PT Test for the Air Force | Run a Faster 1.5 Mile

Are you seeking to run faster on your PT test for the Air Force? If so, I am glad you are here as I know the information contained within the Army ACFT 2 mile course is going to help you. My goal was to create a running course specifically for military members to help them set new personal bests. The biggest hindrance for most military members is pace sustainment. Have you ever went out too fast during your 1.5 mile run and paid for it in the last few laps?

I did that earlier in my running and military career and made sure to correct it. I have run 9:27 for the 2-mile, 14:18 for 5K and 2:19:35 for the marathon. Of course, these times didn’t happen overnight. I was able to run faster over various distances having studied from and been mentored by some of the world’s top running coaches. Furthermore, I cover the exact strategies I used to eventually get accepted into the US Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) in this course. Did you know the Air Force also has a World Class Athlete Program?

Remember, the faster you run over 1.5 miles the better you are going to be over the longer distances. The first mistake I saw many Soldiers making prior to me retiring from the Army in March of 2022 was not running enough. Sure, we would run once or twice per week during more PT. You can’t run faster over 1.5 miles (Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard), 2 miles (Army) or 3 miles (Marines) by running a couple times a week. Again, the key is to improve the body’s lactate tolerance. Easy running will not produce this physiological effect.

How Far is the Air Force PT Test Run?

The Air Force focuses on the 1.5 mile distance or 6 laps around the track. I often get asked if this course can help members of other branches of the military. The answer is most definitely, yes. In fact, I am certain that if you follow the fundamentals covered in the course significant time will be cut off your current personal best.

Air Force PT test 2022
MAJ (ret.) Pennington finishing as the top American and in 4th place at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2:19:35 (5:19 per mile for 26.2 miles)

I would highly recommend focusing on a 4-week base-building phase first. The reason is you don’t want to get injured. In addition, you need to strengthen the muscles, ligaments and joints of your body. I saw far too many military members doing sprints and faster runs before they were prepared to do so. Of course, you don’t always have control of the PT you will do in the morning. Your military leaders have their morning PT schedule.

That being said, you do have control of putting in extra miles during lunch. Also, after work if your time doesn’t permit you do so. I have done this countless of times during my time in the Army. The key tactic throughout this new course is to help you to use leverage. Leverage simply means doing more with less. Higher mileage is not always a guarantee that you will run faster. You can up your mileage but it if it spent at too easy of paces how does that prepare you?

What are the PT Requirements for Air Force?

The requirements for the PT test for the Air Force is scoring 75 points on the test. The 3 events are the 1.5 mile run, push ups and sit ups. Of course, if you are in the Air Force I am sure you already know this. That being said, most of my visitors and readers are civilians. Below is the Air Fore PT chart to give you an overview of what times you need to run to pass.

I would recommend start doing strides twice per week during your easy runs. Strides are short. 50 to 100 meter sprints that will help you improve you form. In addition, these are great warm up drills prior to the start of your speed workouts, tempo runs and long runs. What is powerful about doing strides? You will have spent several miles or kilometers at near sprint paces over a 16-week training build up.

The result is your goal 1.5 mile race pace will feel easier. The reason we do speed workouts and hill repetitions is they help us recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. Easy running will not produce this physiological adaptation. Yes, easy running is still essential in order to succeed in running regardless of distance. The reason being is all of the benefits of your hard training will come from within the rest cycle.

Run Longer

How much stronger do you think you’d be on this test if you were consistently doing long runs. Perhaps you have been. A lot of times the problem can be simply you need to train at higher intensities. Again, running easy anyone can do. Running fast is an art form. So, you have to follow the tactics and strategies the world’s top runner use. I made sure to cover these in-depth in this course.

average half marathon time
MAJ (ret.) Pennington finishing in a new PR of 1:07:06 at the 2007 Philadelphia Half Marathon (5:07 per mile for 13.1 miles)

No, I didn’t have a lot of talent. What I did have was an unmatched work ethic. You have that as well. The focus now is to ensure that you put what you will learn in this course to work. No, it easy going to be easy. Remember, this is a new style of training I cover in this course.

For example, varying the intensities of your long runs. The vast majority of athletes are spending their long run effort at too aerobic of an effort. The best runner are mixing up the paces. I used this strategy to lower my personal best for the marathon from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35.

Longer Tempo Runs

An additional way to run faster on your PT test for the Air Force is longer tempo runs. The best way to sustain pace longer is longer durations running at our anaerobic threshold. We are running between 85 to 89 percent of max heart rate at this intensity. Again, easy running is important but won’t help when you go to run all out. So, you have to aim to gradually lengthen the distance of your tempo runs.

I recommend aiming to lengthen out to around 4 to 5 miles. How much easier is that 1.5 mile run going to feel if you do this? Remember, everything hurts at first. The best athletes have to get into superior shape too. We definitely hurt just as much as any other athlete when out of shape. Again, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress load being placed on it.

So, you have to first adapt to doing a 2 mile tempo run before you can focus on longer. Patience is key. You cannot rush fitness. The good news is the body always adapt.

Speed Development

The 1.5 mile run is a highly anaerobic event. So, you will most certainly have to focus on training at your vo2 max. We are running between 95 to 100 percent of our Vo2 max. Your vo2 max is your body’s maximum oxygen uptake. It is running at such high intensities that you can’t clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. Yes, speed workouts hurt. That being said, they recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers.

The more of these we can recruit the more efficient we will run. In addition, your 1.5 mile race pace will no longer feel quite as intimidating to you. We focus on doing 1, vo2 max workout per week in this course. Examples of Vo2 max workouts could be fartlek training, hill repetitions or intervals on the roads or tracks.

Closing Thoughts

Would you like to keep in touch? Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. My goal with that channel is to create at least 2 new videos each week. I want to give back to the sport that has given so much to me. More importantly, to see military as well as civilians setting new personal bests in their chosen events.

This post is just a brief overview of what is contained in the course. The Army ACFT 2 mile running course consists of 9 modules and has 58 video lessons in it. Lastly, it concludes with a 16-week training plan to help ensure that you are set up for success on your PT test for the Air Force.

I look forward to interviewing you after you complete the course and the training. Also, sharing your story on the YouTube channel, pending your willingness to share it.

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