I am a well known non runner but completing a marathon has always been one of those things I have to do before I die. I secured a ballot place for the VLM in 2012 which due to an ankle injury I deferred until 2013. As I've known about my place for some time I have been gradually building up my long runs by 1 mile each week and have just completed a hilly 10 mile race in 1hr 43 mins and have my sights on a 2hr 10 Royal Parks Half in a few weeks. I have also entered Brooks Hell Runner South (10 - 12 miles of hell?!) in November, Brighton Half in February and am planning to enter a 20miler in March.
My question is, having built up to this distance what should I be doing over winter in terms of long runs? Most of the marathon training plans I can find are for 16 weeks which would mean starting in late Dec / early January so I'm not sure what long runs to do between now and then. Should I continue building the mileage over winter, keep it the same or focus on faster shorter runs? My original plan was to alternate between 12 and 15 milers each week with a shorter 6-9 mile run every 4th week between now and late December then start building the mileage by 10% each week but given that I'm currently running a 10 minute mile 12 - 15 miles takes 2 - 2.5 hours which seems quite a lot every sunday until after christmas (bearing in mind I still dislike running!).
I should probably say that due to a seriously busy lifestyle and 4 hour a day commute to work the rest of my training consists of:
1 x 40 min easy jog and tabata session
1 x hill session on the treadmill (ususally 6 x 1 minute at 6-8% incline) with 2 min at 1% jogs in between
1x 40 mins weights session focusing on lower leg strengthening
Plus lots of foam rollering and a 4 mile gentle run, barefoot jog or yoga when I can muster the energy.