Army 2 Mile Run Time | How to Set a New PR

Are you training to improve your Army 2 mile run time? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. I hold personal bests of 4:22 for the mile and 9:27 for the 2 mile. In addition, have run 50:54 for 10 miles and 2:19:35 for the marathon. My aim with this post is not to impress you with time. Of course, there are many runners out there who have run much faster than I. That being said, I spent over 20 years on active duty retiring from the US Army in March of 2022. So, understand what US Soldiers deal with.

The 2 mile event is a highly anaerobic event. How well you deal with lactic acid will determine your level of success. The aims of this post is to share with you some strategies to help you lower that 2 miler run time down. Remember, the key focus is to improve your body’s lactate tolerance. Unfortunately, you will not do this by running easy. Yes, easy running is still essential as the benefits of your hard training come from within the rest.

That being said, you need to stress the body’s energy systems adequately. In addition, sufficiently enough in order to see the physiological adaptations occur.

Why Does the Army Do the 2-Mile Run?

The Army does the 2 mile to test your cardiovascular fitness. We, as Soldiers, need to be fit and ready under all conditions. In addition, must have the strength and stamina regardless the conditions we fight in. The Army 2 mile run time you are going for depends on how you develop your training. One of the biggest mistakes I see many military making is running too few of miles. In addition, not running far or fast enough.

Marathon Sub 3 Hour Training Plan
MAJ(ret.) Pennington finishing as the top American, in 4th place and with a USA Track and Field Olympic Trials “A” standard time of 2:19:35 at the 2007 at the California International Marathon

Yes, your military leadership may have you run once or twice per week during morning PT. That being said, is this really enough? Again, you are training to run more economically (efficiently) over 8 laps. So, speed endurance is what is going to dictate your success. The runners who truly want to improve their Army 2 mile run time are going to have to think outside the box. How can you better prepare than your military brothers and sisters?

Run More

Easier said than done. That being said, the body always adapts. It takes between 21 days to 4 weeks for your body to adapt to any stress load you are placing on it. So, you need to be strategic in how you set up your training. I have created 2 mile training plans for athletes seeking to run anywhere from 16 minutes down below 10 minutes for the event here on RunDreamAchieve.

What is your longest long run you have done? Do you even do a weekly long run preparing for your Army 2 mile APFT test? If not, now is the time to consider working one into your routine. Now, imagine how easy that Army 2 mile run will feel once you get your long run out to around 8 to 10 miles in length? One, you will be building your endurance. Two, the majority of the Soldiers in your platoon will not have put in that kind of work. I can promise you that.

Lastly, you will be teaching the body to burn fat more effectively. Remember, the faster you run the more fast twitch muscle fibers you are going to recruit. The more of those you recruit the more efficient you are going to run over the 2 mile distance.

Conduct Faster, Varied Paced Long Runs

Running longer is essential. That being said, a major way to significantly lower your Army 2 mile run time is running your long runs faster. No, I am not saying you need to be running the entire long run fast. Of course, that is a quick way to burn out fast. Remember, it takes time to adapt to the stresses you are placing on the body. So, start off your training build up running preferably the first 3 to 4 weeks running easy, aerobic mileage.

army 2 mile run time

I would recommend introducing strides into your routine. Strides are short, acceleration drills that will not build up any significant lactic acid. So, you can do 4 to 6x100m strides twice per week during your easy runs. Faster, varied paced long runs should be done every other weekend. Remember, always follow a faster long run with an easy, relaxed long runs. Below are some examples of faster, long runs for a Soldier seeking to break 10 minutes for the 2 mile.

  • 1 mile warm-up, 3 miles@5:45 mile pace, 1 mile easy, 2 miles@5:25 pace, 1 mile easy, 1 mile in 6:30, 1 mile cool-down (10 miles)
  • Warm-up (1 mile), 2 miles@5:30 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 3 miles@6:00 mile pace, 1 mile easy, 1 mile in 5:10 (10 miles)
  • 1 mile warm-up, 5 miles@5:50 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 5:20, 1 mile cool-down
  • 1 mile warm-up, 7 miles@6:00 mile pace, 1 mile cool-down (9 miles)

Longer Tempo Runs

Tempo runs should be conducted at your anaerobic threshold. Your anaerobic threshold is the point where lactic acid starts to build up in your blood stream. In addition, it is running at or around 85 to 88 percent of your maximum heart rate. Remember, you will be running right around this effort during your 2 mile APFT test. Again, the longer you can spend training at higher heart rates, the better.

The reason being is you will be teaching the body to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. Also, you will slow down less than the Soldiers who have not paid attention to this during the new Army AFCT test.

