EDRE Mindset | How to Get Army Fit

An EDRE is an emergency deployment readiness exercise and is a term we commonly use in the military. I have participated in many EDRE exercises during my 20 year active duty career. It reminded me a lot of preparing for a race. You are either untrained or trained. There is no in between.

My aim with this post is to provide some tips for military members to get in the best physical shape. I have run 50:54 for 10 miles, 9:27 for 2 miles and 2:19:35 for the marathon. You are more than welcome to visit the about page if you would like to know more about my racing background.

So, do understand the complexities of trying to sustain race pace for your chosen distance. Racing is much like preparing for an EDRE army exercise. You have to balance out all of your resources. In addition, factor in how long it will take for you to get into your peak shape. Again, it all comes down to readiness in the end and being as prepared as you can be much like an emergency deployment readiness exercise.

What Does EDRE Stand for Military?

EDRE stands for Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise. We in the military always have to be on guard. More importantly, be prepared when it counts most. EDRE exercises do not come with any notice. Thus, military members have to make sure that their logistics are in orders. In addition, that all members of the team are communicating effectively.

Also, military personnel have to be ready and in shape both mentally and physically. I created the new ACFT Army 2 mile running course for this purpose. The fitter we are the less demanding changes at the last minute are going to be on us. 18 hours is not a long time to get ready for such an exercise. So, it requires military members to be alert, of sound mind and be very fit.

How long is an EDRE?

An edre is 18 hours long and is an exercise to test how prepared military personnel are to deploy in an emergency situation. I have created resources here to help ensure that you are in the best physical and mental fitness for one of these exercises. I didn’t see any online resources for helping to improve military members cardiovascular fitness. So, created the new Army ACFT 2 mile running course. It is comprised of 9 modules with 58 video lesson.

how to run a marathon
MAJ (ret.) Pennington finishing as the top American and in 4th place at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2:19:35 (1:07:09/1:12:26)

I cover all of the top strategies and tactics 3 of the world’s top distance running coaches taught me. I was very fortunate to have also trained and lived with some of the world’s top runners including Olympians. Physical and mental fitness is essential if you are going to participate in an EDRE. You need to be well prepared not only logistically but also be on your game mentally and physically as well.

There are many military members also preparing for their Army combat fitness test. So, wanted to create a resource that will help you to run faster, use leverage and set a new personal best over 2 miles. It was also designed for military members in other branches. Also, from other countries. You can click on any of the green buttons within this post to learn more about our resources.

EDRE Army Acronym

The EDRE Army acronym is short for Emergency deployment readiness exercise. It does not give military units much time to prepare. So, a unit that is already highly trained and capable will not have a major issue with this. Of course, all members of a military unit must communicate effectively.

Team leaders, platoon leaders as well as company, battalion, brigade and division-level commanders must be organized. The fitter the military is both mentally and physically the less of a challenge an EDRE will be on them.

What is Deployment Readiness Exercise?

A deployment readiness exercise, much like the Army ACFT, is to test how well prepared you are for a deployment. It is conducted in less than one full day. Military members need to be well-prepared logistically. In addition, need to communicate effectively in order to accomplish an EDRE. Physical fitness is critical to overall success in the military.

I spent over 20 years on active duty in the US Army. My goal with this website is to provide tools for both military as well as civilians to get into peak physical fitness. My top recommendation is to not be in a rush. I know you may have a time goal in mind for a particular race distance. I would suggest focusing on a longer build up rather than focusing on a short one. The reason being is you won’t be in a rush. The moment you try to rush in an EDRE exercise is the moment you forget necessary equipment. In addition, communication breaks down and you are less successful.

I would recommend focusing first on a 4-week aerobic build up. You want to strengthen your muscles, tendons and ligaments for the faster, anaerobic workouts you will be doing. The optimal time frame for race build up is 16 to 24 weeks.

Army EDRE Level 1

A level 1 Army EDRE is created to determine how assembled, alert and ready a military unit is with a no-notice deployment. Again, physical and mental fitness comes into play here. We, as military or former military members, need to be well-prepared and be ready to move on a moments notice. Military members are not average individuals.

We are trained to fight in all conditions and at all times. A level 1 EDRE also prepares units to formulate appointment orders, SOPs (standard operating procedures), deployment movement requests, certifications and other documents are ready as well. The Army regulation that covers this is Army Regulation 525-93.

Army EDRE Level 2

A level 2 army EDRE takes it up a notch. Level II tests the units preparation and capability to conduct load out operations. We often use transportation mock-ups in level 2 emergency deployment readiness exercise operations. There is also level 3 which focuses on movement by air or surface. Again, the entire unit’s personnel must be in the best physical and mental shape possible.

