I used this program for my first marathon - and came in at 3.17 (vs target time of 3.15), so yes it can work.
My 2 bob's worth:
As others have mentioned - this is not a 3 x a week training plan. It is 3 runs a week - the 2 x cross training sessions are as important. I used to do Spinning as one of those, and then mixed up my other session depending on what took my fancy at the gym
IMHO - this is not a good program if you get injured easily. The run paces are hard, really hard. So I would not recommend those without a good fitness base do this.
Interestingly - unlike others on here, I really enjoyed the plan and did not find it ruined my love of running. I loved the structure, the times that had to be hit etc, and the absence of junk / recovery runs which bore me...horses for courses though.
Over the last few years though - like others on here - I have adjusted my training program to what suits me and my body best.
Thanks Millsy - good way to think about it - 5 mile warm up and then a marathon. I have always been suprised at everyone marathon I do how many people pile past me, and it is incredibly satisfying when they all come back to you. The boost you get when you pick off people one by one is great. My favourite one is why I hear people around me go 'I feel great today - it is my day - I think I can run it 30 minutes quicker than I have trained for'....Always ends up in disaster.
Do one marathon a year - last year in the middle of Comrades training I did 3.35 (got injured 5/6 weeks later so had to pull out) - I feel in about 3.30 shape now (pb is 3.17 a few years back) - speed is no issue as can do 10kms in about 43/44 mins - will have done 7/8 runs over 20 miles in training (last 4/5 back to backs with 8/10 miles on second day.)
Have tried to do same pace on second day of B2B runs - but it has proved a real struggle so far, maybe I will try and slow down on day 1!!
Good advice on the hydration / gels etc - I know from experience I struggle with more than 3/4 gels as just make me feel like puking!!
On the race pace question - This week i did a marathon paced run of 13 miles at 8.22 - and then 23 mile LSR at average 8.43/51. I want to run the 50kms at around 8.18/20 - Does that sound doable? Or a, I dreaming?