Combat Fitness | How to Run Faster for 2 Miles

September 4, 2022

Are you seeking how to run faster on your Army combat fitness test? If so, welcome to Nutrition Geeks. I did not see a resource online to help military members improve their cardiovascular endurance. I served over 20 years in the Army on active duty retiring in March of 2022. So, I did experience what it was like to take the Army ACFT. In addition, took countless APFT tests. I was very fortunate to have been coached by 3 of the world's top distance running coaches.

So, I created the Army combat fitness 2 mile running course. I discuss all of the top strategies and tactics that helped me to eventually run 9:27 for 2 miles. In addition, I also hold PRs of 14:18 for 5K, 50:54 for 10 miles and 2:19:35 for the marathon. My goal with this new course is to help more military members (and civilians) get similar or better results than I did. One of the biggest mistakes runners make is trying to rush their fitness.

You need to first build your aerobic base mileage. I am fine with you doing strides twice per week during your base-building phase. Strides are short, 50 to 100 meter sprints that are great for acceleration drills. In addition, perfect for warming up and getting your heart rate up. Strides also are too short to build up any large amounts of lactic acid. So, you can do these on top of your other workouts without over training.

What is Combat Fitness Training?

Combat fitness will test you both mentally and physically. Our new Army combat fitness test is a mixture of aerobic and highly anaerobic activities. The top score you can achieve on the Army ACFT is 600 points. There are 6 events and the most you can score on each is 100 points. The minimum score you need to achieve in each in order to pass is 60 points or a total score of 360.

combat fitness
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 pace for 26.2 miles)

The new Army combat fitness 2 mile running course will help to ensure you sustain goal 2 mile race pace longer. The end goal is to improve the athlete's lactate tolerance. Easy running will not produce this physiological effect. Easy running is still important. A common mistake military members as well as civilians make is running too many miles too slow. Of course, it will help you to burn fat and build endurance. That being said, you need to run a higher percentage of your weekly mileage at a higher heart rate.

The world's top runners are running between 35 to 40 percent of their weekly mileage at their anaerobic threshold of faster. We are running between 85 to 89 percent of our maximum heart rate at the anaerobic threshold. Your anaerobic threshold is the point where lactic acid begins to rise in the body. It most certainly not easy and leisurely pace.


How Do I Pass the Army ACFT?

Focus on consistent training and mileage. As mentioned above, there are 5 events you need to complete before you even run the 2 mile. So, focus on doing push-ups, medicine ball drills and strength training. The first 5 events involve a lot of explosive-type activities. I cover the importance of vo2 max training in the new ACFT Army 2 mile running course. It is so important that you train significantly faster than goal 2 mile race pace in training.

Your vo2 max is your body's maximum oxygen uptake. It is running at speeds that are so intense you can't clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. Naturally, we as athletes have to slow down or take complete breaks in between our intervals. My recommendation is to not start your next interval until your heart rate is back down to 120 beats per minute. Examples of vo2 max workouts are hill repetitions, speed intervals and fartlek training. The key is to get that goal 2 mile race pace you are aiming for to feel more manageable.

Proper pacing is another vital tactic that we have to continually work on. I always tell the athletes I coach to focus on a negative split. So, focus on running the last 4 laps of that 2 mile faster than you run the first 4 laps. I know it isn't always easy to hold back in the early stages of the event. That being said, if you are smart early on you will be rewarded later. Remember, the faster you can run 2 miles the more competitive you are going to be in longer races like the Army 10 miler.

Army Combat Fitness Test 2 Mile Run Time

My recommendation is to first spent 4 weeks running easy, aerobic mileage as mentioned above. Remember, the longer your build up the better you are going to perform on the Army ACFT test. In addition, the less of a rush you are going to be to get into great anaerobic shape. It takes the body between 21 days to 4 weeks to adapt to any stress you are placing on it. So, the real benefits of the hard training you are doing today will be seen several weeks and months from now.

Of course, most Soldiers do not have a say in the workouts they can do during morning PT. Your platoon sergeants, team leaders and platoon leaders will dictate that. That being said, you do have control of being able to run a few more miles after PT. Also, during lunch or after work. Remember, it is what you do the other hours of your day that is really going to dictate the level of success you have. Running fast over 2 miles requires consistent work. The average military member is simply not running enough or fast enough during the week. Sure, we do run a lot in the Army.

