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Marine Corps PFT


I have a Marine Corps PFT coming up in one month. Anyone have any suggestions as far as how to improve my crunches and 3 mile-run? I can already do 100 but am looking to improve to give myself a little cushion in case I have a bad day. M last run time was 21:51. Thanks for the suggestions.


As a former Marine, I'd have to say that a month isn't very long to get ready, if you want to get promoted, you need to think about this sort of thing farther in advance.

That said, if you can already do 100, then the 80 you need should be a snap, try working on your technique to get your time down. Your run time is not that great, what seems to be the weak point? (out of breath, loss of muscle strength, run out of energy, etc.)


Uhm.. and what about your pull ups. The real money-makers.

As far as running goes.. do some 4 and 5 mile runs. Remember, the harder you train, the easier it is when you have to do it for real. So don't just run 3 miles every other day until the PFT, do some 4 and 5 mile runs.

Training for distance is the easiest way to train for speed, at least for me. When you train and run 4 and 5 miles, you will be faster at running 3 miles because you will still have that muscle power starting in to your 3rd mile, instead of getting tired already by mile 1.5.

Also, when you're a week away from the PFT, stop your training and let your body rest up until the event. You may or may not want to do a few wind sprints the night before the PFT. Nothing crazy like twenty 400 M sprints.. just a handful to get your heart beating before next morning.

Anyway, these are things that have helped me out on the PFT in the past.


My old C.O. was a marathon runner. He tried to run the lenght of Okanawa. He made it 3\4 of the way. Anyway, he always had us do group runs to which I somehow ended up in his group all the time. He taught us to use breathing like when you swim. One breath per two steps, always start with the left foot so you don't compress your liver and get a side splint. Something like that anyway. It worked alot for me on those long runs. Hail, Hail the fat C.O. I use this method now and I still like it.


They've changed it from 80 to 100 for a perfect score now. For the run, I tend to get out of breath. My legs should hold up well if I keep up my Hindu squats. Thanks for the help.


I wish we could get extra points for doing more pullups. I can do 25 now no sweat, maybe even 30 if I use a wide pronated grip. They're my favorite upper body exercise. As for the running, I'll work on pushing myself farther so that come the PFT, 3 miles will be easier. Thanks...


Here's what I'd do if you really wanna work on the running. The easy days are better than days off, but you still need 1-2 days off. This order should be good. Be sure to eat enough!

Run 5-6 days a week

-one day at 4-5 miles, slow and relaxed pace (more of a rest day, keep your heart rate around 60-65% of the max, so if your max heartrate is 200, go for 120-130)

-one 3 mile day all out (second hardest day)


-one 1-2 mile day all out

-one 1-2 mile day at slow and relaxed pace (hr 60

-one day at 4-5 miles, try for your desired pace (this is the hardest day)

  • off


Where are you stationed? If you're at Pendleton, head up those hills. I never got past a 19:10 runtime, but I had the 20 and 100 so I had a good score. All you need is a 280 or above for perfect PROMOTION points.

Crunches are all about the technique. Get your ass as close to your feet as possible. Cross your arms across your chest as low as possible (around your belly button, this gives less distance for your forearms to travel before hitting your upper thigh). Close your eyes and when you get the command to start, exhale with every crunch. Only come down until your lower shoulder blades come into contact with the ground. Rythmically knock out 60 crunches in the first minute (more likely 45 seconds or so). Rest for a few seconds, knock out ten. Rest, do ten, rest, do ten, rest, do 11 (hell, I always did one more for Chesty). You'll be done with 20+ seconds to spare. My Senior DI taught me this trick in boot camp and I never had a problem since. Technique man, technique.

I KNOW that formation runs will not get you down past a 21:00 run time, so go out on your own once or twice a week. I'd go run the ridgeline on friday and sunday evenings while everyone else was getting drunk (call me a loser, but I had a 290). Also, make sure nutrition is on point. I liked to have a spoonful of peanut butter before every PT session for some energy over my runs.

Good luck bro.



