First off, finally...10 days after the first signs of my sore throat and cold, I feel back to normal. In fact, I ran for an hour this morning and felt o.k and right now, almost 11 p.m., I'm drinking Scotch, listening to oldies and typing on the keyboard. Now if you are more serious than me about your marathon training, do what I say, not as I do!
I've subscribed to Runner's World magazine for 15 years and have always felt it to be useful, motivational and informative. In my earlier years of training I used to read it in much more detail but today still scan it for useful tidbits. There's a ton of information in there and the magazine provides well balanced advice for beginning, intermediate and advanced runners.
Runner's World has initiated a Marathon Challenge that involves customized training plans, tips, advice, weekly emails from experts, a book and a t-shirt for $130. The plan last 4 months as you train for a Fall marathon. Some of you may be thinking, hey wait a second, 3 weeks ago, you told me we don't need training schedules! The point of that post was that you don't HAVE to have one. But the reality of it is that many if not most of you may WANT one!
So take a look at page 57 of the July 2009 Runner's World for a decent 16 week intermediate marathon training program. It involves ramping your weekly mileage from 25 to a peak of 48 as you increase the distance of your long run to 22 miles 3 weeks prior to your marathon. I like the fact that this plan has 2 complete rest days each week and the schedule is easy to read and use. Keep in mind when using pre-set schedules like these that they are not set in stone. As an example, if you prefer to take rest days on Sunday and Wednesday rather than Monday and Thursday, you can certainly do so.