What I've found is that for really tough subjects like this, while I do set the camera to M sometimes, I let the camera's meter give me hints. I set it to spot and aperture then point the spot at different areas and note the selected shutter speed. Then it's just a matter of compromising between fast shutter and slow shutter, depending on what you're trying to do.
Using this method you can use M mode once you have your settings. Of course, if you can find your desired shutter speed using spot, say fastest is 1/1000, slowest is 1/100 and you decide on 1/750, then if there is a spot in the image where the meter shows 1/750 you can push and hold the AE Lock at that point, recompose and shoot.
Works the same for shutter priority, just set shutter and watch the aperture.