My name is Matt Scott and I am a middle distance runner from Sydney, training with the Melbourne based, ‘Wolf Pack Track club’; coached by Bruce Scriven. Before relocating to Melbourne in 2016 to attend university, I was training with Lindsay Watson – whom I still train with when I return home to Sydney.
I compete in all distances from the 400m – 1500m, but have found the most success in the 800m. I began running in primary school, initially starting out with ambitions for the 3000m and cross country events. However, in my later high school years my coach – Lindsay Watson- suggested I give 800’s a go, so my training changed to include more speed work and less mileage. The switch proved beneficial, and within several seasons I made big improvements in my 400m, 800m and 1500m PB’s.
When I decided to move to Melbourne after finishing high school, Lindsay introduced me to his friend Bruce and a partnership was formed between two coaches. They are both skilled coaches and have coached several Olympic athletes between them. Both are great role models and are very generous with their time. I cannot thank them enough!
I had a successful 2017/2018 summer season and was privileged enough to compete at Nationals in the 800m final. The chance to run in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games stadium alongside the best middle distance runners in Australia’s was a thrilling and unique experience, and has encouraged me to keep training towards qualifiers for future Australian teams and races on the European circuit.
My 4 key sessions:
Track session: 1x 600m time trial, 4-minute rest, 2x 200m (diagonal walk across recovery).
I have a love-hate relationship with this session. If I am not contorted in lactic agony on the infield after the final rep I know I didn’t do it right. However, the 600m time trial component is a useful gauge of 800m form in the weeks leading up to a season opener.
- Typical target: 1:17-1:19 for 600m, 23’’ – 25’’ for both 200m reps.
This session helps me develop my anaerobic capacity and speed; and therefore is also great for 400m training. I always record the times for each of the 3 reps, and try to beat those times the next time I do the session. This enables me to track improvement in 800m form throughout a season, which can be a good confidence booster leading into a big race.
800m race drills (300m, 200m threshold, 300m) with 4-minute recovery between each rep.
One of my favourite sessions! In this track session I aim to run both 300m reps at 800m race pace (roughly 40’’) and run 40’’ for the 200m threshold in the middle. Because of the intensity I can only manage 2 or 3 reps.
This session is effective because it mimics the opening and closing stages of an 800m race, and builds both aerobic power and speed. I used this session a lot in January 2018 in the build up to Nationals, and it gave me confidence in my ability to go out hard for the first 300m and still have enough left in the tank to finish quickly. This 800m race drill also teaches change of pace running which can be useful in a tactical race.
Strength and conditioning:
Being able to maintain a high power output throughout the entire race is key to running a solid 800. I only began taking strength and conditioning seriously last year, and I have quickly discovered it is a huge asset for any track and field athlete.
- Body weight: single leg squats, lunges, calf raises, squat jumps, chin ups.
- With weights: chest press, deadlifts.
- Other: seated row, plank, Russian twist.
Minimal weight drives the focus towards good control and remaining stable through each rep. Gym work helps me to maintain good form in the closing stages of the race when the lactic acid starts to take its toll.
Foam rolling and trigger point release
I like to do a lot of foam rolling and trigger point release before my track sessions and races. My training partner Mitch Thomson calls me ‘Turtle’ due to significant amount of time I spend lying on the ground with a spiky ball in my glute or hip-flexor. I find the added range of motion in my legs, hips, back and shoulders makes me feel fast and powerful on the track.