EDRE Army Fitness | Tips from a 2:19 Marathoner

October 6, 2022

Preparing for an EDRE army exercise? An EDRE is military emergency deployment readiness exercise. It basically is an 18-hour training exercise to see how fit, ready and prepared military units are to deploy. Yes, you do need to be in great physical and mental shape to get through one of these. Units also have to ensure their property books are accurate, logistics and communication are all working in unison. No slack. I retired from the US Army in March of 2022.

That being said, participated in many EDRE exercises over my 20 year active duty career. One of the best things you can do to be prepared for one of these is to be in great physical and mental shape. Emergency deployment readiness exercises (or EDRE) reminded me a lot of preparing for a race. You are either prepared or you are a soup sandwich, there is no in between. You are either trained or untrained, period.

Military teams have to be working in unison to be most effective. Of course, you also have to be ready to think for yourself and make calculated decisions under stress as well in the military. My role as a fitness coach is to get both military as well as civilians prepared to get in superior physical shape.

How Long is an EDRE?

As mentioned above, an EDRE is usually 18 hours long. The overall goal of these forms of exercises is to determine how fit and ready a military unit is to deploy, without notice. Boot camp is a similar experience. You are thrown multiple tasks all at once and the drill sergeants watch to see the trainees who quit and those who persevere. Your units readiness will determine if they succeed or fail. An EDRE is a test to see how well-prepared they are ready to deploy.

MAJ (ret.) Pennington finishing in 4th overall and top American at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2:19:35 (5:19 per mile pace for 26.2 miles)

So, one less step you'll need to take is being fit when the time arises. I have done the very best here at Nutrition Geeks to offer running resources to ensure your cardiovascular endurance is up to par. I am a former member of the US Army World Class Athlete Program. In addition, qualified for 2 world cross-country teams. I also have run 50:54 for 10 miles, 9:27 for 2 miles and 2:19:35 for the marathon.

So, share my expertise, knowledge and military background to help athletes make the next big leap in fitness. You are also free to visit the about page if you would like to know more about my racing background. Are you preparing for your Army combat fitness test?

I looked to see if there were any resources for military members online to improve their cardiovascular fitness. So, created the new Army ACFT 2 mile running course. It is comprised of 9 modules consisting of 58 video lessons. In addition, concludes with a 16-week training plan built for your specific run time.


What is Deployment Readiness Exercise?

An EDRE Army exercise which determines the overall fitness of a military unit to deploy at any given time. As mentioned above, military members are working under extreme pressure during these. We are only given 18 hours to complete the task. That being said, it is a great opportunity to communicate with your team and work as a group. In addition, ensures that everything logistically is working within your unit. Military commanders also have a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their units.

Physical fitness plays a major role in these exercises. Of course, you also have to be very organized when it comes to your equipment as well. I started this site and our sister site, rundreamachieve.com, to serve other people. More importantly, to provide tips to help runners from around the world get fitter and run faster. Remember, the best thing you can do to prepare for an EDRE is to be in the best physical shape, possible.

Do you have a specific race time or distance you are training for? Would you like to run faster on the Army ACFT? If so, I hope that this post will be helpful. I always tell my athletes to not be in a rush. It takes the body between 3 to 4 weeks to adapt to any stress load being placed on it. So, a longer training build up is better than a short training block. My top recommendation is to run relaxed and aerobic for 4 weeks. Of course, you can add in strides 2 to 3 times per week.

Strides are short, 50 to 100 meter sprints. The good news is that you won't build up any large amounts of lactic acid. Also, you can work on your acceleration and leg turnover by doing these.

EDRE Army Levels

There are 3 army emergency deployment readiness exercise levels. The Army Regulation which covers the EDRE operations is Army Regulation 535-93. EDRE Army level 1 determines how alert, ready and capable a military unit is to deploy. Again, your physical and mental fitness is going to play a large role in your success. Of course, you can't control the fitness level of your teammates. All you can do is to be in the best possible shape for them. Also, be ready to step up when it counts.

EDRE exercises are largely about logistical organization. That being said, you and your team also have to be well-prepared physically and mentally. 18 hours is not a lot of time to get large vessels and equipment and other items in order. I have the utmost respect for military members not only in the united States of America but around the world. We are not trained in average ways.

Athletes that visit this site are also not average individuals. People such as yourself are highly disciplined, motivated and seeking excellence. My job as a fitness coach is to ensure that you get results. I have created running courses, training plans and offer monthly coaching. The end goal is to help you to use leverage and get better results.


Army EDRE Level 2

Army emergency deployment readiness level 2 take the demand on you and your unit to a new level. Load out operations are the main focal point of Army EDRE level 2. Level 3 focuses on how well you and your team are to deploy your vehicles. Surface and air operations come into play during level 3. Again, you and your team also have to be in great mental and physical shape.

Never wait for an emergency or a no-notice operation like an EDRE to get into physical shape. As mentioned above, cardiovascular endurance is so important. I always tell my athletes to focus on a longer build up. You may be training for the Army 10 miler or preparing for the Army ACFT. Regardless which, focus on leverage is key. Higher mileage is not a guarantee you will set a new personal best.