This is a no-notice operation. So, your overall physical fitness plays a major role. My job as an athletic performance coach is to help ensure military as well as civilians get in the best possible shape. Of course, you may not be preparing for an EDRE. That being said, you may be getting ready for a military race like the Army 10 miler. As mentioned above, a longer build up is better. So, focus first on building your aerobic base for at least 4 weeks. You can add in strides twice per week during this phase.

Strides are too short to build up any large amounts of lactic acid. They are short, 50 to 100 meter long sprints focused on acceleration and leg turnover. In addition, are great for warm-up drills prior to the start of your tempo runs, track intervals or long runs.


The new Army combat fitness test is comprised of 6 events. The sprint drag carry, 3 repetition maximum deadlift, standing power throw, plank test, hand release push up and the 2 mile run. The 2 mile is the last of the six events. So, you definitely have to be in great aerobic and anaerobic shape in order to perform well on the ACFT. Pace sustainment is the biggest problem I saw with military members during my career.

In addition, military members running far too aggressive in the early stages of their military physical fitness tests. The problem is they would go into oxygen debt and be forces to slow down missing out on their goal time.

I also saw other problems like wearing training shoes rather than racing flats during their fitness test. I cover the exact tactics you need to follow in order to take your running to the next level in the Army ACFT 2 mile running course. In fact, have seen many military members drop significant time off of their run times using the course.

Army ACFT Run Standards

The best way to find out the army acft run standards is to utilize the acft calculator. The maximum score you can attain on the army combat fitness test is 600 points. Again, there are 6 events and you can get up to 100 points in each. The minimum score needed to pass is 360 or 60 points in each event. One of the biggest hurdles for most military members is cardiovascular fitness. The fact that the 2 mile run is the last event makes it a major challenge.

The main reason is you are doing 5 other mainly explosive activities prior to the start of the 2 mile. So, training at a higher heart rate throughout the week is essential. Yes, you can run higher mileage but if it is too slow all you will be is a superior, long slow runner. The world’s top runners are running between 35 to 40 percent of their weekly volume at or below their anaerobic threshold. We run between 85 to 89 percent of our maximum heart rate at this intensity.

The problem is most runners are not training long enough at these efforts. So, longer tempo runs need to be worked into your schedule. The new Army ACFT 2 mile running course concludes with a 16-week training plan built specifically for your goal run time. So, I made sure to take the guess work out of your preparation using this course.

What is the ACFT 2 Mile Run Time?

You need to run low 13s in order to earn 100 points on the ACFT. 13:30 is now the time needed to run in order to achieve max points according to military.com. So, you have to train the energy systems of the body sufficiently. In addition, you also need to ensure that you are jogging on recovery days. Remember, it takes the body between 3 to 4 weeks to adapt to any stress load being placed on it. Again, a 16-week and preferably 20 to 24 week build up will ensure you are set up for success.

I have created training plans here that range in duration from 8 to 24 weeks, if interested. In addition, have running courses designed for runners training for the half marathon and marathon events. So, if you have a specific time goal in mind, definitely check those out.

I am also a big believer in longer, faster long runs. Of course, the goal is not to run the entire long run fast. Also, not run these types of long runs every weekend. My recommendation is to to alternate a faster long run one weekend followed the next with an easy relaxed long run.

Long Run Examples

Below are some examples of the types of faster, varied paced long runs I was doing prior to breaking the 2:20 marathon barrier. Of course, you won’t need to run this far for your Army ACFT 2 mile prep. The 16-week plan at the conclusion of the course has long runs ranging anywhere from 7 to 11 miles. So, much shorter. That being said, I just want you to see the differences in pacing.

  • 2 mile jog, 7 miles@5:35 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 4:55, 6 miles@6:00 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 5:15, 1 mile jog (22 miles)
  • 1 mile jog, 10 miles steady@5:40 mile pace, 2 mile jog, 2 miles@5:20 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 5 miles@5:55 mile pace, 2 mile jog (24 miles)

I would always run the following week’s long run easy at or around 9 minute mile pace. Again, recovery is key. The real benefits of the hard training you are doing today will be seen several weeks from now. So, be patient with yourself and allot sufficient time for your body to adapt to the stressors you are placing on it.

Closing Thoughts

I would love to keep in touch. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I focus on making new training and racing videos there, weekly to help runners like you earn new personal bests. How much time are you devoting to mental training? I ask that because so many runners only focus on physical preparation. You need to start spending 10 minutes daily visualizing crossing the finish line in your goal time.

Also, to train the mind as you do the body. The world’s top runners focus on both mental as well as physical training. I do credit mental rehearsal in helping me to run 2:19 for the marathon. I was doing this while still a 2:43 marathoner. The best time to do this is when you first get up in the morning or when you go to bed at night. So, whether preparing for an EDRE at the last minute, the ACFT or a road race, be as prepared physically and mentally as well as you can. I hope that this post was helpful.

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