T Nation

Run Time Down for PFT (USMC)


In about a month I'm going to be trying to reenlist (need some waivers but regardless). As far as my PFT goes my crunches will be at 100, I'm doing 11 pullups at the moment, I want to do atleast 15 before rejoining. But my run time is ATROCIOUS.

I didnt quite know where else to post this, there isn't exactly a cardio section on the forums. But does anyone have any advice on getting your run time down as fast as possible? Sprints, jogging, sprinting one light pole then jog the next? I'm clueless on cardio, and mine isn't good at all, I think I could do the IST run and barely make it which is all I need, but I want to have a good 3 mile run time before i rejoin too.

I'm pretty much willing to do whatever to get the time down, my neighborhood is an exact mile circle if you I go down the 3 culvisacs. If i need to run for 3 hours a day as much as I hate it I'll sit on a treadmill for 3 hours.



You might have better luck posting this in the War Room, where you'll find some Marines (or former Marines, like myself) who have worked with the same problem.

This is ONLY my opinion. But when I needed to score a 275+ on the PFT, my run time was what held me back. Sprints helped me a lot. Like you said, sprint one light pole (or telephone pole) then jog/walk the next, sprint to # 3, jog/walk to #4.

I would start with 1.5 miles of that & work up to 2 miles. You don't want to kill your bod. 3 hours on a treadmill is not particularly effective for your PFT score - it's not similar enough to what you'll be doing for the PFT.

If you have extra weight, that really slows you down. Muscle weight is good - helps get you up for those pullups. Fat weight is going to drag you down like a draft horse in the mud. Streamline. Swift, silent, deadly... go for it, Marine!

How many days a week are you running now?

If you do these sprints, I'm guessing you'll be a little sore in the diaphragm area (lower ribs, mid-stomach).

Hit the track, if that helps. Sprint a quarter, jog/walk, sprint, jog/walk.

Semper Fi ~



If you dont mind some advise from an Army guy:
I have found that doing longer runs to build endurance and also doing intervals at a track to build speed has worked well for my run times in the past.

Best of luck


SJOCONN and Renee are right, work on sprints and long runs. You also have to get your pullups up, thats 5 points each pullups. There is more bang for the buck out of pullups, if you can max them out and max your crunches, you are sitting at 200.

The run time is gravy on top of that.
Are you training for the combat fitness test (CFT) as well? You have to take one before June 2009, and I imagine your command is going to throw that in as a requirement to reenlist.
The CFT is all sprinting, so prepping for that is going to make your PFT run better.

Good luck.


thanks a ton for the advice everyone, I thought I did post this in the war room but i wasn't a member yet, thanks for that Renee.

I'm not running at all right now, so its not going to be a fun road to go down, I'm doing some boxing and mma 4 times a week which helps my cardio (barely), and I'm not really too overweight, 6'1" 185, probably around 10-12% b/f

I've been working on my pullups as much as I can, was reading on oo-rah.com about how doing pyramids will get me there damn fast so I'll be trying that.

But I doubt I'll have to do the CFT, I was discharged out of basic after being getting horribly sick, sadly I had a broken rib that was unnoticed on the xrays which is the primary reason I was discharged. So I'll be returning to basic. I'd hardly call myself a Marine yet, though some of my Marine buddys consider me one.


Hell, at your height and weight you shouldnt be considered over-weight at all even by military standards. I am 5'9" and I am allowed 187 lbs. They wont even tape for body fat unless you are over your max allowable weight.


Ok, so let's make sure I understand correctly....

You've got 1 month to prep. Not running at all right now.

Can you run two miles non-stop? Or run for 30 minutes -- if you don't have a way to judge distance. You can run "away" from your house for 15 minutes, then turn around & run back. Running for 30 minutes is going to be (hopefully) about 3 miles. I'm trying to guage your current running endurance.

If you can run for half an hour, then work up to 45 minutes. Once you can do 45 minutes, then try to find a track. If you can run for 45 minutes non-stop, then you can work on sprints. A track makes judging distances easier. A high school track is fine.

