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From Average to Outstanding on PT Tests

Stew smith

From Average to Outstanding:
How Strategic Pacing Will Elevate Your Fitness Test Scores

Are you ready to ace your fitness tests? You may have heard that you need to give it your all but let me tell you something - pacing is the key to achieving optimal scores, not sprinting. Regarding fitness tests, unless it specifically calls for 2x25m sprints or 300m sprints, you need pacing for drills such as a 1.5 mile timed run, two minutes of sit-ups, or a 500-yard swim.

Why is this Important? You will not get accepted into military/spec ops programs if you cannot meet specific higher-level standards. 

Situp Pacing:

Let me break it down for you. If your goal is to pass sit-ups, think of it as four sets of 30 seconds each. Don't sprint through the first 30 seconds and end up with 35 or 40 reps. That initial burst won't be sustainable, and you might fail to meet the standard. Instead, start slower and aim for 20 reps in the first 30 seconds. You can gradually increase your pace and reach 40 reps in the first minute, 60 in a minute and a half, and 80 in two minutes. Play around with the numbers and find what works for you.

Running Pace (Goal Pace Running)

The same principle applies to running. Break it into 6 x 400m/quarter-mile runs at your goal pace to improve your pace. Make the rest sets a minimum, but at first, try to rest for a 100-meter walk. 

Calculating GOAL PACE: Your goal pace is calculated by subtracting a minute from your current mile time. For example, if you run an eight-minute mile, aim for a seven-mile pace for your next timed run. To achieve this, you'll need to learn how to run quarters at a 1:45 pace and half miles at 3:30. Practice running faster if you want to run faster! We do this for 50% of the runs we do each week, with one of the runs being longer, slower pace, and one being shorter, faster pace, often mixed with hills and leg exercises. We tend to do our goal pacing drills on upper body days to get the body used to running after high-rep calisthenics workouts. See Running Plan to get you TO and THROUGH Selection. 

Swim Pacing

Swimming follows the same logic. Break down the 500-yard swim into 10 sets of 50 yards. A common goal is to swim 50 yards in 50 seconds efficiently. It's not a sprint. You'll conquer the entire 500 yards over time by maintaining this pace, but you must get in swimming shape. This will take practice, but we have workouts like the 50-50 to help you get there.

For more in-depth guidance on specific exercises, I recommend checking out You'll find articles, eBook ideas, book recommendations, and even online coaching there. In fact, you don't have to make any purchases to access valuable resources like the sit-up, pull-up, and push-up protocol. It's all about setting a plan according to your maximum effort. Whether it's running, swimming, or overall physical fitness, you'll find the answer you're looking for with the Navy SEAL PST Program.

Book or eBook

Are you a beginner struggling to finish a mile-and-a-half run or a 500-yard swim? Look no further; we have a Calisthenics and Cardio program tailored just for you. These programs are also beneficial if you're a bit slow in these areas and want to improve your pull-ups, push-ups, and sit-ups.

Book or EBOOK

Key Points to Remember

- Pacing, not sprinting, is the key to scoring optimally on fitness tests. Don't start off too fast, or you may fail to meet the standard.

- Learn the key to acing your fitness tests - pacing. Find out how to optimize your scores in running, sit-ups, and swimming drills to get in shape for your GOAL PACE for each event. 

- Break down your training into manageable sets and gradually increase your pace. This technique will help you meet and exceed the standards.

- Improve your running pace by practicing quarter-mile and half-mile runs at your goal pace. Get in shape to maintain these distances and more beyond your tested distances. 

- Conquer the 500-yard swim by breaking it down into 50-yard sets. Maintain a consistent, efficient pace and you'll conquer the entire distance over time.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to and start your journey to crushing those fitness tests. Until next time, stay focused and keep pushing yourself. You've got this!

No Matter What Phase of Preparation You Are In - We Have an Answer For You

(In fact, there are more than 40 books, 1000+ articles, online coaching - and more) 

Who is Stew Smith CSCS? Coach, Trainer, Writer, PodcasterI'm the former Navy SEAL that tactical candidates go to for books, ebooks and online coaching to prepare themselves to get to and through intense tactical assessment and selection programs and qualify for service in their chosen tactical profession.  See More at

Where to Find More Information About Optimal Performance Training Programs

When you start training again, consider the seasonal tactical fitness model.  I call it A WAY to train and obviously not the only way to train. But it offers the opportunity to never neglect your weaknesses, helps with flexibility and mobility, but will also put you at a level of physical abilities where you are happy with your overall ability to do just about anything. We have a system where the seasons dictate our training. When it is nicer outside, we tend to run and do more calisthenics. When it is colder and not so nice, we lift more, run less, and still maintain our outdoor activities with shorter runs and rucks. Check it out: Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization System.  

These Seasonal Tactical Fitness BLOCK Periodization programs will walk you through 4 x 4 weeks cycles with 16 weeks of each season in two programs. (32 total weeks) 

Increase Strength & Crush the PST / PAST
3 Weeks Strength - 1 Week PT / Cardio Focus 
(16 weeks)

These programs will walk you through 4 cycles with 12 weeks of each season in two programs. 

The Specific Military / Special Ops Physical Fitness Workouts 

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT
Navy SWCC Workout

Army / Air Force Advanced Fitness / Special Ops 

Army PFT Workout (Prep For Rucking, OPAT, ACFT)
Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout
Army Air Assault School Workout
Army Airborne Workout
Air Force Special Warfare IFT / OFT / Selection Prep


Advanced Running Program - Special Ops Supplement Plan
USMC OCS / TBS Workout


The Combat Conditioning Workout
Air Force PJ / CCT Workout  Battlefield Airman Prep Course
The UBRR Upper Body Round Robin Workout / Spec Ops version


The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer / Navy SAR Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Boot Camp Workout


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Workouts

The FBI Academy Workout  |   FBI Workout Vol 2  
The DEA Workout
The FLETC Workout - Ace the PEB
The PFT Bible: Pushups, Sit-ups, 1.5 Mile Run
The Fire Fighter Workout - Ace the CPAT


Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced Fitness Guides 

The Beginner / Intermediate Guide to Fitness
Reclaim Your Life  Erin O'Neill Story (beginner / intermediate)

Veterans Fitness  Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach 
Circuit Training 101  Beginner / Intermediate Guide to the Gym


The Busy Executive Workout Routine
The Obstacle Course Workout  Prep for Races or Mil, LE, FF
TRX / Military Style Workouts  Adding TRX to Military Prep Workouts


Tactical Fitness Over 40 Series

Tactical Fitness (40+) Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, Phase 4


Online Coaching Options

Online PT CLUB - Weekly Workouts created personally for you.

New Member's Only Content / Services Program!

If you want access to years worth of workouts, many of the top eBOOKs, favorite workouts of the week, free fitness APP, closed Facebook Group, video / picture library of exercises, and more access to LIVE Q/A sessions check out the Stew Smith Fitness Members Section

The dashboard below has the links to all the information, archives, videos, and links to workouts, podcasts, live Q and A lessons. 

Consider this! - A Membership Program and Gain Access to Exclusive Content
(click for Fitness Club Dashboard - members only)

Best of all, if you have questions, email Stew Smith himself (  Join the tactical fitness group discussions, latest articles, videos, podcasts at the Stew Smith Tactical Fitness Training Closed Group on Facebook.


Questions?  Just email -

At - List of Products and Services

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Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness store if you're looking to start a workout program to get you TO and THROUGH any tactical fitness training program OR create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to


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