Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Feb. 19, 2016

Of all the events that make up the Army Combat Fitness Test, the two-mile run generally causes soldiers the most grief. That’s because you can be in great shape but still consistently fall short of your goals. If you really want to crush your next Army Combat Fitness Test, you have to train for the two-mile as if it were an Olympic event. Which is why we asked Derrick Adkins to offer up some pro-level advice for soldiers looking to drop their two-mile run time.

Adkins won the gold medal for 400-meter hurdles at the 1996 Olympics and now trains coaches and professional athletes competing in endurance events.

“If you’re running a 15-minute two-mile right now and you want to take it down to 14 minutes, you could do that in two to three weeks,” Adkins told Task & Purpose. “But if you do this for six to eight weeks, I’d say you can take that 15 minutes down to 13.”

We’ll take it.

Buy good running shoes.

“Having the right shoes makes a big difference when you’re trying to do something like this,” says Adkins. “I recommend going to a specialty running shop instead of a big sports store. At these shops, the sales people are more than sales people; they’re experts who will look at your foot, your arches, and how you walk to find the right shoe for you.”




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