If you’re like most people, you find it hard to find time to train during the week, with the demands from work, life, family, etc. Once you have committed to running a marathon, you need to tell people about it. This puts you on the hook to make sure you have some accountability and support from your friends. This will also help others understand if you can’t make it to every “event” that pops up.
The most important part of your training is your long run, so this is where you should concentrate your efforts. The long run should only be done once per week to avoid over training. Subsequent runs during the week are to maintain your fitness level, but I consider this more like “filler mileage”, though still very important.
So during the weekdays, all you need to do is run 3 x 4 miles. This is not set in stone. There is no need to be rigid about this; just make sure you run 3 out of 5 weekdays.
Ex: Mon, Wed, and Fri: Run 4 miles
For the long runs, I use the following training schedule:
Week Long Run
21 & 22 taper
As you can see, this is a series of steps, where you gradually build up, and then take break. Then continue to build up. I have used this approach several times in the past as it has worked well for me. I hope this is useful to anyone wanting to complete their first marathon.