‘Run for Your Life’ by Mark Cucuzzella

‘Run for Your Life’ by Mark Cucuzzella

WHO: Mark Cucuzzella, MD

How to Run, Walk, and Move Without Pain or Injury
and Achieve a Sense of Well-Being and Joy

WHEN: Published by Knopf September 19, 2018

WHERE: The author lives in West Virginia.

WHY: “Cucuzzella’s combination of sound advice, passion, and myth crushing will surely make readers want to get moving.
“A mix of pep talk, oodles of medical info, and a dash of Zen, this book offers something special for readers at nearly every level of physical activity, from couch potato to ultramarathoner.
“Discussions of biomechanics, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, and rehabilitation for injuries are enhanced by abundant illustrations and extensive exercise tips. There are sections on runner’s high, safely running while pregnant, prepping for a marathon, and ‘outsmarting’ injuries.
“Cucuzzella has all the right credentials as a practicing family doctor, exceptional long-distance runner, and proprietor of a running- and walking-shoe store to write a marvelous book about human motion. He describes walking as the perfect form of movement, accessible and low impact. He believes, ‘The beauty of running is its simplicity.’ But warnings abound. Sitting is killing us (really). Modern shoes are hurting us (by causing poor posture, weak arches, impaired toe movement). Anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and cortisone injections can disrupt healing of orthopedic injuries.
“Running doesn’t have to be hard and painful. The healthiest runners don’t train for maximum velocity but instead for greatest efficiency. Find a pace that’s sustainable, not a speed that wipes you out.” —Tony Miksanek, in a starred review for BOOKLIST

* * * * *


In college, a persistent dream captured many of my waking hours: to run with effortless, efficient grace.

But first, I had to figure out how to run without pain.

Getting to that point wasn’t easy, nor did it happen quickly. I had to scrap my preconceptions and retool the way I stood, walked, and eventually ran. My roundabout path took me to medical school, to active-duty Air Force, to the University of Colorado, and to a rural West Virginia family medical practice—via twenty-four Boston Marathons. Along the route, I picked up more tasks—as the U.S. Air Force’s running coach, as a prof at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, and as the owner-operator of an award-winning shoe store.

Eventually—and as something of a surprise—I reached a sustained high level of pain-free physical performance, accompanied by a remarkable sense of well-being. This sense of wellness is there for the learning and the taking. It requires little more than getting outside—moving, exercising, running, walking, and enjoying physical activity together.

The emphasis is on the together part. More important than any running achievements, I’m most proud of having initiated several community school and health programs, and founding one of the eastern seaboard’s most popular fun runs. Throughout, my goal has been to help boost fitness and health for people of every age, and I’ve been encouraged by the testimonials from near-countless injured and sedentary folks who are now running, playing, and exerting with joy.

Distressingly, I’ve seen too many dedicated runners become former runners. And I’ve seen many nonrunners never begin. Too often in my medical practice I hear the phrase “I hate to run,” or “I can’t.”

It doesn’t need to be this way.

However odd it sounds, health care professionals are often complicit in unhealthy behavior and outcomes, by providing treatments that don’t offer lasting solutions. When treating runners, we tend to ignore “prehab,” the preventive solution: learn proper posture, strengthen the core muscles, settle into a good running pace, build endurance, understand mobility and efficiency of movement, and indulge a sense of contentment. Add to that restful sleep, good nutrition, sufficient recovery time, and even a sense of community, and you are solidly on the path to becoming stronger, to preventing injury, and to appreciating the magical gift of the human form.

* * * * *


PART I – Before the Starting Line
Our Bodies Are Older Than We think
Stand Up and Breathe
Walk Before You Run
The World Is Flat If You’re a Foot
The Springs at Move Us

PART II – The Body in Motion
The Elements of Style
The Engine That Runs Us: Building Endurance
Move More and “Exercise” Less
Eating to Go the Distance: Nutrition and Health
What’s for Dinner: Setting Your Own Meal Course
Recovery Is the Training
Running a Marathon
The Runner’s High: The Mind of a Winner
Outsmart Injuries with Prevention

PART III – Running Is for Everyone
Women Are Pulling Away from the Pack
Young at Heart
Healthy at Any Age
The Nature Cure
Running in Place: The Health of Our Communities

I Web Resources
II Drills for a Lifetime
III Training Plans for a 5K, Half Marathon, and Marathon
IV A Selection of Books on Running and Healthy Living
V The Ten Essential Elements of Healthy Running

Jacket photo

Media Resources:
About the book and author | Download the jacket | Download the author photo

Knopf. With 170 illustrations.
384 pages. $26.95 ISBN 978-1-101-94630-5

To interview the author, contact:
Michelle Tomassi | 212-572-2853 | mtomassi@penguinrandomhouse.com
Horizontal running photo