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Getting Better and Runs and Swims (PST related)

Stew Smith BUDS navy seal preparation pst pst stew smith swimming


If you are coming from a strength and power background or new to training, you may find the speed and endurance requirements challenging if you want to get good enough scores to ace the PST.  Typically, good goals to have for the 500yd CSS swim is between 8-8:30 and a 1.5 mile run at the end of the PST should be in the low 9 minute zone or sub 9 minutes.  Those scores will help you get TO the training as long as  your PT scores are also above average.

Here is what I have my guys do once they have figured out the stroke and have the ability to swim a 50m CSS in 50 seconds (but cannot maintain that pace for 500yds).

The 50-50 Workout:

Warmup with 500yds swim - any stroke - personally I like to mix some freestyle and CSS with this one but the goal is to use the 500yd as a legitimate WARMUP.  One day, this distance will "just be a warmup" to you and will have big time psychological benefits to your anxiety and performance in an official PST. 

THEN - Do the 50-50:

Repeat 10 times
Swim freestyle fast / hard for 50m
Swim CSS at goal pace for 50m
(rest here if you need to but not for long - the goal is to progress to where you can "rest" with your goal pace).  That is when you know you are getting in swimming shape.

We do this 5-6 times a week.  You have to swim 1500m a day if you want to get in shape for swim 500m fast.  THEN - you have to start getting good at swimming 1-2 miles with SCUBA fins if you want to progress to a level to actually make it THROUGH BUD/S. 

Most people who are not used to swimming just need to get into swimming shape (and learn an efficient stroke).  See common errors for CSS swimming.

For Running Goal Pace at the 1.5 mile run

Learn your goal pace!  If you think running 1.5 miles is long distance and cannot maintain a fast pace for more than a lap or two, you need to practice getting in running shape for that pace.  For instance:

Warmup with a 1 mile run - easy pace (stretch)

Repeat 8-10 times
400m run at goal pace
- rest with stretching or another PT exercises (situps, pushups, squats, lunges)
for a minute or less.

If your goal is a 9 minute 1.5 mile run - or 6 minute mile pace - you need to hit all of these 400m runs at 90 seconds.  No slower / no faster.  Commit this pace to your memory - know how it feels to breath, stride, arm swing, etc when at that pace.  You should be able to start a race and within 100m know you are on pace to hit your goal.  Where most people screw up on this event (and swimming too) is they start off way too fast, fall off their goal pace, and wind up way slower than their goal pace.  

More info on Goal Pace Running

THEN you have to start getting good at 4 mile timed runs if  you want to progress to a level to get THROUGH BUD/S. 

Check out this video / workout link for more details: 

 Workout Link Referenced in the above video:

 Some more links to get TO and THROUGH BUD/S

Learn how to put it all together - PST CLINIC - Getting TO the TRAINING:


Getting THROUGH BUD/S requires much more: 

See what is "good enough" - PST Type Scores:

Now how about your durability - strength numbers:



The Heroes of Tomorrow program was developed by former Navy SEAL Stew Smith, fitness author.  We can help prepare you for ANY profession that requires a Physical Fitness Test and YOU pay nothing for the training!  Warning - it is rather advanced but we can scale it back a bit and teach running and swimming techniques and help you build up to your goal level of fitness.



Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1 Beginner Weeks 1-9 
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4 Grinder PT - Four weeks before Hell Week

Navy SEAL Weight Training Book
Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness Book

The Pipeline of Training Options: 


It depends:  The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness is a classic and focuses on high rep calisthenics and running and swimming base.  You will build up your running over 12-18 weeks to 20 miles but very fast paced focus on both the 1.5 mile run for the PST and the 4 mile timed run for weekly run test at BUDS. If you are an athlete with a strong power / strength background in lifting and not running or swimming, Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you. IF you need some place to start Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you as well because a calisthenics base / running / swimming progression is a good place to build a foundation.  Though you will likely need to spend some time in the Navy SEAL Weight Training Book OR if Navy SEAL FItness is too challenging, go with Navy SEAL SWCC, EOD, Diver, PST Phase 1 Workout.  Phase 1 is a good starting point if Navy SEAL Fitness program is too tough. 

