Marathon Time Breakthrough Stories | Dave Bird | Skillshare

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Marathon Time Breakthrough Stories

teacher avatar Dave Bird, Marathon Running Expert

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Start Line

    • 2. Mileage Mike

    • 3. Hard Helen

    • 4. Gadget Gary

    • 5. Awkward Alice

    • 6. Burnt-Out Bob

    • 7. Prescriptive Pete

    • 8. Joyless Joyce

    • 9. Dehydrated Dan

    • 10. Injured Ian

    • 11. Club Clive

    • 12. Obstinate Ollie

    • 13. Finish Line

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About This Class

Marathon running expert Dave Bird helps you avoid the biggest training mistakes even experienced runners make!

In this 30-minute class, he uses storytelling which is an entertaining and powerful way to learn. The key points stay with you longer than just absorbing dry facts and statistics.

He uses cartoon characters to protect client anonymity, but they're all case studies based on runners he's coached through his proven Marathon Time Breakthrough programme. 

In your class project you get the chance to tell your own story on the biggest marathon training challenge you’ve faced!

Meet Your Teacher

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Dave Bird

Marathon Running Expert


Dave Bird is the founder and creator of Marathon Time Breakthrough, the simple yet powerful 5-step system that helped him finish third place overall in the Edinburgh Marathon at the age of 45!

Since then he's helped countless runners achieve their own personal best times using this proven blueprint. As well as coaching in-person, he mentors runners world-wide on video calls and inside his online course platform. He also hosts the Marathon Time Breakthrough video podcast.

