The coach

David Chalfen

David is a runner and coach with over 40 years experience, and 18 years in coaching with a focus on longer distances, up to the marathon.  Qualified at Level 4 (Performance - 10k to Marathon) within UK Athletics coaching system, and at Level 3 in Strength and Conditioning, he has extensive and diverse practical experience to support the formal qualifications.  From 2009-14 he was one of England Athletics Area Coach Mentors in Endurance. He has managed numerous elite runners, both African professionals and GB internationals, at big city marathons such as Berlin, Istanbul, Seville, and Lahore . He once hosted former World Marathon Record Holder, Patrick Macau (2.03.37!) at his house though claims no direct influence on this athlete beyond giving him two chilled lagers and a chauffeur service to Finsbury Park station. He has also acted as England Marathon National Team Manager.

His book 'Improve Your Marathon and Half Marathon Running' was published by Crowood in September 2012 and is on England Athletics' recommended reading list for endurance coaches and runners.  Four times Olympic and World Championships marathoner Dan Robinson said of the work 'His dynamism and expertise come across brilliantly in this extremely well written, useful and entertaining book'. The world renowned 'bible' of athletics, Athletics Weekly, reviewed the book with ‘Its pages cover everything you need to know in your quest for that perfect half or full marathon. ’ 

 He is now a member of Highgate Harriers and was previously atSerpentine Running Club and coach to many of that club's runners who formed the country's leading men's marathon squad. As a runner he achieved a 2.32 marathon and 10 sub-2.35s. He doesn't use any social media for the same reason that he doesn't have his teeth pulled out without anaesthetic - it would just make him uncomfortable.

In a professional capacity, he has picked up much best practice from working for several years on Sport England’s and UK Sports World Class Programmes that support elite British sport.
He says:-

By a mixture of luck and design my early running, from age 14 was with the mighty Shaftesbury Harriers and then 3 years at Oxford University Cross Country Club where my 'achievements' included being not good enough to reach Blues level and struggling with TS Eliot. But I had the running bug far more embedded than any actual athletic ability, and I stuck to the task and was pleased to earn some Middlesex vests in my late 20s. 

I started coaching 20 years ago after over twenty years of training and racing through the age groups. As a self-coached runner I was always very keen to put in plenty of miles but underachieved through not training smartly enough and not having an objective external guide to shape the training and recovery as sensibly as it could have been. 

The progress made by the numerous runners I continue to coach as a volunteer in the traditional club environment led me to extend the coaching commitments via this website. The technical knowledge and experience I have developed with many quicker runners is applied individually to runners at various levels.  

I stress variety and progression across all programmes so that, whilst one can never avoid doing the underpinning volume and regularity to make progress, there are an infinite range of different ways of structuring the training sessions to achieve the required physical challenge. Or to quote the coach of the 2016 GB Olympic Champions Hockey squad "If variety is the spice of life then repetition is the porridge".

Photo -  Maren Urner