PT365 Run Plans

PT365_runplan_logoIf you’re looking for a running coach, there’s probably nobody better than Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. (Dr.) Mark Cucuzzella.

He’s a physician, knows what’s what with the military’s PT tests – and is wicked fast. How fast? The 47-year-old still regularly clocks sub-3-hour marathons.

And now, with our PT365 Run Plans, he can be your coach, too.

Below, we’ll outline three training plans from “Dr. Mark”: a 5K plan that even non-runners can follow, plus half-marathon and full marathon plans for experienced runners. Each will include the science behind the plans, training tips and pitfalls to avoid. Be sure to check back here for extra videos, advice and blog posts from our runners.

There’s a plan for almost everyone, whether you’re trying to get back in shape after time off or training to finish an injury-free marathon.

Think of us as your virtual training group. We’re targeting the Marine Corps Marathon, but these plans will work for any race. We’ll provide the training plans – you bring the motivation.

Come train with us. It’ll be fun.

 The charts

5k plans-1halfmarathon plans-1marathon plans-1

5K & Beyond plan | Half-marathon plan | Marathon plan

Click to open PDF in a new window.

Principles of Efficient Running

Consider this your primer on the Run Plans — a little bit of background to understand the methodology behind the charts. Don’t be overwhelmed though, it boils down to: Have fun, be smart and be patient.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Need to Know

These drills and types of runs are the foundation of the training plans, so be sure to get familiar with them before you jump into training.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Video | Drills


These drills from Dr. Mark are designed to make you a quicker, stronger and more efficient runner. They first develop coordination through repetition of correct movement. As you progress, they add strength and mobility. Like sprints, this should be fun and a bit challenging! Watch them here.

5 yoga poses to complement your runs

You don’t have to go to a yoga class to reap the benefits the practice can provide. There are many poses you can incorporate into your running routine that will increase strength and flexibility as well as help prevent injuries. Read about five of those poses here.


The short long run

Since we published our PT365 Run Plans back in June we’ve been answering the same question: No, that’s not a mistake, the marathon plan’s longest run is just two or three hours. Really. Two hours. But how can you finish a successful marathon with just a 2-hour long run? Run Plan author Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. (Dr.) Mark Cucuzzella explains.

Give blisters the rub


Anti-chafe creams, balms and powders are arguably some of the most important parts of your long run kit and will be sorely missed — literally — if you leave home without them.

Here are 12 products, including some you might already have at home, that will make your long run a little less painful.

Get them here.

What to eat — and when — to train and race at your best


You have your training plan, but do you have a fueling plan? What you eat, and when you eat it, can greatly affect your training and racing — just ask anyone who spent their race in the port-a-potty. These fueling tips can help you perform better, last longer and recover faster.

Read them here.

What you can learn from a pre-event practice race.

Race start Think of a pre-event practice race as the dress rehearsal for your big event — the marathon.

Run Plans author Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. (Dr.) Mark Cucuzzella explains that this run should be a race simulation done at a comfortably hard pace. A quality practice run will help you develop rhythm and relaxation while running faster.

Read more here.

Ramp down training pre-marathon to be strong on race day

OK, Run Planners, it’s almost go time.

But be smart. How you spend the last few weeks of marathon training — we’re getting ready for the Marine Corps Marathon — could make or break your race. It’s not the time to squeeze in extra workouts, nor is it time to kick back with the PlayStation.

It’s time to taper — to ramp down the length and intensity of your workouts so you can be as fresh and rested as possible on race day.

Here’s how to do it.


 Facebook fans! Download our PT365 Run Plans now


Here’s a sneak peek, Facebook fans. We’ve packaged all three Run Plans into one handy PDF. You’ll get the charts, plus a primer on the science behind them.

Be sure to check the print version of PT365 to get the complete program.

Click here to get all three plans.

About Dr. Mark


Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. (Dr.) Mark Cucuzzella is a professor of family medicine at West Virginia University School of Medicine. He is also designing programs to reduce running injuries in service members.

He’s been a competitive runner for 30 years — with more than 100 marathon and ultramarathon finishes — and continues to compete as a national-level Masters runner. His marathon best is 2:24, and he’s won the Air Force Marathon twice, including in 2011 (2:38) a week shy of his 45th birthday.

He is the race director of Freedom’s Run race series in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and executive director of the Natural Running Center, an education portal and network of stores designed to teach healthier running and to promote more natural footwear. He hosts educational conferences and speaks nationally on topics related to running, health and injury prevention.

Cucuzzella also owns Two Rivers Treads — a center for natural running and walking in Shepherdstown, his hometown.

Meet our runners

PT365 contributors Sara Davidson and Rachel Barth will be following Dr. Mark’s marathon training plan with eyes on the Marine Corps Marathon in October. They’re be blogging weekly about hurdles and victories, great new gear and other training topics. Are you following the plans too? Let us know how it’s going on the PT365 Facebook page.