Army 2 Mile Run | Tips from a 2:19 Marathoner

Are you seeking some new tactics to lower your Army 2 mile run time? If so, I am happy you have arrived here to RunDreamAchieve. I served just over 20 years on active duty in the US Army and understand the Soldier life. That being said, you have to think outside the box in order to run 8 laps faster. In addition, get beyond quantity and focus more on quality work. The end goal is to improve the body’s lactate tolerance and sustain 2 mile race pace longer.

A major mistake I saw a lot of Soldiers making while I was still in was doing their 2 mile in training shoes. One quick way to running a faster time is to get a pair of racing flats. Of course, racing flats on an untrained Soldier will do you know good either. Yes, you need to build easy, aerobic base mileage. In addition, focus on developing your raw leg speed too. The 2 mile is a highly anaerobic event. So, speed is what matters most.

Easy running will burn fat and build endurance. What it won’t do it recruit fast twitch muscle fibers like vo2 max workouts can. My top recommendations for racing flats to consider are the Nike Next%, On Running Cloudechoboom shoes.

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

The Army ACFT 2 mile run standards don’t have to be intimidating. Again, if you change up your tactics, the paces you once thought were tough will feel more moderate. The best middle to long distance runners in the world spend about 40 percent of their weekly volume running at anaerobic efforts. Why do they make it look so easy? Well, they spend more time training at much higher intensity during the week.

What has been the longest run you have done in the past? How consistent have you been with your training? Do you think you are running enough? What has been the main reason you have not sustained your goal Army 2 mile run race pace for the entire 8 laps? Be honest. The problem I saw was most Soldiers are not running enough. In addition, rushing their fitness due to improper work loads.

How can a Soldier be expected to do sprints or run at faster paces when no attention been placed on aerobic, base mileage first? The result is you have Soldiers struggling to keep pace with their groups. Yes, there are pace groups as you all know but we also still see Soldiers falling out or having to walk.

Army 2-Mile Run Standards Female

Female Soldiers in the US Army have their standards to meet as do the males. Again, the same principle applies. The body always adapts to the stresses that you place on it. Also, it takes between 21 days to 4 weeks to physiologically adapt. So, both female as well as male Soldiers have to be patient with their fitness. I have training plans here at rundreamachieve for athletes seeking to run faster from the mile to the 50K distance.

acft 2 mile run standards

I recommend a minimum of 12 weeks and up to 20 weeks to fully prepare properly to run a new personal best over 2 miles. Again, you can try to rush your fitness without a plan but it may be problematic for you. Above are the army ACFT 2MR standards females as well as males need to sustain. Of course, you can always go for average and aim for 60 points. The second option is to go for great and aim for 100 points.

How Can I Improve my 2 Mile Run in the Army?

Build Foundational Miles First

I would recommend doing 3 to 4 weeks of easy, relaxed, aerobic running. One, you will be burning fat and building endurance. Secondly, you will strengthen your tendons, ligaments and muscles for when the really hard training begins. You may want to invest in a heart rate monitor. I have used heart rate monitor training for the past 25 years of competing. A legitimate heart rate monitor like the Garmin 245 will ensure you are running at the proper intensities.

As mentioned above, make sure you get a pair of racing flats on your feet for your next 2 mile run. Remember, there are several other events before the ACFT 2MR. So, build your aerobic base mileage first and be consistent about it.

Again, there are 2 mile training plans so consider investing in one. Yes, you may not be able to control your own PT during morning mandatory “fun” fitness formations. That being said, you can control what type of training you are doing the rest of the week as it pertains to running.

Run More Miles

A common problem for many Soldiers is that they simply run out of gas. Yes, they can sustain 2 mile race pace for 2 to 5 laps but really struggle in the latter stages of the 2 mile run. A common reason is not enough emphasis has been place on building endurance. How many days a week are you consistently running? Be honest with yourself. Now, do you think if you fully committed to this how much time you would be able to drop?

3 hour marathon pace
MAJ(ret.)Pennington finished in 4th place and as the top American at the 2007 California International Marathon with a USA Track and Field Olympic Trials “A” standard time of 2:19:35 (5:19 per mile pace for 26.2 miles)

Will running once or twice per week only when told to help you sustain pace better in the ACFT 2 mile run? I don’t think so. You are more than welcome to visit the about page if you would like to know more about my military and racing background. I’m not your average Soldier. So, you will get tough love from me here. I won’t sugarcoat this. It is your choice whether you desire to maintain average or seek and desire greatness. Greatness requires far more than the status quo.

