What To Do If You Can’t Sprint

I was recently asked by a triathlete what they could do sprint faster. In their fast 25’s and 50’s they couldn’t go any quicker than their fastest 100m pace. So what can you change in your technique to be a better sprinter and lift your pace for 25’s and 50’s? 1. Stay Relaxed 2. Deeper Catch 3. Faster Recovery


Because there are some changes to the stroke that you do need to make when you go from sprinting.

I often get asked, “What can I do to sprint faster?” So from triathletes and open water swim is where most of your events are probably 750 meters or more, but you want to get better at sprinting at your 25s, at your 50s or even just generally sprinting to help with the race. What are some things that can help me get quicker? Well, there’s a couple. When you do sprint, you still need to stay relaxed as you do it. You can’t be very, very tense and try and fight the water. There is that element of staying relaxed as you do it.

The second thing that can help is you may need to go for a slightly deeper catch, so the hand might need to go a little bit deeper in the water, which will mean that no, you may not necessarily have as high an elbow catch as you would normally have, but if you look at those top sprinters, they don’t have the time to be able to get into a classic high elbow position. So more often than not, they’re better off going a little bit deeper where you can get a little bit more leverage on the water, but it is more tiring. But going slightly deeper in the catch can be one thing that can help you.

The other thing is with your recovery over the top of the water. When the arm’s coming over the top, you need to be quite quick with it and you need to enter with quite a bit of force or be assertive with it. So if you’re just too slow and controlled over the top, it’s very hard to get your stroke rate up. You need to be fast and sometimes you need to go a little bit wider and higher over the top of the water. I actually did training on this inside our video membership called How to Sprint Faster and that was one of the things that we covered. And in that video training that I did, covered a whole range of things and even just some sets and some things that you can include as part of your training that will help you get your speed up or help you get your sprint pace up if it’s something that you’re struggling with.

Because there are some changes to the stroke that you do need to make when you go from sprinting, say 25, compared to your distance stroke. And these are just a couple of them. So they can be three things that might help you. So number one, you’ve still got to stay relaxed. You don’t want to be too tense and try and fight the water. Secondly, you will need to probably go a little bit deeper in your catch and your pull through. And thirdly, over the top in your recovery, get that hand going over a bit faster. Be assertive with the entry and that might mean being a little bit wider with the hand or higher with the hand as you go over the top there.

If you enjoyed this video and you want to improve your swimming, check out our Effortless Swimming video membership. That’s where we’ve got all of our training on how you can improve your open water swimming. If you’re training for a triathlon or open water swimming, how you can improve your technique, how you can finally get the catch and the pull that you’ve been wanting to get.

And particularly, if you’ve been in a plateau for a while, there’s a number of different things that you can do to break out of that plateau. Whether it’s you can’t get any faster, whether you find that it’s just hard work and your heart rate just won’t come down where you can’t swim without getting tired at the end of the lap, you can choose any of our technique courses inside that membership and work on your stroke that way. So thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week with another video.


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Brenton and Mitch were great to work with at the clinic, Good to get video analysis to work on straight away, practice some new drills and go home knowing what you need to work on.

Alex McFadyen