Run Your Fastest Marathon Time!

I'm Dave Bird (PhD), and I finished third place overall in the Edinburgh Marathon (the second largest in the UK), when I was a 45-year old pen pusher!

Since then, I've founded Marathon Time Breakthrough to share the exact system I used to achieve this feat. Use it if you're an experienced runner, to get the marathon time your commitment deserves, even if it's your first one!

Your smarter approach to training will reward you on your big day without you having to put the rest of your life on hold! You'll overcome major performance barriers such as your super-busy lifestyle, lack of training know-how, limiting beliefs and susceptibility to injury or burnout.

Whether I'm coaching in-person, hosting video calls with clients or delivering online tutorials, I strip out the fluff and give you exactly what you need at that time to stop you feeling overwhelmed, pump up your motivation and accelerate your progress towards your marathon goal.

My Mission as a Marathon Coach

To empower ambitious, super-busy runners to overcome their performance barriers and get the marathon times they truly deserve without sacrificing all the other good stuff in life!

Your Fastest Ever Marathon Time In Just Five Simple Steps...

This proven blueprint for faster marathons is inspired by the watch you use for training and races

  • 1

    Power Up Your Watch For A FAST START...

    And PREPARE to be blown away by your best ever finish!

  • Fitness

    Assess your current fitness and identify additional needs and preferences so that your training is personalised and realistic.

  • Availability

    Sort out your training logistics to avoid doing random workouts on the fly, and ensure that you adhere to the hard-easy pattern of progression.

  • Strategies

    Choose the best training strategies and get in the right zones to give every session purpose and get more out of them.

  • Tactics

    Create your own personalised plan, following proven marathon training principles, to do the right training at the right time and peak on race day!

  • Shopping!

    You’ve now earned a shopping break, because having the right kit is essential to help you deal with the many challenges the marathon brings.

  • Technique

    This head-to-toe makeover allows you to run faster for longer with no additional training effort and reduced risk of injury, because there are too many strides in a marathon campaign to be doing it all wrong!

  • Agility

    Your body’s marathon-proofing continues as you discover how to maintain and improve your agility by doing proper warm ups, warm downs, strides and flexibility work.

  • Resilience

    In this final part of your body’s marathon proofing, you’ll work on your core and become a stronger runner to make you resilient to anything the 26.2 mile challenge can throw at you!

  • Time

    Finish the sequence on time by becoming super-productive, so that you can succeed at marathon running without sacrificing all the other good stuff in life!

  • 2

    Start Your Watch And choose SESSIONS...

    And PERSPIRE by doing the right workouts in the right way to reach your training goals in less time.

  • Strategies

    Start this sequence by solving potential problems before starting your session, such as being clear on its purpose and making sure that you’re properly fuelled and hydrated.

  • Endurance

    We now get into session specifics, starting with endurance-building workouts. You’ll discover why long, steady and marathon-pace runs are so critical to your success and how to get the most from them.

  • Stamina

    Discover how to run faster for longer by improving your stamina as you do a variety of continuous effort and repeat-based workouts.

  • Speed

    Improve your VO2max, leg strength and turnover by doing speed work the right way, so that you maintain good form when you need it most… such as in the latter stages of your marathon.

  • Inclines

    Discover how to do quality hill sessions to add variety to your training and ensure you’re also fitter and stronger for marathon-targeted workouts.

  • Options

    Take your marathon running to a new level and inject more variety into your training by incorporating these advanced workouts into your schedule.

  • Nice!

    Benefit from the easy side of the hard-easy training pattern by treating yourself to one of these enjoyable workouts, particularly when the going gets tough.

  • Supplementary

    Don’t miss out on the huge benefits you’ll get by supplementing your running with the right cross-training sessions. These include injury prevention, broader fitness gains and increased well-being.

  • 3

    STOP Your Watch...

    And PAMPER yourself in the right way by getting the rest and recovery you need so that all your hard training counts!

  • Strategies

    We start this sequence by taking a strategic look at the recovery cycle to drive home its importance physically, psychologically and logistically.

  • Tactics

    This selection of the best recovery tactics will ensure that you get maximum benefits from your training, so that you’re pumped up and ready for your next hard session!

  • Overtraining

    Overtraining is a showstopper, so you’re guided on preventing it, detecting it early on and treating it if it comes to that, so that you can still achieve your marathon time breakthrough.

  • Positive

    Peak performance also requires you to be in a positive mental state, so we’ll cover how you’ll best manage your expectations, cope well with setbacks and stay motivated throughout your training!

  • 4

    RESET Your Watch...

    As necessary and let it PACE your progress with GPS precision so you stay on track to achieve your marathon time breakthrough.

  • Races

    Start this sequence by discovering how well planned and executed practice races can help you reach the fitness goals that ordinary training can’t reach!

