TP - that sounds a bit miserable. Hope you're feeling better soon.
Stuart - yes, just gradually increase up to your 20 milers. No sudden increases in mileage, either for individual runs or weekly mileage. Says the woman who's planning to go from 16 to 34 miles for her long runs in January .
Stuart - working back you have 13 weeks before the three week pre-race taper starts, and you want to get up to 20 miles in training, ideally a couple of times (In an ideal world we would all be doing 5 x 20 milers, but especially for a first marathon when you're not used to the mileage I wouldn't recommend it). So you need to get to 20 miiles by week 11. From a starting point of 8 miles that's about an extra mile a week. Allowing for a few easy weeks where you cut back on your mileage, you could make that two. But no more than that.
Yes, that's me ahead of the elites at this year's Great Ethiopian half . The fact that they started half an hour after us is neither here nor there. No, I don't understand why they did that either, but it made for an extraordinary experience when a hundred or so of them went belting past.
Stuart - welcome! Aberdeen supporter, you say? Probably best not to mention sheep then .
The main thing to remember in your training (and this goes out to all the first timers) is that the long SLOW run is the most important part of the training. It should be a minute to a minute and a half per mile slower than your race pace. The object is not to try and replicate race conditions - you may be doing sections or whole runs at other times during the week at race pace - but to train your body to burn fat. That way you will conserve your glycogen (carb) stores for longer, and avoid hitting the wall.
Did someone call? Sorry for being missing in action earlier, but I see ATM has stepped into the Morrissey-shaped breach.
KS - without knowing your planned mileage it's hard to say for sure, but the shape of that plan looks about right. My one comment is that I wouldn't race a parkrun and do a full-on speed session in the same week. If you do a mid-week session, cut the pace at the parkrun, and maybe add some miles before and/or after to make it a longer, easier run. If you race the parkrun, make the midweek session a longer easy run.
Homebrew - are you planning on doing the Edinburgh parkrun on Christmas Day? I'll be visiting and I'm hoping to put in an appearance, mince pies permitting.