Running man Saad thanks Olympian for support
GOLD Coast Suns sprint machine Adam Saad says an off-season spent working with Australian long-distance running great Craig Mottram is behind his improved form this season.
Saad revealed he reached out to the four-time Olympian and went under his guidance for two months at the end of last year in a bid to add endurance capacity to his reputation as a tearaway defender.
"For me it's to continually build on the track and get as fit as I can with the repeat efforts,” Saad said.
"I'm more of a speed athlete rather than endurance athlete but I'm trying to balance that out. It comes down to having a big pre-season and continually being on the track.
"I just got in touch with Craig Mottram over the off-season and we had a few sessions together.
"It's helped my game massively. I was training with him twice a week over a good amount of time.
"I feel like I have improved my game and my endurance. He is a really good runner so I took a leaf out of his book.
"We were going for 35-40 minute runs, clocking up to 10km but it changed every session. He sort of mixed it up but at the start I was struggling a bit because I really hadn't run 40 minutes straight in my life but to get that under my belt now is something I pride myself on.”
Mottram, who won a silver medal in the 5000m race at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and bronze in the same event at the World Championships a year earlier, has previously helped the Western Bulldogs improve their running in recent pre-seasons.
Saad drew praise from Suns co-captain Tom Lynch for his ability to prevent goals in two-on-one situations over the past two weeks, reflecting his improved defensive capabilities.
"This year that's something I really want to pride myself on as well - my defensive acts,” Saad said.
"I feel like I have come a long way, there are still improvements for the defensive side of my game, so I'll just keep working on that.”
Saad, the only practising Muslim on Gold Coast's list, is currently fasting during the day as part of Ramadan.
The 22-year-old said it was a month he looked forward to and while water was the most difficult thing to abstain from as an athlete, he was now experienced at staying at the top of his game during the period.
"It just comes back to the way we plan the program,” Saad said.
"Each year we try new things. It's just learning more about myself and more about my body.”