Dave Scott run session: how to build speed & dial-in your race pace

It takes work and commitment to develop a faster run pace, however I have a proven training method that really delivers, says Dave Scott


My “Swing Pacing” workout helps athletes develop a feel for pace and prepares them for the rigours of race day. Swing pace training teaches you how to monitor your workload by running at varying intensities above and below your threshold (or LT) pace.


As effective as it is, this is a tough run session! Its variations peak and dip between threshold and sub-threshold speeds to ultimately help you get faster and become attuned to what pace you can hold throughout a race.

Try this workout once per week during the 6 weeks leading up to your main events, and every other week throughout the remainder of the year.

Dave’s Tips

If you haven’t had a Lactate Threshold (LT) Test, I recommend getting one to help you precisely identify your training zones. If you don’t know your LT pace, you may use the pace from your best 10km running time as a reasonable approximation for this session.

What is lactate and lactate threshold?

Training zones: what are they and how should you use them?

The Swing Pace differential per kilometre at sub-threshold (or subLT) is approximately 8% slower than your lactate threshold pace. In other words, if your LT pace is 4:58 min/km (or 8:00 min/mi), then your subLT pace is 5:22 min/km (or 8:38 min/mi)

The Session

Warm Up

12 minutes. Every 4th minute include 30 steps walking backwards to fire the gluteal muscles.

The goal is to progressively build speed during each interval, reaching your threshold pace over the final 75 metres of each segment.

Continuously run;

100metres, building to LT pace, then cruise for 100m

200m, building to LT pace then100m cruise

300m, building to LT pace then 400 metre cruise

Come back down the ladder starting with another 300m, followed by 200m and then 100m to finish.

Main Set

Now that you’re warmed up, it’s time to perform the high quality work. Please note that these are NOT all-out sprints; do your best to maintain the paces that you’ve previously calculated. Repeat the set 3 to 6 times:

600m subLT; 20 sec rest

400m aerobic; 10 sec rest

200m subLT; 30 sec rest

800m LT; 30 sec rest

Cool Down

8 to 12 minutes easy

Adapting for Beginners

Beginner triathletes – or those just starting their season – can modify this workout by running 20% of the session at LT pace and 80% at sub-threshold pace.

Adapting for Ironman

More experienced athletes can implement a Swing Pace workout twice per week and include 80% of their workout at LT pace and 20 percent at subLT pace.

Dave Scott is the first 6x IRONMAN World Champion and a Master Coach of IRONMAN U.  As the founder of the Dave Scott Multisport Institute, he dedicates himself to making triathletes of all levels faster and more efficient.  Learn more at www.davescottinc.com



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