  • Estimates

    Discover how to be positively clairvoyant about your marathon prospects by estimating your time from performances in key sessions.

  • Stories

    You’ll learn how to pace your progress properly and avoid making the most common mistakes in this series of insightful and entertaining case-study stories.

  • Evaluate

    Discover the most efficient and effective ways to log and track your training, so that you can evaluate whether it’s working rather than remaining blindly prescriptive.

  • Tweak

    Master the skill of tweaking what you once believed should be the perfect plan, as it could be the difference between a mediocre marathon and that new breakthrough time!

  • 5

    Use Your Watch To PERFORM...

    And have the satisfaction of running the best marathon time you're capable of!

  • Preserve

    You start your final sequence by learning how to preserve your best form in marathon week without becoming sluggish or race-shy, so your confidence soars approaching the big day.

  • Equip

    You equip yourself with everything you need for the marathon and remove any logistical tripwires, so you stand on the start line feeling like a podium finisher!

  • Race

    Your Ultimate Race Plan gives you the killer tactics to make every one of your workouts count double, so you finally achieve your Marathon Time Breakthrough!

  • Finish

    Congratulations… you’ve done it! Now you need to manage the immediate physical, logistical and psychological implications of giving it your all over 26.2 miles.

  • Offload

    Now allow yourself time and space to offload all those miles, so your body & mind get the full recharge they deserve

  • Recovery

    And you’ll then be ready to follow an accelerated recovery plan that refreshes the parts other schedules can’t reach, so you can seamlessly resume full training with renewed vigour.

  • Momentum

    Finally, your momentum is maintained, having savoured your success and recovered well, so that you can move on to your next big challenge…

These five steps will take your marathon running to a higher level.

Your Marathon Success Starts Here!

My three pledges to help you run your best ever campaign

  • Knowledge And Experience

    You benefit from more than 30 years combined experience I have as an elite club runner and coach. You follow the proven system I developed over 17 months and used to finish third overall in the Edinburgh Marathon at the age of 45. You have faith that I know what I’m talking about… My expertise as a qualified UK Athletics distance running coach, Master Practitioner in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and contributor to Runner’s World Magazine.

  • Performance Enhancing Tools

    I personalise the cutting edge tools I’ve developed for training and racing to your specific needs and preferences. You implement them in simple, easy-to-follow steps, so you can perform at your very best, but still have time to enjoy life! You choose what you need at that time… Be it your own, fill-in-the-blanks, adjustable marathon training plan and log, or even a content-rich single page infographic to transform your running technique.

  • Fluff-Free Coaching!

    You receive the coaching support that means the difference between grinding out another mediocre marathon and running that breakthrough time that stays with you for life! Whether you choose in-person, individual, group, online or a well-crafted combination of these coaching services, you benefit from my unique blend of technical expertise, motivation skills and humour to stay on track for the success you deserve! You feel grateful to be in a fluff-free zone!

How I Can Help You Run Your Fastest Marathon Ever!

We both know that dramatically improving your marathon time can be a huge challenge. To make things much easier for you, I've made my coaching and mentoring extremely accessible so that your specific needs can be met anytime and anywhere.

  • In-Person

    Get in-person guidance from me to master key sessions, improve your running technique and marathon-proof your body, so you can cope with anything the 26.2 mile challenge throws at you!

  • Live Video Calls

    Hop onto a one-to-one or small-group video call from the comfort of your home to review progress towards your marathon goal and discover how to remove those persistent performance barriers!

  • Online Training

    Get instant online access to the Marathon Time Breakthrough system anytime and anywhere to implement step-by-step all the strategies, tactics and tools you need for sustained success.

My Marathon Coaching Credentials

  • Coaching Badges

UK Athletics Endurance Running Coach

Register of Exercise Professionals Advanced Fitness Instructor

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner

  • Elite Club Running Experience

2 hours 31 mins for marathon (aged 45)

65 mins for half marathon

30 mins for 10K

3 mins 46 secs for 1500m

Won prestigious races including the Hog's Back and British Miler Club events

Finished third place overall in Edinburgh Marathon

  • Media Work and Public Presentations

Marathon expert contributor to Runner’s World Magazine

Guested on BBC Radio

Delivered countless coaching seminars, sessions and tutorials

  • Professional Training

Doctorate from the School of Biological, Biomedical and Environmental Sciences at the University of Hull

PRINCE2® Practitioner in project management

Extensive experience in planning and performance management


Don't leave this page empty handed!

Just click the big orange button below to get access to your FREE monotony-busting marathon training checklist... It will inject zest and variety into your workouts, yet still ensure you gain the endurance needed to run your fastest ever marathon! It's the essential guidance you need, concisely presented in a single-page PDF document, so you can perform at your best without overwhelm!

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