Faster Long Runs

I used this tactic to lower my marathon best from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35. In addition, my 5K PR down to 14:18 and 10 mile best to 50:54. Faster, varied paced long runs will help you improve you body’s lactate tolerance. In addition, it works whether training for the mile or 2-mile events as well. Again, quality training matters most, not just volume. You could be running 80 miles a week and a Soldier putting in 20 could outrun you.

Why? Strategy. Mileage conducted aerobically too often will only make you a superior, long, slow runner. The aim here to train the body to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. So, you won’t want to run slow and long every single weekend. The running courses I teach, training plans I created and the way I coach revolves around this approach. Also, you always follow a faster, varied paced long run with an easy relaxed long run the following week.

The reason being is the benefits of your training come from within the rest period. Do yourself a favor and google the word “supercompensation”. You now have more knowledge than most of your military leadership unless they are exercise physiologists or well-versed in kinesiology or physiology. Read up on this. It is critical that you…

JOG on Easy Days

A common mistake many Soldiers make is running too fast on days they really need to be running easy. Also, running far too aggressive on their hard days. For example, if you have a tempo run planned and you do the first mile 30 seconds faster than goal race pace and blow up. You don’t want to go into oxygen debt too early during the 2 mile event.

Pacing is essential to run and finish your ACFT 2MR in a personal best time. Again, plan your work and work your plan. Don’t just guess of what workouts you need to do each day. Unfortunately, most Soldiers are required to attend mandatory morning PT.

They have someone else telling them how to think and what workouts to do. Of course, if you take this seriously and consistently do well on your ACFT you may get the opportunity to train on your own in the mornings. You may not have control of what type of run workouts you do in the morning. So, do your best to deal with it in the AM. That being said, you have the PM to put in some additional miles. Make sure you are running easy enough to recover from the harder, anaerobic running you are doing.

Train Longer at Your Anaerobic Threshold

What has been the farthest you have run for your tempo run? Does your unit have you do tempo runs in the morning? Do you feel like your platoon training is more heavily focused on ruck marches, flipping tires and climbing ropes instead? Don’t worry, I have been there myself. The good news is you can do all that hot mess and still be a better runner.

Again, what are you doing the other hours of your day? Are you choosing to run just enough to get by or do you really want to be better at the 2 mile (or longer) distance? If so, you need to spend more time training at the anaerobic threshold. Your anaerobic threshold is the point when lactic acid starts to build up in your body. You are running between 85 to 88 percent of your maximum heart rate running at this intensity.

Yes, it will be difficult running 2 miles at tempo effort when you are not in great shape. Again, the body always adapts so be patient during your 12 to 20 week build up. Check out the 2-mile training plans we have here at rundreamachieve. So, as you get fitter move from 2-3 mile tempos out more toward 4 to 5 mile tempo runs.

Develop Your Speed

The best sprinters, middle and long distance runners never fail to develop their speed workouts. Speed is what matters most in the 2 mile distance. Again, it is a highly anaerobic event. So, you need to build your endurance by running easy consistently throughout the week. In addition, you need to train at your Vo2 max once per week.

Your Vo2 max is your body’s maximum oxygen uptake. It is running so fast that you can’t clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. Naturally, we need to take breaks between speed intervals on the roads or track. The key tactic here is you are running at significantly faster paces than you will be during your 2 mile run. Also, the benefit of Vo2 max workouts is they will help make your goal Army 2 mile run pace to feel that much easier.

Closing Thoughts

Are you feeling fatigued on a routine basis? I would recommend going to your base hospital and consider getting a blood test done. Find out what your current iron/ferritin level is. Normal ranges are from 38 to 300 ng/ml. I was diagnosed with borderline anemia back in 2007 when my scores were at 21ng/ml. I was not hitting the splits I knew I was capable of and running less than standard.

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

Billy Mills, 10,000m Gold Medalist, US Marine

A remedy to increase your ferritin levels is to take a 65mg iron tablet daily with orange juice. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron more readily into the body. Lastly, make sure to introduce mental training into your 2 mile preparation. The majority of Soldiers are only focused on physical training. Don’t worry, civilian athletes miss this as well. National class and world-class runners use both mental as well as physical training to get ready for their races.

The majority focus only on physical training. So, start spending 10 minutes day with your eyes clothes and seeing yourself performing at a high level. I used this tactic throughout my career which helped me to materialize what I wanted as an athlete. Do not neglect this tactic. I hope this post has been helpful to you. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I created new videos there each week to help both military and civilian athletes surpass their goals.

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