See full profile

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1. Start Line: Welcome to marathon time breakthrough stories. Your Discover 10 of the biggest mistakes marathon runners make on what we did to tackle its challenge so you could spot on avoid thesis potential show stoppers and go on to get the success you deserve. Over 26.2 miles. Storytelling is an entertaining and powerful way to learn key points. Stay with you longer than just absorbing dry facts and statistics on protecting client anonymity and sparing their blushes is by using fictional carting characters to reveal their floors. Many of the images you see won't be directly running related, because metaphor is a powerful motivator, but they're a well, life issues runners of faced and so highly relevant to your challenges, you'll quickly realized which aspects of your training need to be targeted so you can reach your potential on Marathon Day. So let's cross the start line and meet the first character 2. Mileage Mike: on that character is mileage Mike. The biggest challenge of this character was the limiting belief. High mileage training is the only way to prepare successfully for a marathon. An obsessive attitude to training prevented him from taking the right action in response to the negative feedback he was getting from his body. This made him susceptible to overtraining and poor performance. He was protect me, frustrated that he ran six minutes below his Phoebe in London, and he blamed Nick Ling I t band injury on a spate of coals to this set, and he found to know New York by clocking 90 miles a week. Now, 90 miles per week per se was not the problem. Elite marathoners with supportive lifestyles do this, um, or to run amazing times without breaking day. That Might was a 45 year old club runner on his body. Resented the punishment it got. He ran a small engineering company and he was married with kids on. His biggest challenge was his rigid way of thinking. Now is a master practitioner in Euro linguistic programming, or NLP. I know a thing or two about unlocking runners limiting beliefs, So when we met to discuss his New York builder, High jokingly diagnosed a running related form of O. C. D. Overkill concerning distance. So he asked me to get in below three hours, 15 minutes without being. And Milosz junkie junk miles for him, had always been credit in the bank. Sadly, he never had any time to cash in on any of it. He was drawing too heavily on the limited reserves his body could offer. So Sue tied to train consistently at the faster paces, which meant he became grid locked in the slow lane. I persuaded him to ditch the elite Martha schedule he'd been struggling with and follow. Instead of personalize plan centered on his own circumstances. I got him stronger and sharper in the first few weeks are doing hills and far training He had a natural talent for salmon are running buried beneath a latte. Junk mileage. This was a huge turning point, he added, faster, longer and acceleration running to freshen up his schedule 90 miles per week, trudges were ditched and replaced with targeted training blocks of 60 to 70 miles over 7 to 10 days. Still high mileage, but crucially, a training load. His body could handle. He even switched to time based running unused rate of perceived exertion or RP toe help him stay in the right zones, which meant he didn't even know his true mileage per week. The results vindicated his new way of thinking. He got below 3 15 in New York later was just a few minutes outside the iconic three hour barrier. 3. Hard Helen: Our next character is hard Helen. The biggest challenge this character is a lack of faith in proven Martha training principles, leading overtraining. She always ran every session hard, then wondered why allow her performances were media great best. She was training hard and never in her London Martha builder, but quickly suffered a performance crash. Despite all her efforts, she was suffering from a thinking error, stopping her from fulfilling her undoubted talent. She was far too punishing on herself, so she didn't think the personal plan are created for her, who's challenging enough to get a math and fit. So she overcompensated disastrously, running too fast on easy sessions, which meant she under performed badly and hard workouts, and it quickly became a self fulfilling prophecy. Needing to complete burnout despite feeling sore and weary, she still believed all she needed to to was train harder. We had an emergency coaching session covering the benefits of the recovery cycle and applied it to the hard, easy training blocks in her plan. We agreed to bring forward a recovery week with easy running cross training on an extra rest state, the psychological barriers of deep seated and difficult to overcome. So when I examined her training look over the next week or so, I was still concerned. Her recovery runs left to tired for key sessions, so we met again. But this sign our shared with her the simple fact that even elite Kenyan Martin Er's mixed , easy running, harder workouts something finally shifted in her mind. Perhaps the way they make incredible feats of endurance seems so effortless. She gained faith in her personalized plan and controlled her recovery sessions, using the maximum pace alarm on her watch to prevent relapses. She enjoyed running faster and even felt more motivated for her hardest sessions, and she stopped harming a mouth and prospects on her body. 4. Gadget Gary: So next we have Gadget Gary. The biggest challenge for this character is an obsessive, shiny object syndrome on a misguided faith in the power of running technology To guarantee marathon success, I was in my local running shop. My 300 mile old running shoes had just been chucked into the recycling bin has scant reward for their sterling service. And I spotted Gary while I was impatiently waiting for my new pair to defect from storage, wishing I was outside running like the people I saw through the shop window. But my irritation switch, the curiosity. When I first spied in, he was ogling the running Gajic section with bulging eyes and seemed particularly fixated by the latest heart rate monitors. Pick up the most expensive one, and we found ourselves at the check out till I was arranging a group coaching session for customers at the shop, and Gary