Army Run | Tips from a 2:19 Marathoner

September 3, 2022

Are you preparing for the Army run in Canada? Perhaps you are seeking to run in the Army 10 miler. Are you training for the Army ACFT 2 mile run? If so, welcome to Nutrition Geeks. Pace sustainment is the biggest hurdle for most runners, myself included. My goal with this post is to share with you some running tips and strategies that helped me. In addition, some other resources that may be of interest to you. I have run 14:18 for 5K, 31:09 for 10K, 50:54 for 10 miles and 2:19:35 for the marathon. So, I do understand what works and what doesn't work when it comes to racing over various distances.

A common mistake we make as runners is running too many miles or kilometers at too aerobic of a base. Higher mileage is not always a guarantee that you will get better results. You can be running 100 miles a week and still never hit your time goal. Why does this occur? Insufficient stress on the energy systems of the body. The world's top middle to long distance runners run between 35 to 40 percent of their weekly mileage at or below their anaerobic threshold.

Our anaerobic threshold is running at 85 to 89 percent of maximum heart rate. I would highly recommend investing in a heart rate monitor. I use the Garmin 245. It helps me to stay in the correct heart rate zones. In addition, ensuring that I am running at the proper intensities.

Army Run Requirements

You may be training for the Army ACFT test, aiming to run the Army ten miler or the army run in Canada. So, the tactics to run faster on the 2 mile event in the ACFT to the 10 mile distance are universal. The overall goal is to improve your body's lactate tolerance. In addition, to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers via speed training. Remember, the more of these we can recruit the more effective we are going to race from the mile to the marathon.

MAJ (ret.) Pennington finishing as the top American and in 4th place at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2:19:35

I didn't see an online resource for military members training for their physical fitness tests. So, I created the Army ACFT Embrace the Suck 2 mile course. I have run 9:27 for 2 miles and have also run 1:07:06 for the half-marathon. So, the main focus behind this course is to teach the tactics I used that were taught to me by 3 of the world's top distance running coaches. My top recommendation regardless if you are training for ACFT, Canada Army Run event or the Army 10 miler is build a strong foundation. Easy, aerobic mileage should be your main focus for at least 4 weeks during your initial build up.


Army Run Time ACFT

I am fine with you doing strides twice per week as well. Strides are short, 50 to 100 meter long accelerations. Strides are also great for practicing your form and getting your heart rate up prior to harder workouts. In addition, they are too short to build up any significant amounts of lactic acid. So, you can do these drills on top of your weekly training without getting fatigued. Also, you will have spent several miles or kilometers at sprint paces over a 16 to 20 week training build up.

Of course, you may not have control of the amount of running you can do in the morning during morning PT. I spent a lot of time on military bases. In fact, spent over 20 years on active duty in the US Army. That being said, you do have control of running more after PT is over with. In addition, during lunch or after work. It is very hard to improve upon your army run time by running just enough to get by. Are you seeking to be average or great? The fact that you have read this far tells me you are seeking excellence.

Focus on a Longer Build Up

Remember, the longer your build up the better chance you are going to have at getting peak shape. It is very hard to get in superior anaerobic shape in a matter of 4 weeks. My top recommendation is to train for a minimum of 16 weeks and preferably 20 to 24 weeks for distances from the 2 mile to marathon.

The reason being is you won't be rushing your fitness. You will allot sufficient time between each hard, anaerobic workout you do in order to adapt. It takes the body between 21 days to 4 weeks to adapt to any stress you are placing on it.

How Can I Improve my ACFT Run Time?

The same way you improve over longer distances. You practice running at or below your goal race pace more often and on a consistent basis. The new Army ACFT 2 mile running course I created concludes with a custom-built, 16-week training plan. In addition, features 9 modules which consist of 58 video lessons. I literally cover every tactic and strategy I was taught to eventually run at the elite level. My goal for you is to produce similar to better results than I did in my running career.

You are welcome to visit the about page if you would like to know more about my background. Make sure you are watching your pacing whether for the 2 mile army run or preparing for the Canadian army run in Ottawa. The same goes for any distance. There are far too many runners who go into oxygen debt too early in their races. The result is they are forced to slow down and they miss their goal time.


Do Longer Tempo Runs

As mentioned previously, the longer you can spend running at your anaerobic threshold, the better. The reason is you are improving your body's ability to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. The only way to do this is by running at faster, anaerobic efforts. Of course, easy running at aerobic paces is also vital. There is only so many times you can stress the energy systems of the body before you start to see diminished returns.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time. My goal in creating all of my running courses and training plans is to set you up for success. Also, to bypass the mistakes many military members as well as civilians are making. Below are the optimal tempo run durations you need to be focused on for the listed distances.

  • 2 miles: 4 to 5 miles (8km)
  • 5K: 4 to 5 miles
  • 10K: 5 to 7 miles
  • Half-marathon: 8 to 10 miles(16km)
  • Marathon: 10-12 miles

How Fast Do You Have to Run 2 Miles in the Army?

The minimum score Soldiers need to hit on the ACFT is 60 points in each of the 6 events. So, 360 is the bare minimum in order to pass. Of course, 600 points is the maximum score. Remember, the higher you score can also assist you with promotion points if you are an enlisted Soldier. I enlisted into the US Army in 2002 as a Specialist. I departed for Officer Candidate School as Fort Benning, GA as a Sergeant. Lastly, I retired from the US Army in March of 2022 at the rank of Major.

So, I understand what our enlisted and commissioned officers deal with when it comes to being in great shape. No, superior results won't occur overnight. You need to think outside the box and follow a different strategy to make massive gains from the 2 mile to marathon distances. The Canadian army run have a 5K and 10K event they hold each year in Ottawa. Perhaps that is the race you are preparing for. I have done my best here at as well as at to create resources to help runners.

Again, I want athletes to work smarter rather than harder. I have know many hard working runners who still never met their time goals. So, a new strategy focused on quality training coupled with adequate recovery is essential. You are not going to make massive gains on your army run time by doing average work.

Closing Thoughts

How much time each week are you devoting to mental training? I ask that because the vast majority of runners neglect this critical piece of running success. They are really only doing 50% of the work focusing only on physical training. The world's top runners focus both on mental as well as physical training. So, start spending 10 minutes daily visualizing yourself running at the level you are dreaming about. In addition, running relaxed, passing people and crossing the finish line in your goal time.

Again, you may be training for the ACFT army run, Canadian army run event or the Army ten miler. Regardless, focus on staying as relaxed as you can during training. Remember, the world's top sprinters to long distance runners always look relaxed at maximal effort. We can practice this over time. The less amount of muscular or mental tension the better your athletic performance is going to be. I cover several other topics and strategies in the new Army ACFT 2 mile running course.

Would you like to keep in touch? If so, make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. My aim is to create new training and racing videos there each week. Also, to help runners such as yourself surpass your fitness and racing goals. I look forward to interviewing you about your new personal best. Lastly, I hope that this post has been helpful to you.


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