Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

ACFT Plank Standards | How to Run a Faster 2 Mile

Are you seeking to improve upon the ACFT plank standards? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. I know this new Army Combat Fitness Test is a new challenge for Soldiers. We used to do the original APFT doing just the push ups, sit ups and then the 2 mile run. Abdominal strength plays a major role when it comes to running fast times from the 2 mile up to the marathon. I recently created the new Army ACFT Embrace the Suck 2 mile course to help athletes run faster over 8 laps.

ACFT Score Chart
ACFT Score Chart

The ACFT scoring chart listed above discusses the exact time frame you need to hit to meet the standards. The ACFT plank standards are time-based. For example, a Soldier who falls in the 32-36 age-group category needs to hold their plan for at least 1 minute and 15 seconds for 60 points. The same Soldier will need to sustain the plank for 3 minutes and 25 seconds in order to get 100 points.

The 2 mile run is the last event and gives Soldiers the biggest problems. I did not see an online running course online to help military members and civilians. So, decide to create one built around every strategy and tactic I was taught to me by some of the world's top distance running coaches.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARMY ACFT 2 MILE COURSE

Army Combat Fitness Test 2 Mile Run Standards

The above listed ACFT score chart discusses what times you need to hit. The only way to get your 2 mile race pace to feel more manageable is to train longer at 85 to 89 percent of your max heart rate. So, you have to run longer durations running at your anaerobic threshold. Our anaerobic threshold is the point where lactic acid begins to build up in the body. Remember, the faster we run the more oxygen is required.

Easy running will definitely burn fat and build endurance. That being said, the 2 mile is over in a matter of minutes. How fast you cover the 8 laps will be dependent on how you plan your training. The new ACFT 2 mile course consists of 9 modules and 58 video lessons. I cover everything I have been taught by world-class runners and coaches that helped me. In addition, it concludes with a 16-week training plan built around your specific goal 2 mile time.

What is the Plank Standard for the ACFT?

As mentioned above, ACFT plank standards are based on age and time. So, the longer you can hold your plank position the higher you are going to score. I wouldn't recommend holding your plank longer than you need to. You are going to need that extra mental and physical energy for the 2 mile run. That being said, doing planks and push ups prior to this test is essential. These first 5 events prior to the 2 mile are more or less, anaerobic in nature.

So, you want to certainly prepare adequately with your cardio preparation. Easy running is still important. What happens if 99 percent of your weekly mileage is too aerobic in nature? Sure, you will be in great shape in terms of endurance. That being said, you will be in poor race shape. The key strategy is to improve the body's lactate tolerance. Pace sustainment is the biggest hurdle for most runners to scale.

This course covers all variables need to run faster over not only 2 miles but up to the marathon distance. I have run 9:27 for 2 miles, 14:18 for 5K and 2:19:35 for the marathon. So, understand the complexities of these events and what is truly needed in order to succeed. The ACFT test does not have to be as intimidating as it is for some Soldiers. My main goal in creating this course is to set service members as well as civilians up for success.

How Long Do You Have to Plank for ACFT?

I agree with Dr. Stuart McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics, that holding a plank longer than 10 seconds is pointless. That being said, I feel that sit ups are much more effective. In addition, they will naturally strengthen the abdominal muscles for the plank. The focus of the ACFT Army Embrace the Suck 2 mile course is to help military members handle their chosen goal race pace more effectively.

I don't think Soldiers need to be in the gym more than once per week. In fact, throughout my Army career prior to retiring in March of 2022, I was in the gym once a week myself. I would most certainly recommend building your mileage for 3 to 4 weeks by running easy, aerobic mileage. A common mistake I saw far too many Soldiers making is rushing their fitness. You cannot start doing repeat miles, 400s on the track or tempo runs without first laying a strong foundation of mileage.

I have been in this sport for over 30 years. So, understand and have studied under 3 of the world's top distance running coaches. I would focus also on adding in doing strides into your routine twice per week. Strides are short, 50 to 100 meter acceleration drills that will help you improve your form. In addition, are perfect warm-up drills prior to starting track workouts, tempo runs or long runs.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARMY ACFT 2 MILE COURSE

What is the Army Standard for 2 Mile Run?

Soldiers that are seeking to score 100 points on the 2 mile run event need to run around 13 minutes and 22 seconds. Of course, to pass the ACFT you need to score 60 points in each of the 6 events. So, there are minimum and maximum standards in order to do this. Again, you can reference the ACFT score chart listed above to find the exact times you need to run based on your age.

I also discuss some major ways you can bypass the mistakes that Soldiers make in this course. Are you a member of another branch of our military? If so, this course is a perfect option for you as well. The Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard focus on 1.5 miles on their fitness test. Marines focus on 3 miles and the Army 2 miles. The strategies and tactics that I teach in this course can help runners focus all the way to the marathon.

Longer Tempo Runs

Imagine how much faster you will be over 2 miles if you can lengthen your tempo run out to 4 to 5 miles in length. My focus with the 16 week training plan at the conclusion of this course is to gradually lengthen the tempo run. Remember, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress load you are placing on it. So, we have to focus first on adapting to a 2 to 3 mile tempo run before lengthening the distance.

It won't happen overnight as I am sure you are already aware of. Impatience screws a lot of athletes up. I have seen many Soldiers second guessing and doubting themselves when they don't see results as quickly as they would like. My goal with this new running course is to take the guesswork out of your preparation. I want military members here in the states and around the world to set new personal bests from 2 mile to the marathon.

Focus on Your Speed Development

Faster running will help you recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. The more of these we can recruit the more economical (efficient) you will run. I recommend doing at least 1, vo2 max workout per week. We are running between 95 to 100 percent of our maximum heart rate when running at your vo2 max.

I highly recommend considering heart rate monitor training. I use the Garmin 245 myself and it helps me to stay at the proper heart rate zones when training.

Below are the heart rate zones you want to ensure to focus on when running. It will ensure you are not overtraining or under training. Again, we want to stress the energy systems of the body. That being said, we need to be jogging on our easy days to ensure adaptations occurs. So, don't focus so much on what pace you are running at on easy days. It should be relaxed and easy. It is the harder days that count the most.

Closing Thoughts

Would you like to keep in touch? If so, make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I make at least 2 new videos there each week to help runners such as yourself get to the next level with their training and racing. Running fast over 2 miles or further comes down to proper planning. More importantly, proper pacing. You are not going to set a new personal best over 3200m unless you have trained anaerobically.

I am a big believer in faster, varied paced long runs. I used this tactic to lower my 5K from 15:19 to 14:18. In addition, lowered my marathon time from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35. I strongly suggest you implement this tactic training for your 1.5 mile, 2 mile or 3 mile run events. In fact, there are some specific strategies that you can implement with no training to help drop significant time off of your 2 mile. Mistakes that I continually saw Soldiers making during my 20 years of active duty service.

I look forward to interviewing you about your new personal best on the 2 mile of ACFT. In addition, sharing your story on the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I have zero doubt that if you follow the tactics I teach within this course you will drop substantial time off of your 2 mile best. Yes, this course is also perfect for civilians as well as the fundamentals are universal from the 1 mile to the marathon distance.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARMY ACFT 2 MILE COURSE