Tips to help you sprint ( run with full speed) : how to run fast tips
- Lean forward more. Find an aggressive stance on your board. Imagine standing in ski boots so that you’re leaning forward right from your feet. When you’re reaching forward think about your hips being forward. Imagine that if someone looks at you from the side they’ll see your bum is ahead of your heels. Get in the “tippy-toe” position I’ve talked about, where your weight is forward and it feels like you just might topple over your toes. Your whole body should be leaning forward except for your upper legs and your head should be in front of your toes. Imagine that from your feet to your head you could draw a line that would be almost the same but opposite angle that your paddle is at the catch. I know I’ve used this photo a lot already but it’s because it’s good technique. Check out Seychelle Hattingh in this position at the Lost Mills 200m sprint this past June.
- Generate the impulse that moves your board forward as soon or as early as possible.Obviously you don’t want to start this before the blade is properly set, but at the same time you don’t want to set the blade and then start to pull. You don’t have time. And if there is a lag between setting your blade and starting to pull, your paddle will actually be acting like a brake and slowing you down. The reality is it’s actually okay to be getting a little splash at the catch if you’re aggressively getting on your blade and getting it buried quickly. Lots of the top canoe-kayak athletes have catches that appear to be a little less than clean but they are aggressively burying and loading body weight on their blades which more than makes up for a tiny bit of missed catch up front. It’s a trade off, and while it is better to be aggressive and have a clean catch, I’d rather see someone who is trying to sprint be a tiny bit sloppy at the catch and aggressive than be perfectly clean at the catch and not aggressive.
- Generating the impulse that moves the board forward early means being aggressive and even more dynamic with your hips. You want to get the board feeling like it is up and on top of the water as quickly as possible by engaging your big muscles as quickly as possible. Your hips are the biggest, most heavily muscled joint in the human body. It’s essential to find a way to use them to generate force. If you look at video of both Connor Baxter and Seychelle at Lost Mills you see they both use their hips to drive their stroke in an explosive and dynamic fashion. Good top hand pressure directed down the paddle shaft helps stabilize the blade, which gives your big muscles connection to work against.
- In almost the same motion as you begin to engage your big muscles you want to get on top of your paddle with your body weight. Don’t be afraid to continue getting on top of your paddle with your body weight and building on the load you’ve already placed on your paddle at the catch. Your legs should bend a little bit more to facilitate this extra loading of body weight. Just make sure you don’t go too deep or you’ll have trouble exiting early and you’ll get stuck at the back of the stroke.
- Almost as soon as you’ve loaded weight on the paddle you want to start thinking about your exit. You’ll want to start coming up with your shoulders, straightening your legs and, most importantly, bringing your hips back underneath you towards your pulling hand. People tend to think that your reach shortens when you sprint. I suppose if you have a very exaggerated reach at slower speeds that is true, but what really should be happening when sprinting is the blade entering in the same place and the stroke becoming more compact by your efforts to get everything done early. If the stroke shortens it should shorten at the back. Try to start your exit even earlier than usual, but try not to sacrifice load to do it.
- Don’t just push off your paddle at the exit; spring forward off of it. If your paddle is well loaded as you exit and you’re able to feel connection as you bring your hips back underneath you, really try to make that motion explosive. As you’re bringing your hips forward straighten your legs and literally spring forward from your feet into the tippy-toe position. Get your weight forward for the next stroke as quickly and dynamically as possible. If you’re imitating that movement against a loaded paddle you’ll be accelerating your board forward off the exit more than you can imagine.