Of course, the events for the new AFCT Army PT tests are different but that 2 mile run is still required. Yes, it is a Go or No-Go event now. That being said, many Soldiers have goal times they are going after. My job as your military mentor and coach is to ensure you surpass that goal time.

What has been the longest tempo run you have done in the past? A mile? 2 miles? I would recommend working to extend that tempo run out to around 4 to 5 miles. The reason being is you will be doubling the distance you are aiming to race. Thus, it will help you psychologically and give you a huge physiological boost as well.

How Do I Prepare for the 2-Mile Army Run

Develop Your Speed

I recommend doing 1, vo2 max workout per week. You are running between 95 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate running at this type of intensity. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel too. I create new video content there each week to help runners such as yourself get to the next level. Below are some examples of vo2 max workouts I would recommend for a Soldier seeking to run under 12 minutes. Again, these are just some examples to think about

  • 1 mile warm-up, 10x400m in 1:25-1:31 with 1 to 3 minutes rest between reps (depending on the fitness of the Soldier or military member, 1 mile cool-down
  • 1 mile warm-up, 4x1mile in 5:55-6:05 with 2 to 4 minutes rest between reps (again, based on the military members’ fitness), 1 mile cool-down
  • Warm-up (1 mile), 10x200m hill sprinting all out on way up, walk down for recovery, 1 mile cool-down

Remember, training at these types of efforts will make your goal army 2 mile run time that much easier. The best middle to long distance runners are spending about 40 percent of their weekly mileage at higher anaerobic efforts. Of course, the majority of world-wide military members do not need to spend that high of a percentage training that hard. That being said, if you run to be great over the 2 mile distance you need to consider this.

Train Mentally

The vast majority of military as well as civilian athletes neglect this essential tip. The world’s best middle to long distance runners know the power of mental rehearsal. So, you need to start spending between 10 15 minutes visualizing yourself running the time you want mentally. I would recommend doing this before you get up in the morning or as you go to bed at night.

The subconscious mind, cannot tell the difference, between reality and imagination

Billy Mills, Olympic Gold Medalist, 10,000m (US Marine)

Visualize yourself running strong and confidence. More importantly, running relaxed and hearing your splits being called out at faster than your goal pace. Also, see yourself running across the finish line with a time you are focused on shown on the clock. So, you have to see yourself achieving the time you want in your mind before it can ever happen in reality. In addition, it is fun to do this. In addition, it will keep you reminded of what you are training your body and mind to do.

How Can I Get Better at 2-Mile Run in the Army?

Find a local running group to help hold you accountable

Of course, you may not always have this luxury but it does help. So, having those athletes that are as fast or faster than you to train with can help you psychologically. Remember, keep your goals in mind. Yes, you will have days where your motivation is running low. I have been there as well. That being said, maintain enthusiasm for what you are doing.

The best middle to long distance runners experience doubt from time to time. Also, a day or two off will not ruin your fitness and you will lose no fitness in this short amount of time away from the sport. Do not get comfortable though. Your goal is to run faster over the 2 mile distance. So, you have to start getting more consistent in your training. It may mean starting to run 4 days a week instead of once per week. The best and fastest 2 milers I ever trained with ran 6 to 7 days a week.

I have run 9 minutes and 27 seconds myself. No, that time didn’t happen overnight. I ran it as a collegiate athlete and 9:46 for 3200m when I was in high school. You are more than welcome to visit the about page if you would like to know more about my civilian and military background.

Pay Attention to Your Nutrition

Ensure that you are consuming enough protein and carbohydrates. I would also focus on carbo loading the week prior to your Army ACFT test. Remember, it is not so much what you eat the night before as it is the week before your Army 2 mile run. Also, if you are feeling fatigued often and it is becoming a chronic issue, consider getting a blood test done.

I would recommend checking with your provider and having your ferritin/iron levels checked. Normal levels are between 38 to 300 ng/ml. I was diagnosed with very low ferritin (borderline anemia) back in 2007 with a score of 21 ng/ml. I started to run faster times over the 2 mile to marathon distance once I got my levels between 50 to 86 ng/ml. So, keep this in mind. Hydrate well the week before your fitness test as well. Again, pay attention to the details you know the other military members in your platoon are not.

What are you doing the other hours of your day after the track or road workout is done? The best middle to long distance runners are looking at all angles.

Closing Thoughts

I hope this brief post on how to improve your Army 2 mile run time has been helpful. Make sure to check out the numerous resources available to you here at rundreamachieve. I trained with some of the world’s best middle to long distance runners.

So, I can quickly tell if someone is interested vs committed. The fact that you have read this far already tells me you have the desire to succeed over this and any distance. Remember, the end goal is to sustain pace longer than your competition. Easy running is important but will not teach you to do this. So, you need to train at or below your goal 2 mile race pace and often.

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