The Ultimate Marathon Training Blueprint for Running Faster Times [1]

marathon training phases

Marathon Training Blueprint

Are you still looking for that elusive marathon training blueprint for running faster times?

Well look no further!

Welcome to the Marathon Time Breakthrough Podcast hosted by founder Dr. Dave Bird and nutrition expert Mark Moxom.

In this first episode, we run you through the five steps of our simple-yet-powerful marathon training system.

We also discuss what you can expect in future episodes of the show.

As a thank you for watching, grab your FREE Marathon Sessions Checklist now!

It will give you more purpose and variety in your build up, so you can actually enjoy running faster times!


Mark: Marathon Time Breakthrough is all about you and your running.

Running marathons specifically.

Because Dr Dave is, I’ve got to say, one of the world’s most qualified experts to talk about this.
Dave, can you give us just a little background of your story?

Marathon Coaching

Dave: Absolutely. First and foremost, let me lay out my credentials straight up.

As you’d expect I’ve got the endurance coaching badge from UK Athletics and I’ve also got a diploma in personal training.

And also because I feel mind-set is so crucial, I’ve taken the time and effort to become a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner.

And that is because I want my clients and anybody who works with me to really be dialled in to the psychology of what it takes to run a fast marathon.

Mark: Excellent. Not only are you qualified academically, you’re also qualified practically because I know you’re quite a well-performed marathon runner yourself.

Dave: I am indeed.

Towards the latter end of my career I felt that there was one chink in my armour, so to speak, and that was having a recognised marathon time or performance.

And I felt that it did need quite a lot of effort because I was in my mid-forties at the time and, again, using another skill I’ve got, I’ve done a hell of a lot of project management, having worked in public sector for many years.

And I applied those principles, Mark, to marathon training.

I went out and I did the necessary due diligence and research.

I went to running seminars, retreats. Read countless books, some of them very long winded, but they did have nuggets of gold somewhere within those pages.

And I came up with an approach, and a training plan that worked.

It worked for me. And over the coming weeks it will work for the listeners and the viewers.

And that is basically how I trained for the Florence Marathon and came in in my debut marathon in 2 hours 38 minutes.

Mark: Excellent. That was your first one?

Dave: That was my very first marathon.

Mark: That’s not bad going, is it really?

Dave: The caveat is, as you alluded to, I’ve been a runner for many years and in my late twenties, I clocked 3 minutes 46 seconds for 1500m. I did 65 minutes for the half.

I was very proud of that half marathon performance because that was at my peak. But, equally proud to come in, in Florence in 2 hours 38 minutes in my very first.

But, being me I wasn’t totally satisfied even with that.

Six months later, having refined my experience and the good vibes I’d got from that I did the Edinburgh marathon, And I actually finished 3rd overall. In a time of 2 hours 31 minutes.

After that, I felt, and this is why we’re here now, it was good to pass on all this good content and experience and knowledge to the audience.

Mark: Who is this show aimed at?

What type of person is going to benefit best from looking at the information you’re going to presenting over the next few weeks?

Dave: Any marathoners asking the question, “My time is precious. So how can I train smarter?”.

Mark: Right. Okay, so you’re going to be giving people really top tips to save time, to be more efficient with their training and basically to get better results.

Dave: Absolutely. And you can break that down into any runners who are super-busy.

Because I will help them free up that time and make every stride count towards their marathon goal.

And similarly, if you are overwhelmed by all those tips and tactics…

I will help you find out how to make those strategies actually work for you without any fluff and without any fads

And above all else, if your race performances are flat-lining or declining as indeed mine were leading up to doing that debut marathon…

I’ll show you how you can break through your time barriers.

Mark: Not only that, everything that you’re going to be sharing is stuff that you’ve proven with other athletes and clients.

Dave: Absolutely. This stuff genuinely does work.

And one of the things I was at pains to test was that what worked for me works for other people…

The athletes that I actually coach.

And I’m pleased to say that it does because it’s a flexible framework.

I don’t stand for prescriptive plans. I like to take every person I work with as an individual…

With individual needs and training preferences.

They’ve all got their own super-busy lifestyle and we work out what works for them.

I’m also aware that there will be a lot of people out there that worry about injury and burnout.

This show is going to reassure you and give you proven ways to make sure that you recover properly from your workouts.

Mark: So as you can see, the information that you’re going to get on this programme is no BS.

Really up to the minute, technically sound, but more than anything, usable.

Frankly everything that Dr Dave has got is imminently sharable with you as well. I think that’s right, isn’t it?

Dave: Yeah, that’s absolutely right.

When I’m working one-to-one with my clients, either through a Skype call or in person, what we’re doing is working through their personal needs to get them prepared ultimately for their marathon.

As we go through that, inevitably, what we’re also covering are the tactics, tips and tools, as you said.

They’re very applicable to everybody.

Mark: Excellent. Now, we were talking before the show weren’t we? About your famous 5 “Ps”.

Dave: That’s right.

Mark: Now, I know that they are a brilliant pneumonic for people to hold on to.

Dave: Thank you.

Marathon Preparation

Mark: To remember, really, key elements of training. What’s your first “P”?

Dave: The first “P” is PREPARE. Now, this is absolutely essential for marathon running even more so than the shorter distances.