overheard us and invited himself along to the session. It turned up proudly wearing his new heart rate monitor. Group was soon familiar with its tap sensitive controls on impressive cloud storage capabilities had already said his training zones upon it, based on maximum heart rail MH are from a tank a more than two years ago, out of day and not quite fastener for an accurate estimate. He'd have been better off using a recent five K or the last 20 minutes of 1/2 our time trial. The creep did a speed session that he was well off base. His gadget led efforts left him stranded in the stamina zone well below target pace. And there was a big time lag between his rate of perceived exertion or R e on the monitor readings. No, what you want when you're running shorter repeats. I asked him to put the monitor through its paces in his next training block. His shiny object syndrome began to lose some of its gleam. A number of factors were limiting its ability to track effort, his caffeine intake a sudden hate way on even his stress levels coping with a demanding job . So he switched to comparing, received effort to the pastry doubts on his watch and was able to train in the rises to hit his training goals. When paces less relevant on hills, off road or in bad weather, he tracked effort using the very best technology, his brain but he didn't have to sell. His heart rate monitor on eBay helped him maintain constant effort on stamina based runs and longer repeats. It was also handy for taking his resting posts in the morning is a marker for his fitness in general health. He used a higher reading is an early warning signal to go easy or bring forward arrest state. He was now ready, willing and able to gauges workers by feel using the RP scale, and he now used technology to inform his training rather than drive it. 5. Awkward Alice: tonight, turning toe awkward Alice the biggest challenge for this character where she had an appalling running action. It badly affected a performances no matter how high should train. She had to work harder due to wasting valuable energy on each stride, and she was also very injury prone. She came to me for a head to toe technique makeover. She'd set her sights on a sub for Paris marathon time, but knew that with a better action, she may not even reach the start line. So let's begin her head to toe technique makeover. She was looking down, so she looked 30 to 40 meters ahead, instead tucking it shinin and relaxing her jaw and neck. A good mantra is to think of yourself running tall. Her shoulders were horribly hunched, intense, so she shook them loose, then roll them back, keeping them square rather than rounded level. Then, while running, she alive them to rotate slightly in a smooth natural action. Her arm action was erratic and wasted energy, so she took a straight back swing is far back as a waste. Then left arm swing forwards, in a slight in words, are allowing her hand to follow through up to a about chest height. Instead of leaning forward from a waste, she let her whole body slightly forward from our ankles, moved her chest up and out and gently pulled in her lower belly. Like many runners, she wasn't using her hips properly and sent it to sit on them with autumn protruding. Instead, she made sure she didn't lift her knees too high, and she pushed down and back on the back drive to lengthen the stride behind her body. She pressed her hips forward and kept a bottom in on the four drive on instead of over striding with a damaging full hill strike, she took lighter, faster strides. She practiced with controlled stride drills. I reminded her to push down and back with each stride, rather than reaching out to correct the stiff action. She had encouraged her to do a mental body scan looking for attention, straining or clenching a good mantra is to think so. Face, neck, shoulders, arms and hands. Of course, this was too much for her to take in at once, so I encouraged her to correct one bad habit of time on improved her technique progressively but also doing practice drills. She was soon running faster before her serious mouth and training had even started. She learned there are far too many strides in the mouth and campaign to be getting everyone of them badly wrong. She ran her best ever Martha in three hours, 54 minutes on even enjoy the experience by running faster during the race is a confidence grew. 6. Burnt-Out Bob: so the next character is burned. Tybalt aunt. His biggest challenge was exhaustion, created by trying to force fit Martha running. It is already super busy life. It's scheduled a longer repeat session on Friday, and his long one was on Sunday. But he got landed with a big end of week work. Dead High wanted to remove the repeat session to Saturday, which set him up for back to back hard sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Without the necessary recovery, he risked it best. Having a poor long run on it were skin overly tired or injured. I suggest you move the repeats back to Thursday, making sure Wednesday was an easier session or to replace him with a short study run to ease the pressure in a busy week, I urged him not out to his workload stress. By trying to squeezing hard sessions, he needed to move from temporary fixes to longer term solutions by prioritizing his commitments, ensure are going to create a life wheel. He went a stage further that week by skipping the repeats altogether and taking an extra rest eight. He also created a good work life run balance by making changes to his life well that restored his motivation and energy without a stressful Gil. He ran a Martha PB 11 weeks later without jeopardizing his work or family life. 7. Prescriptive Pete: So now let's meet Prescriptive Pete. The biggest challenge of this character was rigid forward planning on unhelpful level of detail. Given that circumstances are bound to change, he would time. Lowther starts for every run from his fully featured watch, presenting the results in different graphical formats, keeping hard copy and digital backups. His obsessive planning and logging contrasted starkly with a completely passive response to what the graphs are trying to tell him. He was entering a hard week of training on the advance plan had purchased from an online running coach. He felt absolutely compelled to complete each scheduled