Five Ways to Improve Your APFT 2-Mile Run Time

In today’s post, I would like to share five ways that you can improve your APFT 2-mile run time and score.  Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that most people who fail the APFT normally failed because of the run.  Of all the people I’ve personally supervised who failed the APFT, at least 90% of them failed the run!  Typically, the push-ups and sit-ups are pretty easy for most folks.

Therefore, I’d like to share a few helpful tips you can do to improve your 2-mile run.  These tips are listed in no particular order.  Let’s get started.

1)  Do Interval Training: One of the best things you can do is practice interval training.  This is when you combine sprints with jogging, running and walking.  For example, do 30 minutes of cardio and alternate the run, walk, sprint, and jogging for one minute each.  In other words, run for one minute, then walk for one minute, then jog for one minute, and then sprint for one minute.  Keep doing this for the entire 30 minute work-out.  The best thing of interval training is that it gets your heart rate up fast.  By the end of the workout you will be smoked.

2) Practice on the Track You Take the Test On: Most units take the APFT on a 1/4 mile track or on a paved road.  Therefore, you should practice and train on a track, preferably the track that your unit takes their APFT on. This will help you mentally and physically prepare for the event.  I’ve found that a lot of Soldiers simply train on the treadmill. While that is better than doing nothing at all, there is a HUGE physical difference between running on a track and running on a treadmill.  If you’re going to use a treadmill, at least mix things up and run outside half of the time.

3) Run the 2-Mile Event At Least Once a Week: Minimum once each week, run the 2-mile APFT Event and time yourself.  Keep track of your progress.  Train as you fight. Run the 8 laps around the track just like you will during the APFT.  If you don’t have access to  a track, run on the road.  This will let you monitor your progress.  Once a week is more than enough.  On your other running days, you want to mix things up with long distance running, short sprints, and other cardio workouts.

4) Train Regularly, Well Before the APFT: The major reason that people fail the 2-mile APFT Run Event is because they don’t train ahead of time.  Sometimes they don’t run at all between their annual (or 6-month) APFTs.  Don’t make that mistake.  Make a commitment to run at least 2 days a week, every week.  If you can run 3-4 times a week that is even better.  It’s a lot easier to stay in shape than it is to get in shape.

5) Run Long Distances From Time-to-Time:  Two to three times a month, or even once a week, do yourself a favor and run three to five miles (or more) all at once.  Set a nice pace that is comfortable, but challenging, and maintain it throughout the entire run.  This will help build up your cardio endurance and mix things up a little bit.

Bonus Tip: As a special bonus tip, you might even consider losing an extra 10-15 pounds.  If you need to lose some weight, do it.  It will help speed up your time and make the fun a lot more manageable (and easier on your knees).

Final Thoughts

In summary, these are five simple things you can do to improve your 2-mile run event on your next APFT.  If you are a good runner, I would love to hear from you.  Just leave a comment to this post to share some of your best APFT Training Tips concerning the 2-mile run!

If you have any questions I may be able to help you with, you can ask them below and I will do my best to answer them.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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7 thoughts on “Five Ways to Improve Your APFT 2-Mile Run Time”

  1. What would you recommend for someone 17 years of age to get an optimal time, possibly even an excelling? I currently run a 15:07 but I see others twice my age running 11:00 and under.

    1. One thing I see many doing is trying to run with long strides thinking that makes it faster when the opposite happens. I am not sure this is what is happening with you Archer, but try shortening your strides. And breathe through your nose. It can be amazing what these 2 tips can do for run times.

      Come back and let us know and we will look at some other improvement areas.

  2. Here’s how I train for my APFT run.

    Monday – Run a timed two mile run

    Wednesday – Jog for 45 to 60 minutes at the same pace (usually a 8 to 9 minute mile)

    Friday – Sprints 100 meter x 20

    This keeps me in good cardio shape and mixes up my routines. I’ve maxed my APFT run for 5+ years now so I know it works.

  3. It infuriates me to hear military members ask when they need to be physically fit. All the time, folks.

    If I were to coach a soldier over age 22 to a passing AFPT run time, I would schedule their training in this manner:
    Sunday – run 60 minutes, at an ideal pace 1-2 minutes slower than goal run time (8:00/mi for men, 9:00/mi for women). This could be on road, trail, sidewalk. Mileage: ~5mi
    Monday/Thursday – 45 minutes of speed work on the track. This would consist mostly of repetitions of 160, 200, 300, 350, or 400-meters, at aerobic pace or faster, with recovery walks of 40–to-100 meters, depending on distance. Mileage ~4mi
    Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday – run 45 minutes, at an ideal pace of no slower than 1 minute slower than goal run time.
    Wednesday – rest day. Slide the rest day to Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday if desired…but not Saturday or Monday.

    Another important thing to consider – regulation states pacing is allowed. Use it. Train and test with two other soldiers of equal fitness level. Pace each other. Why do I say two others? Life happens – illness, family, meetings. But you’re more likely going to get that workout in if there’s at least one other person who’s going to hold you accountable.

  4. Neil O'Donnell

    Mixing up cardio workouts in preparation for the 2-mile APFT Event sounds like a great way to train. I always seem to develop quicker when I change up my routines. I would definitely agree that preparing for the 2-mile run well in advance is advisable. Waiting to just before the event to practice will not only make it more painful to run the 2 miles, it may lead to serious injuries, which then cause you to fail.

    1. Changing up your routines is a great way to improve your fitness. When it comes to the 2-mile run, you should do jogging, sprinting, long distance running, interval training and other events. Mix things up whenever you can. It’s also important to actually practice doing the 2-mile run.

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