Cool mornings the last couple of days, fall is approaching, even though it doesn't say so on the calendar. Time to start thinking about a fall marathon. Only have about 4 or 5 different marathons to chose from every weekend from now until the end of spring. Easier to decide on which training program to follow or make up your own.
In the past I've always used a set marathon training schedule, with everything laid out week over week. That's the approach I've taken for the last 12 years. This year is different, I'm flying by the seat of my pants. Nothing written down. I'm just going to run every day, that'll keep my running streak alive. Run fast once or twice a week or as the mood hits me. Run long at least once a week. Throw in a few fast finish long runs. Mix in some trails and run lots of hills and lots of miles.
I do plan on trying to average close to 80 miles per week. That's the one thing certain week over week. My last marathon effort was simplified by running more miles than I've run in the past. I'm to cheap to hire a coach and not fast enough that it would be worth it anyway. But, even a coach isn't a guarantee of training someone to a peak effort. Just look at the latest American Record broken in the 5k.
Jack Daniels Running Formula has helped me to set personal records in the every distance except the marathon. I'll sprinkle in a few of his speed workouts to get some leg turnover. Never did read the entire book. Once a runner is probably the only running book, I've read cover to cover. Most running books are pretty dry reading. I don't really care to know the science of why I need to run 20 miles, only that it's going to build some endurance, so I don't have the death march going in the last 10k of my next marathon.
Greg McMillan's program worked realy well in my last marathon effort, but I really only used three of the key workouts every week. I'm a big fan of his approach and his calculator works pretty well to give some guidelines on training paces and goals. I gave up on the trying to run long runs without any carbs. That's a disaster for me. Though I have trained my body to require less water.
Malmo's manifesto is great in it's simplicity. Other programs work for some, Hal Higdon, Jeff Gallowy and even FIRST. Dozens of marathon training programs out for the first timer, as well as those trying to qualify for Boston.