workout down to the last stride despite feeling desperately tired even when he wasn't actually training. Having worked painstakingly through the plan for six weeks, we reviewed his training. Today. I showed him how to see the wood from the trees by logging his workouts actual versus expected performances based on his sub three hours and 30 minutes marathon gold. I urged him to forget in my new Shii on Just look the exceptions red flag. The key sessions he'd skipped on on the flag workouts where he didn't perform is expected by the too tough or too easy. His dogged determination to take his prescription paid off in terms of completion, with no key session skipped. But the locks and amber very quickly is this struggle to stay in the pace stones from week to week. We agreed the plan had downloaded was a poor much. Its weekly dose of speed. Work didn't fit with his endurance training preferences. Luckily, there were still 12 weeks ago in his extensive Martha builder, so I personalized his prescriptive plan. Long runs were increased is I knew he could handle it faster, longer with tempo. Runs on longer repeats were added to improve his stamina and speed. Work was reduced to less formal, far like training in Parkland. He tracked his progress using the traffic light indicators. I learned how to make simple Twix in response to this feedback. So in this example, he prepared better than previously for a demanding speed work session. His unhelpful thinking patterns were, however, deep seated, so the transition was understandably a little clunky. But a few weeks later, self coaching was clearly getting the better of being counting. There is even a solitary red flag key session pleasing proof he was prepared to take an unscheduled rest eight. It was still a struggle to avoid lapsing back into old habits, so I encouraged him to acknowledge and reinforces progress by leaving weekly comments on it all paid off with a three hours 24 minutes PB, basing his previous time by eight minutes on 17 seconds, as he was quick to point out. 8. Joyless Joyce: So next we have joyless Joyce. Her biggest challenge was that diligent and dutiful training towards her marathon goals robbed her of the pleasure that running provides from session to session. Stride by stride, I saw her through the window of the harvest side. Jim is I was enjoying my steady run on a beautiful summer's evening, Gina, thoroughly miserable, slavishly grinding out the miles on an unforgiving treadmill. We've had a somber consultation. A few weeks earlier, she uniquely agreed to everything I suggested. You have not been in touch to let me know how she was doing so when we met up again a few days later, her progressed. Applying was spot on, but it seemed like forced labour driven by fear. Other motivation. She fell silent when I asked her if she was enjoying her running. When I challenged her on her treadmill workout, she admitted that she was striving for accuracy. Prescriptive Pete briefly flashed through my mind. Yet even he would run outside on different routes what seemed at first like a healthy competitive drive in pursuit of a marathon goal. Now you seem like a stubborn act of going through the motions with no enjoyment of the past She was on. I asked her to imagine crossing the finishing line in triumph with a lot hard training behind her, she suddenly became tearful and confessed to hating her force training regime. It was just a means to a strange end to match the success of a younger sister, Wynona, who had run faster than Joyce in a first ever marathon. There is no love loss between them. Winona was apparently the favorite daughter. She live 300 miles away, and they rarely spoke. I wasn't willing to take a crash course in family therapy, so turned instead to my trusty tool box of running remedies. We agreed it wasn't realistic, all healthy, to try to emulate her sister, who it was five years younger in 27 minutes. Faster. But the big question, anyway, was What did she really want from her own marathon running tail pants? Of that, we did a neuro linguistic programming, or NLP exercise to reveal any hidden conflicts between different aspects of a personality, ranging from her behavior to her beliefs, values and even our identity. What emerges the polar opposite of everything should be doing. She loved the rhythm, the tranquility and the beauty of long distance trail running. It was denying herself thes pleasures in her punishing campaigns. Emulate her sister. She needed a shift in mindset before she could truly kick on. The NRP helped make the discussion on next steps much easier on I saw his smile and laugh for the first time. She now relish doing most of a running off road, rather on treadmill. Her technique became more relaxed as she became mindful of the scenes and signs around her , and she performed well in the races themselves. Without the pressure of worrying about absolute finished times. She changed course dramatically, moving away from big city marathons to focus instead on long distance trail events in beautiful locations. 9. Dehydrated Dan: So let's namely dehydrated down. His biggest challenge was underestimating the vital importance of staying fully hydrated at all times or training and racing but vertically on long runs. And, of course, in the marathon itself, I was a cord to discover that he didn't have a hydration strategy. He knocked marathon training experience. He run middle distances in his prime, and it moved upto longer distance running as he got older. He preferred speed work over endurance. Training on wasn't used to running more than an hour. They also believe that successful running withstand a hard graft, not namby pamby stuff like hydration and stretching. He confirmed he often felt thirsty in the later stages of long runs. Ondas urine was straw colored. He needed to know why hydration is so important for marathon running, I explained. Her muscle glycogen is used more efficiently. When you're fully hydrated, I'm losing just 2% of body fluids can produce performance by as much as 10 to 20% enough to make you suffer on marathon day. When I mentioned some of the more extreme symptoms, dizziness and headaches leading to fatigue and muscle cramps even collapsed from heat stroke. If it's hot enough. Something finally shifted in his rigid way of thinking. So we made sure he followed a proven hydration strategy. Steadily drink 250 milliliters of water 15 to 30 minutes before training. Drink water only during sessions lasting up to an hour on add electrolyte tablets is the runs get longer. To avoid cramping, practice sitting fluids on the run to stay hydrated without feeling bloated or needing toilet breaks. Then sit the liter of fluid within 30 minutes after your session on, keep topping up for a couple of hours. 