength and technique need some improvement. Keep in mind these are not intervals. Finish your distance as fast and as fluid as possible, rest, then do it again.

Here are a few simple sprinting workouts I take most of my clients through while at the Club:
4 rounds/ 200m row / 2 minute break in between rounds
6 rounds / sprint up LENORA (hill outside) / 2-3 minute break between rounds
4 rounds / Box Push (to COKE machine and back) / 2-3 minute break between rounds