2 Mile Run Time | Army Officer Tips

Are you seeking how to lower your army 2 mile run time? If so, I am glad you have made it here to my site. I spent over 20 years on active duty retiring in March of 2022. Thus, have some experience in sharing my top recommendations to get Soldiers, military members of all branches and civilians new bests. No, it won’t be simple but my aim is that you will learn a few strategies in this post.

I have run 4:22 for the mile (1609 meters), 9:27 for 2 miles (3218m) and have run 2:19:35 for the marathon. I started running when I was 15 and am 45 now at the time of the writing of this post. So, I have been at this for 30 years. I know what works and what doesn’t. In addition, how to help athletes to stop making the same mistakes. One of which is running too much of their weekly volume too slow. Remember, the 2 mile run is a highly anaerobic event. Thus, you will need to develop your speed and run more.

Running once or twice per week during your mandatory PT sessions is not enough. Are you having problems sustaining pace? How often are you practicing running at or below your goal army 2 mile run pace? If the percentage is too low then we know some adjustments need to be made.

What is the 2-Mile Run Time for the Army?

The Army has specific time standards that you will need to run in order to score a no-go or go on the new ACFT test. That being said, prior to the new test going into effect there was a point structure. You maxed out at 100 points and points were also based off of your age group. For example, my age group would make out at around a time of 13:10 for 2-mile.

I never had a great deal of issue with the APFT or ACFT test as I have been a runner all my life. That being said, my main focus has always been to help military members as well as civilians to surpass what they think is possible. Again, the key to pace sustainment is improving your lactate tolerance. How well you clear lactic acid as it is building up at sub-maximal to maximal efforts will determine how fast you run. Yes, running easy is still important.

Remember, the benefits of your hard work come from within the rest period. Google the word “Supercompensation”. Thank me later. The majority of your platoon leaders, platoon sergeants and team members have never heard of it. You are already one step ahead of them for now know what they don’t.

Why Does the Army Do the 2-Mile Run?

The main reason we train for the 2 mile run as Soldiers is for your command to test your cardiovascular endurance. We have to be fully prepared in all conditions. So, cardiovascular strength is critical on and off the battlefield. A major mistake I saw a lot of Soldiers making while I was in was running their 2 mile run in training shoes. I always showed up to my fitness tests with racing flats on my feet.

My top recommendation is to invest in some lightweight and fast racing flats such as the Nike Zoom Next% or the On Running CloudboomEcho shoes. They both contain new shoe technology which will convert kinetic energy into forward propulsion. Will you be at a huge advantage while wearing them compared to those Troops who do not? Absolutely.

Of course, you will be at an advantage regardless what racing flat you choose. The reason being is the shoes are lighter. Of course, you will have need to have done your homework in training or no shoe will benefit you.

ACFT 2 Mile Run Overview

The Army and its leadership want to ensure you are ready to handle extreme conditions, rucking and your cardiovascular fitness. So, running well over the 2MR will ensure that are best equipped. My goal as your online military mentor and coach is to ensure that you exactly that. I have created many resources here from training plans, running courses and provide online coaching for both military and civilian athletes.

Remember, your unit will determine when and where you will go after your 2 mile run time at. So, it could be indoors or outdoors. You will have a 10-minute rest between the LTK and the 2MR. There are some changes from the APFT to ACFT run time calculations. Of course, there are many Soldiers and other military members who will only need 21 minutes to gain their 60 points on the ACFT. You will need a time of 13:30 in order to obtain 100 points.

Are you seeking 70 points? If so, you will need to run your 2 mile run time in 18 minutes or 19 minutes if you are going for 65 points. Of course, Soldiers cannot received any physical help during the 2 mile run. Yes, pacing is allowed. The faster you are the less help you will receive. I had to accept this fact being a runner.

Top Recommendations to Run a Faster Army 2 Mile Run Time

Avoid Walking

Of course, it is permitted. That being said, a major reason why so many Soldiers do is they simply have not been running enough. Again, you have to stress the energy systems of the body adequately. The world’s top middle to long distance runners run about 40 percent of their weekly volume at or below goal race pace. Why do you think they make it look so easy? A good reason is they have improved their lactate tolerance.

3 hour marathon pace
MAJ(ret.)Pennington finishing as the top American and in 4th place at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2:19:35 averaging 5:19 per mile for 26.2 miles (13 back-to-back 2 miles in 10:38 each)

Thus, they are able to run more economically (efficiently) than their competition. In addition, are able to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. A major reason you want to avoid walking is simply that you will destroy your overall finish time. The longer you prepare for your upcoming AFCT 2 mile test the better off you will be. I have 8, 12 and 16 week 2-mile training plans here at rundreamachieve.com you may want to consider.

Run Longer

It takes the body between 21 days to 4 weeks to adapt to any stress load you are placing on it. So, running longer is essential for your body to adapt. How much time do you think you’d drop off your Army 2 mile run time if your long run was extended out toward 8 to 12 miles? What has been the farthest long run you have been put in? How many miles or kilometers per week have you been putting in? Be honest with yourself.