I was very fortunate to have been trained and mentored by 3 of the world's top distance running coaches. In addition, trained with world-class runners including olympics. LTC Dan Browne, 2-time Olympian, was my teammate while I was assigned to the Army World Class Athlete Program.

Army Combat Fitness Test

I created the Army ACFT 2 mile running course to help more military members run faster times. I saw far too many runners doing it wrong while I was serving in the Army. Pace sustainment is one of the biggest challenges for most runners. The key tactic is to improve the body's lactate tolerance. Remember, it takes about 4 weeks for the body to adapt to the stresses being placed on it. So, a longer build of of 16 to 24 weeks is the optimal time frame to prepare.

What has been the distance of your tempo runs in the past for your races? I ask that because many runners don't spend enough time training at their anaerobic threshold. We run between 85 to 89% of our maximum heart rate running at this intensity. Remember, we race right around this intensity during our races. So, it is essential to start lengthening the duration of your AT runs.

The training plans and running courses I created help to take the guess work out of your preparation. You'll know what workouts are needed. More importantly, why you are doing them.

Army ACFT Run Standards

The best recommendation I can make is to first find your run standards using the army acft calculator. Once you have done that then start focusing on training to sustain that pace. Longer tempo runs is one strategy. Also, doing 1, vo2 max workout per week. Speed development is vital to get your goal race pace to feel easier. Remember, the faster we run the more oxygen is required. So, training at faster paces will test you both mentally as well as physically.

We run between 95 to 105% of our maximum heart rate at vo2 max effort. A good recommendation is to consider investing in a heart rate monitor. It will help you to ensure you don't over train. Also, you can focus on running at the proper intensities. I use the Garmin 245 regularly. I like it cause I get to focus on heart rate rather than pace. The fitter you get the faster your paces and splits will be anyway. So, focusing on heart rate monitor training will make you a better prepared runner.

Also, running at faster paces helps us recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. The more of these we can recruit the more efficient we will race. Examples of vo2 max workouts are hill sprints, farleks and track or road intervals. We are running so fast during these workouts we can't clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. So, we have to stop and take short breaks in between intervals.

What is the ACFT 2 Mile Run Time?

It all comes down to the goal of the athlete. Is your goal to get the minimum score? if so, you need 360 points or 60 points in each of the 6 events. The max time needed to earn 100 or maximum points is around 13:30 for the 2-mile. Are you a member of another branch of the military such as the US Marines, Coast Guard or Air Force? Are you in the Navy or a member of a foreign military? If so, I designed the new Army ACFT 2 mile running course for you as well.

In fact, it is also a perfect course for civilians. It was built help members of all branches run faster from the mile (1.6km) to the 4 mile distance. Proper pacing is also mandatory if you are going to drop substantial time off your current personal best. Improper pacing is a race killer.

So, be patient in your race. My top recommendation is to focus on running a negative split. Run the second half of your race distance faster than you run the first half. I don't want you going into oxygen debt early and ruining your finish time. You also can't be in a rush when participating in an EDRE Army exercise either. So, be smart in your planning and the way you race. Click on any of the green buttons on this post to learn more about our fitness resources.

Tips To Run Faster

Jog on those recovery days. Google the word “supercompensation”. The real benefits of our hard training come from within the rest period. Remember, there is only so many times you can stress the energy systems of the body. You don't want diminished returns on your time investment. Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time. Unfortunately, we rarely get this right. So, make sure to run very easy on your recovery days.

Longer, faster long runs are also essential. I dropped 21 minutes off my marathon best using this tactic. Below are some examples of the types of varied paced long runs I would do. I recommend alernating a faster long run one weekend with an easy, relaxed long run the next. Again, adaptation is essential. You will adapt if you train properly and accordingly.

  • 1 mile jog, 6 miles@5:25 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 7 miles@6:05 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 4:55, 3 miles easy (22 miles)
  • 2 mile jog, 8 miles@5:35 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 2 miles@5:20 mile pace, 6 miles@5:55 mile pace, 2 mile jog (22 miles)

I would run around 9 minute mile pace on my following week's long run. Of course, you don't need to run this far for your Army ACFT test. So, you can adjust the distance. I just wanted you to see the variation in paces. So, don't run long and slow every single weekend. It will only make you a superior long, slow runner.

Closing Thoughts

I hope that this post on the EDRE Army exercise has been insightful. In addition, you are now better equipped to improve your cardiovascular fitness. I would love to keep in touch. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I focus on making 2 new videos there weekly to help runners such as yourself get to the next level.

Are you paying attention to mental training? If not, now is the time to start visualizing youself succeeding. I see far too many runners only focusing on physical preparation. The world's top runners combine them both to produce world-class results.

The best to rehearse is when you first get up in the morning or when going to bed at night. You don't have to do this more than 10 minutes daily. So, see yourself getting across the finish line in your goal time. Mental training should be a part of every focused athlete's routine. You need to train the mind just as you train the body. Keep me updated on your progress at the RDA YouTube channel. I look forward to hearing how the resources mentioned in this post helped you get a new personal best.


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