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Dr. Mark Cucuzzella on MAF HR Training, Running Form & Injury Prevention

By May 17, 2019May 20th, 2023No Comments

“If you finish a training run and you don’t feel you can do it again, you are probably running too fast” – Dr. Mark Cucuzzella

This episode of the Extramilest show #18 is a big one. Dr Mark Cucuzzella is one of the most productive, yet busiest athletes I know with an impressive and diverse background:

  • He has been a competitive runner for 30 years with a personal best in the marathon of 2:24. At his current age of 52 he has completed over 80 marathons and ultras, and he continues to compete as a National level Masters runner.
  • He ran Boston Marathon 25 times, the last 18 years straight.
  • For 30 years in a row he ran a Sub 3 hour marathon. For 22 years he raced under 2:35 and achieved this time in 4 decades. 
  • He is a doctor and a professor of Family Medicine at West Virginia University School of Medicine.
  • Dr Mark Cucuzzella is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Reserves, designing programs to reduce running injuries in military personnel.
  • Besides that he owns a minimalist footwear store, Two Rivers Treads in West Virginia. 
  • He is also a race director of the event series Freedom’s Run
  • He wrote the incredible book Run For Your Life
  • On top of that, he is the Executive director of the Natural Running Center
  • He teaches clinics with Dr. Phil Maffetone and others for Health Fit University. And the list goes on. 

His work has been features in media outlets such as New York Times, NPR, Outside Magazine, Runners World and many other medical and media outlets.

More information about his book is available at RunForYourLifeBook.com

Listen to the conversation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher or your other favorite podcast platform.

I am giving away a copy of Dr Mark Cucuzzella’s book Run for Your Life. To enter, I would love to hear from you in the comments on YouTube: what was your favorite quote or takeaway from this episode? 

Enjoy my conversation with Dr. Mark Cucuzzella!



  • Dr. Mark Cucuzzella’s running background [3:40]
  • Mark’s ran his first half marathon as a kid at a time of 1 hours 25 minutes [5:45]
  • Mark experienced many running injuries early [7:30]
  • Mark’s first marathon at the Marine Corps marathon in 2 hours 34 minutes that felt pretty easy [10:25]
  • How Mark blew up big time at his first Boston Marathon with a DNF [11:00]
  • His advice to runners wanting to run the Boston Marathon fast [12:35]
  • His experience as a runner being part of the Air Force [13:20]
  • Goal to make the olympic trials, running a 2:24 at the Chicago marathon [14:00]
  • Plantar fascia, fused joints, big toe bent, etc. [14:20]
  • His doctor recommended Mark not to run anymore[14:50]
  • How an article by Mark Allen about the Maffetone Method chanced Dr. Mark’s life [15:13]
  • Mark’s first experience with MAF training using the 180 formula [16:50]
  • How he progressed from a 11 minute mile at HR 150 to a 6 min mile at 150 in just 4 months [18:05]
  • His first marathon experience after he discovered MAF training, running a marathon in 2:28 that felt very easy [19:15]
  • 6 Time Ironman World Champion Mark Allen’s experience with low heart rate training [21:20]
  • Common injuries that Dr. Mark injuries that he sees [23:20]
  • Mark’s advice about footwear [24:10]
  • How modern footwear developed that caused many injuries because of narrow toe boxes, elevated heels and cushioning [25:50]
  • Importance of moving throughout the day [27:32]
  • Running injuries with a weakened fascia [28:30]
  • Tools to correct your feet, “Correct Toes” and Barefoot Science insole” [29:30]
  • Figure out where your weakness is and correct this [32:20] 
  • Mark’s 30 year consistent sub 3 hour marathon finishes [35:10]
  • The book Run for Your Life will make you a stronger and healthier athlete [36:00]
  • Importance of improving your foot spring strength [36:48]
  • Sprinting to open up your strides and dynamic stretching [39:40]
  • How they analyze running spring deficiencies in the Air Force [40:50]
  • Common mistakes with running form and how to fix this [42:05]
  • True Form running machine [43:10]
  • Mark’s thoughts on running cadence and what works best for different runners [46:20]
  • How to go about transitioning into a more minimal shoe [47:50]
  • The shoes that Mark’s kids wear [51:20]
  • Mobility and stability, Mark’s thoughts on stretching [54:50] 
  • Mark’s foam rolling routine in the morning [56:00]
  • Run for Your Life book and Two Rivers Threads running store [57:20]
  • Closing thoughts for athletes looking to become stronger, healthier and happier [58:30]

floris gierman and mark cucuzzella

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