One other thing, make sure you work on your stride with the run. Running in formation makes you use short choppy steps. So on those extra runs, just let loose and see what your body is capable of.



Of all the Marines on here, how often have you actually seen someone NOT get his 100 crunches? That was always kind of a given in the fleet.



I never ran below a 285 but I had to bust my ass for it. When I was stationed in Oki I was rooming with a STA bubba and the guy drank like a fish and smoked about a pack a day but he never ran below a 300. He'd get drunk and go on a 5 mile run about once a month. Never could figure that guy out.



Like what was said before you are waiting to late to really effect you run time. You never mention your 20 pullups.....When I was in I did my 20, 80 and ran my 3 mile around 19 to 20 min always a first class PT score.

I started training with added weight for pull ups then I would add weight running. Like I would wear my flack jacket and helmet with my PT gear. or I would do a boot and Utit run. I even tried wearing my gas mask once....I only made it half way....had to stop puked and finished with out the mask....

Breathing is the most important thing I would focus on breathing in and out only when my right foot hit the deck...I trimmed over a min. just focusing on this.....

Good luck Siemper Fi


The best way to improve run time is to incorporate sprints. Forget the 5-6 mile low-intensity runs. Get on a treadmill and do some high intensity interval training (HIIT). This works. I knocked 2 minutes of my PFT time doing this and I never ran for more than 20 minutes training for the event. Sounds like a real bad advertisement, but it really works. Here's what you do (I got this from the Body-for-Life program by Bill Phillips). Start at an easy warm-up pace for 2 minutes, then jack it up a little for another minute, then up some more forn a minute, then more for another minute, then more (you're almost at a sprint now) for another minute, then bring it back down to a slow pace for a minute and repeat. Do this 4 times, but on the last cycle add in one full dead sprint for a minute then slow down and stop. 20 minutes total, but 5 minutes of that has been at sprint levels. Check the BFL website for better explanation. Seriously, some guys are naturally fast runners, but non-gifted guys who really train hard and have sub-20 min PFT times almost always incorporate sprinting.


I hear you on that. We had a guy who ran a 300 or close to it and drank PBR like water damn near every night of the week. Guy was ripped as shit too and hardly ever worked out. I hate him for that and he knows it. Asshole. He also had a habit of jumping off the second deck when drunk...He ran a low 1st Class PFT the day after that one though...



I've seen it. Guys get lazy and think it's a given that they'll get 100. Same thing with the pullups. Guys don't want to deadhang and they get a dickhead SNCO who counts "one one one one two two two..." and they end up with 5 pullups.



Do both intervals and long runs. Intervals do at goal pace, I'd suggest 800's or, better, miles.

The long run, I would do this week or next, but since you only have a month, I would only do one. Go for 8+. Seriously, it will help tremendously.
EDIT: I was thinking the test was a 3 mile, not 2. In that case, scale back the long run to about 6-8.

Like someon has said, 5-6 times a week is good.

Taper off as you get close, no hard workouts the week of. Something short and fast, like 200's slightly faster than goal pace.

As someone said, you didn't leave yourself much time. Try to get as much mileage as you can this next week and half, and then taper down.


Run your arse off, and drink alot of milk/eat alot of minerals.

Stress fractures are currently the number one reason recruits who can do the crunches and pull ups wash out.

Forewarned is forearmed, and thanks for choosing to serve.

Let us know when you leave, and how it goes.

Parris Island, or San Diego?


Shows how dated I am, hehe. Was in from 93-97. If you need 100, you need to make sure you can do at least 120. If you're running out of breath, you need more sprinting work probably in the 400m range or so. I also agree with the previous poster, make sure to practice some 4 & 5 mile runs as well so you're not running on empty that last 1/2 mile. 25 no-kip pullups, wow, that's really good. Just before I got out they eliminated kipping and all the little guys went from 20 perfect to like 5 crappy ones, hehe.


Well it was 80 when I was in, but I'd have to say quite a few people didn't max out. There are always a few slackers, fatbodies, air wing pogues, short timers, etc.


Gas mask run, now that's hard core. We did Mopp-4 hikes now and then and they always made me want to die.