10. Injured Ian: So let's Naomi Injured E. And the biggest challenge for him was his phone repair. Lucy toe injury. June, mainly to refusing to do any flexibility. Coral strength work. He didn't even bother with warm ups or call downs for hard workouts. He was, quite simply, the laziest marathon runner had ever coached. His friends wondered how he ever completed them without taking short cuts. True to form, he went straight into his temple run on a Italy colder in January, where any warmer on felt discomfort and soreness. After abruptly finishing right outside his front door, he complained that his personalized planet injured him. So I got him toe eyesore area, then rest wearing compression tights under his jeans on, recommended a sports physiotherapist. If it didn't clear up, it was nothing more than lactic acid build up due to poor session management. Not great. When he was trying to raise his lactate threshold, we discussed his risk of injury on agreed that prevention was better than treatment. Unfortunately, injury prevention exercises were not on his short list of things to do. The marathon training itself was more than enough effort for him, so I asked him why he bothered even running, he said. It was simplest way to stay fit. But why marathons when you could just do five K Park runs? It was because his father had been successful over 26.2 miles when he was a young man. So having dug a little deeper, he could no Macon easy decision. He stopped trying to emulate his dad, run instead to stay healthy and fit doing the occasional scenic trail race rather demanding big city marathons. I also taught him that must do flexibility and core exercises he could now do. In the time it freed up, his number of enforced rest days fell dramatically on. While he still had his lazy habits, he was now at least willing to do some injury prevention work. 11. Club Clive: so moving now to a club. Clive biggest challenge for him was this willingness to sacrifice math and success to feed the status anxiety he fell in his local running club. He was way too competitive on club nights around too many races for club points rather than marathon practice. So after a fast practice race on the Sunday he couldn't wait to show off his impressive form. But the next Tuesday club night. Now racing stresses the musculoskeletal system even more than hard training. So I suggested he took things easier that Tuesday night and avoided any hard road running to maintain his focus and motivation. I pointed out that club runners have different training objectives, plus varying levels of fitness and conditions. Don't always suit hard training anyway. We agreed to make club sessions one of the weekly easy runs, unless the training conditions in timing suited harder workouts. He started to see the bigger picture and channeled more, have his competitive drive into achieving marathon success rather just club coins. He quickly became popular in the club and enjoy training with a wider group of runners laden constantly proving his fitness to the fastest group that shoes there. He joined the slow, agree and shamelessly bragged about his successful practice race. He moved his next hard session to the Thursday and I had a great 12. Obstinate Ollie: So we next meet obstinate on Lee. The biggest challenge for this character is he likes the idea of having a running coach, yet he's still knows best, so ignores crucial advice with often damaging consequences. In particular, he hated the realistic part of smart objectives on confused over confidence with overreaching. He was in a typically bullish mood in his consultation with me. He wanted to run five marathons that yet, and make sure he got a new PB. He wasted opportunities in the past through reckless race tactics, so didn't want the pressure of just one shot. To put things right, I suggested that five marathons in one year would restrict his preparation time, especially his. He had a demanding job, while the lack of recovery time would take its toll on his body and mind. He counted that celebrities have ran multiple marathons in a year for charity, so I reminded him that none of them had a sub three hour PB in their sights. But he insisted that he was up to the challenge, citing every extreme endeavor from ultramarathons Scott Crossing the Antarctic and demanded that I set his program for the whole year. I fully refunded his investment in my coaching on wished him well. I heard through the local running network that he completed five marathons, but times were poor and he was currently laid off with a stress fracture. 13. Finish Line: So Aziz, we reached the finish life. I hope you enjoy this simple yet powerful stories. There are more I can share with you further down the road, such as a simple switch empty Eric May to stop hitting the wall when he was just minutes away from math and glory. Or how tedium Ted injected motivating variety into is monotonous training schedule or the mental wax alive? Nervous? Norris, too, sleep silently and avoid his worst marathon night mess that all based on real situations involving runners just like you on. While the solutions were often tactical, the transformations all required and mental shifting gears to be effective, don't underestimate their power in helping you conquer that giant marathon challenge. Yes, there were similarities between them because personalized training on a healthy mindset of common themes for success. And, yes, they were quite extreme cases, which means the adjustments you make will hopefully be much easier. And, yes, some solutions may have seemed quite obvious. And yet, so pick out the techniques story. If having a good action is so simple. One is, by techniques so commonplace the's stories work on a deeper level and just picking up a few tactical tips and tricks on they help stop you from slipping back into those barred habits