It’s absolutely critical to marathon-proof your body in terms of both the physical preparation and the mental preparation.

And then, the logistics of scheduling and coping with marathon training in the context of all your other commitments.

Each of these five “Ps” breaks down into a sequence where I go through all the different elements that make up that solution.

For the PREPARE step there is a FAST START sequence.

It’s got things like fitness, technique, time management, flexibility…

It’s got all of those things that we’ll cover in future episodes.

Marathon Training Sessions

Mark: Okay. The first one is PREPARE. The second “P” is?

Dave: The second “P” is PERSPIRE.

Mark: That sounds like hard work!

Dave: I am not here to give you any fluff or BS. Marathon training is hard work!

But I will make it, if you keep viewing the show, as easy as it can be.

Because this step allows you to train with purpose.

It allows you to pick out the most appropriate workout for that stage in your marathon training to get the most benefit for your current level of fitness.

Mark: Well, that’s excellent news, obviously.

Dave, I’m going to ask you to actually give a top tip right now so that someone can actually take that away and put that into action.

Dave: Excellent. Well I’ve got something here…

Presumably either later today or tomorrow morning or whatever, you are going to go out the door and you’re going to start training.

So, what I want you to do is to really consider what the purpose is of that workout.

Because, as you’ll find in the coming weeks, the training we’ll talk about, is very vivid in terms of colours…

There’s a blue type of training, a green… And this will all become clear in later episodes. And a yellow type and maybe even a bit of red!

What I tend to find is that people make the mistake of just going out and trying to be faster than they were yesterday.

And that’s a big mistake!

Because instead of having those vivid colour zones in your mind…

Everything tends to fade to grey

And because you’ve trained too hard on a so-called easy run the day before…

When you’re supposed to be doing a fast or a harder session, you can’t do it.

And so everything, like a crop, like a cornfield, it all becomes the same and that is not good for marathon training.

Mark: You’re going to introduce them to a lot of variety?

Dave: Variety is absolutely paramount. There’s a big misnomer out there that marathon training has to be a long slow trudge. It’s not the case.

And I want to prove it to you by offering you my FREE Marathon Sessions Checklist so you can actually enjoy your marathon training preparation and still run faster times on the big day itself.

You get the essential information you need for each session concisely laid out for you on a single page.

Marathon Training Recovery

Mark: Excellent. We’ve had PREPARE, PERSPIRE. Number 3?

Dave: This one is deliberately slightly provocative because for some of the more macho men out there they may not want to hear that this one is called PAMPER!

And I’ve deliberately chosen that term because it’s absolutely crucial that you take time to wind down. Your body needs to recover.

Even if it’s active recovery. It might mean doing some cross training.

It doesn’t necessarily mean complete rest.

But the key here is that we are not pounding our body and we’re not entering a state of overtraining.

Marathon Training Progress

Mark: Excellent. We’ve had PREPARE, PERSPIRE, PAMPER… You wonder what comes next, don’t you? What does come next?

Dave: Well, it’s another “P”. And this time it’s PACE.

And I don’t necessarily mean the pace that we talk about in individual workouts, although, that is absolutely crucial for the PERSPIRE step.

What I’m talking about here is taking more of an overview of your schedule as a whole and looking for those opportunities when you feel maybe you could kick on a bit.

Maybe you’ve underestimated how fit you were, that’s the positive side of it.

Or maybe you need to just kind of hold back a bit, maybe repeat a training week.

Because you’ll find… I keep saying this, again and again, every plan that I set for the athletes I work with changes.

It’s basically a flexible framework, not a prescriptive plan.

Marathon Performance

Mark: Excellent. The last “P”?

Dave: The last one is PERFORM.

You can do all the great training in the world. You can have prepared and marathon-proofed your body and all the rest of it…

But if you don’t preserve your fitness in the final week and you get your tactics disastrously wrong, then that’s all wasted.

This is an absolutely crucial step. They’re all crucial steps, which is why there’s five of them.

But obviously, this one is the glory step.

Mark: Okay, well, taking that last “P”, what would be your top tip for somebody to walk out the door now, put their trainers on and use?

Dave: I’ve got two really.

  1. Preserve your fitness in race week. Better to not do enough than over do it; and,
  2. I’ve actually got 26 race tactics, but I’ll pick out just one… DON’T START TOO FAST!

Is that clear enough?

Mark: I think so. What was it again?

Dave: Don’t start too fast. Please don’t!

Marathon Running Challenges

Mark: Excellent. And also, in those tools and techniques that you’ve got, you’ve got a whole range of what I can only call avatars, really.

Dave: That’s right.

Although, I’ve reduced all of this information down to five major steps, within that, I’ve also defined 26 challenges that marathon runners experience and have to work through.

And what I’ve done just to make it more fun and to make the learning even more relevant is I’ve turned them into these cartoon caricatures.

But the reality is that they’re all based on clients I’ve worked with and some of the challenges that I’ve helped them overcome.

Mark: So there you go. Lots of information coming out weekly. Every…

Dave: Every Friday at 6PM GMT, just in time for the weekend!

Mark: So there you go. We’re looking forward to seeing you every Friday at 6 PM GMT for more great information, more great tips, tricks and techniques that you can use to get your marathon time breakthrough.

Did you find this marathon training blueprint useful? Please leave a comment below. [/spp-transcript]

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