Now, review how you have been performing on your 2 mile run. Are you happy with where you are at or seeking a faster time? I am assuming that you are otherwise you would have not landed on this post. Remember, be patient.

Your daily easy run pace may be 9 minute mile pace today. That being said, a few weeks from now it may be closer to 8:20 per mile pace or faster. Again, the body always adapts to the stress you are placing on it. You cannot be in a rush with this.

So, start considering running longer during your long runs. You will burn fat and build endurance. Also, you will get more confident the farther you extend the length of the long run you are doing.

Faster, Varied Paced Long Runs

I lower my 10-mile PR from 53:12 to 50:54 using this tactic. Also, improved my road 5K time down to 14:18, ran the half-marathon in 1:07:06 and marathon in 2:19:35. So, I tend to reiterate the importance of this strategy. Remember, you don’t want to run long and slow every single weekend. One of the best ways to lower your 2 mile run time is to start spending sections of that long run at faster efforts.

Below are some examples of the types of long runs I was doing while I was still in the Army. Of course, I was training for the Army Ten Miler, half-marathons and marathons. So, the distances of these runs are much longer. No, you don’t need to do long runs this far for a 2 mile run. That being said, consider the intensities you see here. What tactic am I using to help make my race pace for 2 miles and longer easier?

  • 2 mile jog warm-up, 4 miles@165BPM (5:40-50 mile pace), 4 miles easy@130-150BPM (6:25-45 mile pace, 1 mile in 4:55, 2 miles easy, 4 miles@165BPM, 2 mile cool-down
  • 2 mile warm-up, 15 miles steady at moderate effort running at 165BPM, 2 mile cool-down
  • 2 mile warm-up jog, 5 miles@goal marathon race pace (5:20 mile pace), 5 miles easy, 2 miles@5:05 mile pace, 4 miles easy

Focus on Your Raw Leg Speed

Your 2 mile run time will only improve if you conduct longer tempo runs and focus on vo2 max workouts. The reason being is you will be running at significantly faster intensities especially during your speed sessions. Also, it will make your goal 2 mile ACFT run time pace feel that much easier.

Remember, the 2 mile is a highly anaerobic (without oxygen) event. It isn’t like the marathon which is highly aerobic. Yes, you can go out far too fast in a marathon. That being said, you have time to slow down, re-group and settle back into your pace.

The 2 mile run is different. You can go into oxygen debt by going out too aggressive and pay for it later. The event is only 3200 meters long or 8 laps of the track. So, speed training will help develop your ability to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers.

Running easy does not produce this physiological effect, only running fast does. So, do 1, vo2 max workout per week. Below are some examples of speed training I would recommend to someone seeking to run under 12 minutes for the 2 mile.

  • 1 mile warm-up, 8x800m in 2:48-3:05 with 2 to 3 minutes rest between reps, 1 mile cool-down
  • 1 mile warm-up, 3x400m in 1:24 to 1:32 with 60 sec to 2 minutes rest, 1 mile in 6:00, 4x200m in 44-48 seconds, 1 mile cool-down jog
  • 2 mile jog warm-up, 4×1 mile in 6:05-6:10, 1 mile jog cool-down

Again, just examples but you can see some of these efforts are well below goal 2 mile effort for this athlete.

Focus on Relaxation in Training

I have seen a lot of Soldiers running far too tense during their 2 mile tests. Again, focus on staying as relaxed as you can prior to and during the all out effort. You can do this training. I always say that training should be the most difficult part of the process of improving your army 2 mile run time. The day of the test is the celebration of all of your hard work.

The best sprinters, middle to long distance athletes always look relaxed. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new vlog content there each week to help professionals such as yourself take their running to the next level. I also recommend implementing strides into your training routine.

Strides are short, acceleration drills that will help you focus on your form too. The good news is they are too short to build up any lactic acid. So, you can do these twice per week (4-6x100m strides) before, during or after your easy runs.

Closing Thoughts

I hope that this post has been helpful to you in reminding you of some of the things you need to think over to do well. Again, stay consistent in your training. Running 2 to 3 times a week will provide good results. That being said, if you are wanting to be great at this event then running 4 to 7 days a week will be required.

We have three choices in this life. We can be average, good or great. Greatness requires far more out of you and I then we realize. I trained from 1992 to 2007 to break the sub-2:20 marathon barrier. I held 5:19 mile pace for 26.2 miles the day I ran 2:19:35. It was consistent work, over a long period of time that helped me product that type of time. No, I didn’t have a lot of talent. What I did have was work ethic. So, don’t count yourself out with this event.

Maintain your enthusiasm for what you are doing. Yes, you will have poor workouts and races. It is a part of the success process. The best middle to long distance athletes have had to deal with failure. Feel free to reach out to me at nathanpennington [at] protonmail [dot] com if you have any other questions/concerns. Keep me posted on your progress on your ACFT 2 mile run and fitness results.

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