Doesn't need to be nifty. I'd do 3/4 of a mile of sprints the first time, to see how it goes. Run one mile of sprints if you feel really good. (That's 4 laps around the track, which would be 8 sprints, and 8 walk/jogs.)

BH6 & SJO are spot on... good advice so far.

You can read my "boot camp" advice in the War Room. I can't remember what thread it is, but I did try to be humorous.

Remember that the DIs are human for about .05% of the day. It's their job to treat you like dirt, and they're good at it. They just want you to be the latest & greatest Marine of the Century.




P. S. I still wouldn't recommend treadmill. If that's your only option, then...ok. But you need to be used to the roadwork.

As BH6 said, do those pullups! Pyramid prep is a good plan. You remember how they trained you in boot camp, right? Do it, do it, do it. Do it until it's gravy. Same with running.

Push the limits, cuz you KNOW they're gonna PUSH you!


I doubt I could run for 30 minutes but I can run 2 miles. Ill hop on a treadmill and force myself to exhaustion tomorrow after boxing to see where exactly I'm at. I can run outside, but I perfer a treadmill when its cold.

But its florida, so I can run outside for a good part of the day in some sweats.

But thanks a ton for the help renee. I think I might actually go hit the gym pretty soon anyway, I'm a bit of a night owl thanks to my job 4:30-2:45am...


Another thing you can do is ruck/pack run weight vest or what ever you got, If you 1. run farther than you have too and train sprints for speed at a higher artificial Body weight then when the day comes, you will have to run a shorter distance at a lighter weight than your used to training wise, should knock some time off for ya.

also if you run in the most miserable times(after workouts or before work which ever is worse) and conditions(up hill ect) it will be a relief to run on game day.


gotcha, that'll help, as the only time I'll really have is either after work, or after boxing/bjj. Sadly sleep isn't something I have much luxury of lately...


I've recently started training for the same goals, and if no one minds a slight hijack, can someone explain proper USMC sit-up form? I've read too many different descriptions to know how to train them properly.

I've been training with my feet tucked under the couch, but I mostly pull with my legs, it seems, and I can't even do a full sit-up with just my abdominals. Input from Marines would be greatly appreciated. Please be graphic and explicit.


Running on a treadmill where the ground moves under your feet and running on the ground where you have to push off are 2 completely different animals. Sorry to say it, but if you are serious about doing this then give up the treadmill completely.


I agree. Not to mention that you should get used to being outside, especially if you're going into a combat MOS!


You could always go to a recruiter and they'll be happy to show you.

Being on their radar can be annoying, and dangerous if you don't know what you're getting into -- but if you're going to join for sure, they can be a decent resource.


That would be the most prudent route, naturally. I kind of wanted to show up the first time with my 100 sit-ups, 20 pull-ups, and 18-minute run time, but it would probably make more sense that way.

And it's definitely a sure thing.


If you are going to boot camp, then you will be fine. Train smart for the next month. Don't sweat the CFT, you will take one before you graduate. Good luck boot!


For the PFT, Marines are tested on "crunches". The old sit-up was deemed too dangerous to the spine or something. Whatever.
To do the USMC crunches, you have someone hold your feet (or hook them under something) and bring your knees up so that your butt is as close to your heels as you can get them. Cross your arms over your chest (I usually tuck my hands under my armpits). Without lifting your arms away from your torso, touch your elbows to your thighs. Return back to the ground so that your shoulder blade touches the ground. Repeat.
Thats it, it is pretty easy. Most Marines knock out a 100 in about a minute. Remember to breathe, a lot of boots hold their breath and they can't make the full 100.


I'm sort of in the same boat here...I hadn't run for about 1 1/2 years until 3 weeks ago, for the last 3 weeks I've been running every other day, and at this point I THINK my 3 mile time would be under 28 minutes. Thankfully, I have another 2 1/2 months to prepare.

The fun part is that here in lovely NH, I'm generally running in temperatures around 35-40 degrees. I've been doing some sprints, generally towards the end of my runs, but soon I'm going to devote entire runs to sprinting.


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