Welcome to the LAST installment of the Forager Fitness ACFT Series! This week we dissect the event that underwent the least amount of change when compared to the APFT. The 2 mile run. If you missed any of the other event articles, DON’T WORRY! Links can be found below!
The 2-Mile Run
The same ol 2-mile run, just like in the old APFT. On the bright side, the standards let up a bit (depending on your age). To max, you only have to run a 13:30!!! …still sucks.
The planning considerations for this is that you had 5 other events before it that worked several muscle groups. You had a few different energy systems taxed, to include the anaerobic threshold you may have achieved during the SDC. Legs might be sore, calves may be tight, and your heart rate may be elevated. This is all good to know so we can shape training around this scenario.
With that known, several training methods can help improve your 2-mile run and/or make it less painful in the end. These training plans consist of Long, Slow, Distance (LSD Runs), Moderate duration runs with surges, and high-intensity intervals.
Learn to love running by running a slow comfortable pace while simultaneously getting time under tension and miles under your belt. Doing this through LSD runs are the hidden gem to a successful 2-mile improvement. This is the realm of running that many fall in love with. Have you ever been perplexed by people that get runner’s high? Ever thought to yourself, “this shit sucks…how do people love this?”
It’s quite possible that you haven’t brought down the pace enough to enjoy the actual beauty of running. LSD gives your body/mind the opportunity to enjoy the views, get to know your pace and thresholds, and allows you to get a substantial amount of distance under your belt. Dialing the pace down has been shown to increase positive views of running. Get out there with your favorite playlist or podcast and enjoy the world around you.
Also consider moderate duration runs that are a little faster than your LSD run, and have short bouts of increased speeds in the form of intervals. This will REALLY improve your heart rate’s ability to recover during activity.
Next, frequently hit high-intensity interval runs. The most common form of these are repeats: 400m repeats, 800m repeats, even 1600m repeats (though you start to lose a bit of intensity at this distance). These will help get you more comfortable with running fast and make your 2-mile pace seem slower and more comfortable.
This aspect of training is more important than it was with the prior APFT. Reason being is that during the ACFT, when you get to the 2-mile run, your muscles and energy systems have been taxed far more than the APFT. At the cellular and tissue level, you’ve used more energy, thus more metabolic waste products have been made causing your heart and respiration rate to be elevated somewhat. This means that your ability to recover quickly is imperative; that is the goal with high intensity intervals. Run fast, get the legs used to the speed, and then eventually shorten the time it takes to recover for the next interval.
Lastly, lets try to avoid injury in training. This is something that I see in the emergency room daily. The effects of bad running form, over training, and under recovery. What I see most are knee injuries in some form of patellar-femoral syndrome and shin splints. Patellar-femoral syndrome, or jumper’s knee can be seen when a runner increases their distance or time under tension too quickly. If you need to improve your 2-mile run time, make sure your training doesn’t add too much distance and/or intensity too quickly. Allow time for your body to adjust. See the awesome video on patellar-tendonitis from Squat University below!
Next up in regards to injury prevention is shin-splints. We’ve all had them. Commonly, among my patients I see a few things that result in this nagging injury that can progress to stress fractures of the tibia bone. 1.) Poor running shoes in regard to design and condition, 2.) high body mass/weight and 3.) (like stated above) too much distance.intensity too quickly in training. Check out this post in regards to Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) more commonly referred to as shinsplints, for a reference.
Accessory Focus for the 2-Mile Run
1. Time under tension (aka. Run more/LSD). Lol
2. Repeats. Usually try to run a collective 2-mile (i.e. 400m x 8, 800m x 4)
3. Mixed monostructural training
-This includes rowing, assault bike, swimming. Anything that targets your overall endurance. These all carryover to the 2 mile run.
4. Mobility, mobility, mobility
– Please, for the love of god, take care of your self when increasing your mileage and/or intensity. Take time to achieve full ROM in the hips, knees, ankles, and make sure your are taking care of your lower back.
Let us know what you think! We appreciate the read. Please subscribe to the blog, and the Forager Fitness Twitch and YouTube channels. We can be reached for individual training support at ForagerFitness@outlook.com. We appreciate the support!
-Rob and Nik