My Story

Hi, I’m Sandro. A lifelong endurance athlete, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, and coach to distance runners since 2013.

My Story

Hi, I’m Sandro. A lifelong endurance athlete, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, and coach to distance runners since 2013.

I’m here to help you become a faster runner from the 5K to the marathon.

Why Running is My Favorite Sport

I didn’t start out as a runner. Tennis was my first sport with guided training at the tender age of 7. I was an average player. At age 12 we moved to another city and my parents put me in just about any sports club to make new friends. In addition to tennis, I was training for soccer, table tennis, volleyball – you name it. I can’t claim I was particularly inspired by any of those sports either. 

But at age 14, when I joined a local mountain bike club, things changed. Brutal rides across rugged, hilly terrain lasting for several hours at times. This was for me! The combination of endurance, intensity, and speed had me hooked. 

At age 17 I became a triathlete and ran my first half marathon. In order to “be a complete athlete”, I also joined a gym for serious strength training and took up Muay Thai and boxing lessons for the decade to come. The premise was always the same: It has got to be physically hard and exhausting. The social aspect was secondary to me. This was, first and foremost, result-oriented training. 

But as the saying goes: “If you try to be the best at everything, then you become the best at nothing”. I spread myself too thin. Yet rather than an epiphany, it was a shoulder injury that temporarily ruled out all activities but running. That focus massively increased my performance in running leading to faster race results than I dreamed up possible.

That doesn’t mean I repeat the same training every day. I still do strength training and practice Muay Thai. But it’s the side-dish, not the main course. What’s more, running allows me to switch between different race distances. From the 400m sprint to the marathon, I have raced it all over the years. That’s the beauty of being an amateur athlete. I’m not locked into a particular race distance. 

What I love most about running is that it is measurable. I can put a number on my VO2max, lactate threshold, and maximal speed with a running watch. Sure, the finer details will require some lab equipment but it’s quantifiable. Better training leads to faster race results. Therefore, every race informs me whether my training was effective or not, in minutes and seconds.

Qualifications & Coaching Experience

I’m an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. It is viewed by many as the gold standard for sports performance training and requires a 4-year college or university degree to be eligible. Currently, I pursue the Performance and Sport Scientist qualification, also by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), a non-profit organization with its headquarters in Colorado Springs, USA. 

Both qualifications draw from a wide range of disciplines, such as exercise physiology, biomechanics, psychology, medicine, and nutrition.

My focus in the strength and conditioning field and its sub-disciplines is on running performance. I read scientific studies in both English and German to keep up-to-date. Of course, I have studied the works of all great running coaches (past and present), and I’m certainly indebted to them. Feel free to reach out for book recommendations. I’m an avid reader and I’m happy to give my two cents on it. 

Training theory alone doesn’t make for a good coach, of course. I also have 9 years of real-world experience coaching athletes in person on the track as well as writing custom training plans for online clients, who happen to live on 5 different continents. Their invaluable feedback has helped me to grow as a running coach over the years. 

Some of my have athletes in their late 30s run sub 16min 5Ks and sub 2:40h marathons on less than 60-mile (100 km) training weeks.

But experience also comes from being an athlete myself. When I assign a long run at the end of a demanding training week, I know what it feels like. Having lived abroad for more than a decade and having experienced running in 52 different countries, from races in tropical Southeast Asia to cold winter morning runs in Europe, I acquired the necessary empathy related to my athlete’s running training.

How I can Help You Become a Faster Runner

Just because running is a simple activity doesn’t mean your training can be simplistic.

There are typically 2 reasons why runners are self-coached. The first one is being quite satisfied with unstructured, low-mileage training having no real performance goals. Fair enough. The second reason is an “I have this figured out myself” attitude. Here, I’d like to object. What distinguishes experts from laymen in any field isn’t just knowing twice as much, or 5x as much. It’s more like 1000x as much and beyond.

Think about it. None of the elite runners is self-coached. They all have expert guidance to reach their potential.

First, all workouts in my training plans have a specific purpose. They either improve your endurance, speed, stamina – or a combination thereof. In scientific terms, your race fitness is a result of your general endurance, lactate threshold, VO2max, running economy, maximal speed, and your fatigue resistance at race pace. The right workouts at the appropriate intensity result in the greatest improvements.

Those are easy runs, long runs, steady-state runs, tempo runs, speed intervals, and repetitions – at times in exciting variations.

Secondly, these workouts have to be embedded into training weeks. Balance is achieved through the optimal training frequency for your level and with Stephen Seiler’s proven 80/20 ratio of easy mileage and intensities at or above lactate threshold. In other words, the interplay between training stimuli and rest ensures you benefit from your running workouts. Training Effect = Work x Recovery. 

Finally, there is the intelligent week-by-week progression, called periodization. This is the roadmap towards a peak performance of a 5K, 10K, HM, or marathon race. My plans are designed with the modern non-linear periodization approach. Here a mix of various training stimuli is present throughout the training cycle that gradually transitions from an emphasis on general abilities towards race-specific training.

That ensures a high fitness level year-round and continuous long-term progress from season to season.

Let me know about your goals and background so I can recommend a training plan to you (email [email protected])

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sandro Sket, CSCS


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