What is a Good Army 2-Mile Run Time?

The problem is just not enough running. You are not going to drop substantial time off of a 2 mile time by running once or twice per work week. Soldiers spend a lot of other time during the week doing strength training, tire flips, rope climbing, ruck marches. Of course, this will build your fitness. In fact, much of it will be extremely helpful to you in the other 5 events of the Army ACFT. That being said, it isn't going to be that much help when it comes to cardiovascular endurance and stamina.

A good Army 2 mile run time is going to vary from athlete to athlete. I believe anything under 15 minutes is a legitimate time. 7:30 mile pace is quality running. My goal with the new Army combat fitness 2 mile running course is to help runners of all ability levels to drop time. I have worked with runners who could break 9 minutes for 2 miles and others who are having problems breaking 19 minutes.

So, the goal with this new course is to teach you the tactics that the world's top runners. In addition, the fundamentals I followed in order to eventually get accepted into the Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP). You are more than welcome to visit the about page if you would like to know more about my background.


What is the Running Requirement for the Army?

The Army acft score calculator does a great job of showing you the time requirements you need to perform on the 2 mile event. In addition, the other 5 events. Remember, the faster you can perform over 2 miles the more competitive you will be at longer races. I know there are a lot of Soldiers and military members seeking to qualify for the All-Army team. Perhaps you would like to get accepted into the US Army or Air Force World Class Athlete Program (WCAP). It took me several years of hard training to get accepted into WCAP.

Once you make it on the WCAP team your full-time job is to train and race for the Army. The Air Force also has a world class athlete program as well. It is not like the All-Army or All-Air Force team where you go to the competition and then return back to your unit. You will be able to train full-time once you make it to WCAP. That being said, the standards are now insanely high in order to get accepted. I served with the Army WCAP unit from 2007-2010. You can select the sport tab, then track and field and view the running time standards you need to meet in order to get accepted.

Run Longer Tempo Runs

What has been the longest tempo run you have done in the past training for the 2 mile? Are you doing weekly tempo runs? Has the longest tempo you have done been 2 miles? 3? I would focus on extending that out to around 4 to 5 miles or 8 kilometers. Again, the longer we can spend training at the anaerobic threshold the more efficient you are going to run during your 2 mile. The main focus with doing tempo runs and speed workouts is we recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. The more of these we can recruit the more economical you are going to run.

In addition, you will be able to sustain goal race pace longer. Also, you will teach the body to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. Again, you have to be strategic in how you set up your training. The new army ACFT 2 mile running course concludes with a 16-week training plan. So, you will know the exact workouts you will need to do. In addition, why you are doing the workouts. The 16-week training plan will be custom built for your specific goal 2 mile time.

The main goal with this new running course is to get more military members setting huge, new personal bests. I want you to learn what the world's top coaches taught me. Also, to bypass the mistakes that other runners continue to make.

Jog On Recovery Days

Make sure you are jogging on easy days. There is only so many times you can push the energy systems of the body before diminished returns occur. I see far too many runners getting too overly concerned about what pace they are running on easy days. Disregard pace on recovery days. Again, you want to make sure that you are adapting to the harder, anaerobic training that you are doing. So, you have to take it easy on easy days to allot sufficient time to adapt.

My top recommendation is to consider investing in a heart rate monitor. I use the Garmin 245. It helps me to stay in the correct heart rate zones in order to not over training. Remember, it is far better to be under trained than to over exert yourself and get diminished returns on your time investment. Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time if at all possible. Hope that make sense.

Closing Thoughts

How often are you mentally training for your 2 mile? The vast majority of runners do not take this critical piece of running success into account. The world's top runners combine both mental as well as physical training together to produce superior results. You can do the same. So, start spending 10 minutes daily visualizing yourself running at the level you are dreaming about. Also, running relaxed, passing people and getting across the finish line with your goal 2 mile time on the clock.

The best time to mentally rehearse is before you go to bed at night or when you first get up in the morning. I credit mental training to my setting of personal bests from the mile (4:22) to the marathon (2:19:35). Would you like to keep in touch? If so, make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new training videos each week to help athletes such as yourself train smarter and to get better results. I look forward to hearing how this course has helped you. More importantly, how far it takes you in the longer races you compete in.


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