Navy SEAL Weight Training - This is part two (winter lifting phase) of my SEAL Prep program. If you have done the Navy SEAL Fitness (12 weeks to BUDS) program a few times and need a break, this is the next program that integrates lifting with the Navy SEAL Prep training. This is ideal for people who have come from an endurance athlete background.  Athletes like swimmers and runners will also require some strength training as you will be exposed to challenges under logs and boats during the first phase and many miles of rucking 50+ lbs of backpacks and gear in 2nd and 3rd phases of BUDS.  Do not skip lifting in your year of training prep.  However, if you are coming from a powerlifting / football background, supplementing a few lifts into your endurance / muscle stamina focus plan is something you may enjoy especially if training for a year or more during your prep phase. 

Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD, Diver Program Series - Phase 1 is what I call a beginner guide, but it is still challenging.  It is geared toward those who are scoring minimally or failing their Navy PST test - 500yd swim, pushups, situps, pullups, 1.5 mile run.  It is easier than The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness and a good prep course before attempting it. 

Phase 2 and 3 of the Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD, Diver program is about the same level of intensity as Navy SEAL Fitness and is also a good follow-up plan after Phase 1

Phase 4 ot the Navy SEAL Key to Mental Toughness is by far my toughest workout ever created.  It resembles a day of BUDS, complete with "wet and sandy", runs after eating, high rep punishment push-ups, 4 mile timed runs, 2 mile swims with fins, log PT simulation, and even a HellWeek Simulator with 3 workouts a day.  

Tactical Fitness Series - Tactical Fitness, Tactical Strength, and Tactical Mobility is an ALL-encompassing program that focuses on lifting, calisthenics, run, ruck, swim, speed, agility, and flexibility / mobility. Many people focusing on USMC (OCS, RECON, MarSOC) Army Ranger / SF, Air Force Special Warfare, SWAT / Federal Law Enforcement, and Navy Special Warfare have done very well focusing on the Tactical Fitness Series and developing themselves into an all-round Tactical Athlete

Tactical Fitness - At the core of this program is the Tactical Fitness Test which measures 12 standards for your physical capacity, including: cardiovascular conditioning, strength, muscle coordination, and stamina. Tactical fitness means having the skills needed to save lives and extend the limits of your endurance whether you are in the military, police, firefighting professions, or just an everyday hero. Also featured in the Tactical Fitness Test called the Dirty Dozen.

Tactical Strength - Tactical Strength is the lifting program used by Stew Smith and his Military, Police, Fire Fighter fitness program called the Heroes of Tomorrow. It is designed to build strength in the upper body, legs, and core to prepare you better for any load bearing activity (rucking, boat carry, log PT, etc). The program also does not neglect cardiovascular activity and will end workouts with rucking or swimming (or other non impact options (row, bike, elliptical) if needed. The cardio workouts will be quick and fast focusing more on speed and agility than long slow distance. We also use the Tactical Strength Test to test elements of speed, agility, and strength / power.

Tactical Mobility is a comprehensive fitness guide for greater mobility, flexibility, and performance—designed for the men and women serving in military, special ops, law enforcement, emergency services. Tactical Mobility is a perfect fit for any fitness program as a stand alone "Mobility day" supplemented into your regular routine and will help you reach the pain free level of fitness. Gaining flexibility and mobility is the goal of the program and it will help with performance and help reduce injuries.

The Warrior Workout Series - If you are solid with making your own workouts, but need some ideas.  This three part series has 300 workouts (100 / book) to pick from focusing on all the elements of fitness and training programs. Each book is organized with periodization cycles in mind along with calisthenics only, weights / calisthenics mix, cardio options and more. Warrior Workout 1   -  Warrior Workout 2  -   Warrior Workout 3. 

Personalized Training Programs
There are many more options as well as personalized training programs member's only program and the new :


Try Our Stew Smith Fitness Members Only Club - #1 Best Selling Tactical Fitness Programs

Questions?  Just email me at

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Prep: Spec Ops Periodization



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