Below is the training preparation you should begin as soon as you find out that you have your place.
If you do this you will be fully prepared to begin the fully comprehensive training programme 16 weeks before the big day. This training programme is split into sections depending on your experience and the time you are aiming to complete the marathon in.
If you haven’t run before, walk and run very slowly for about 30 minutes at least 3 times a week. Break it down so that you walk for 3 minutes and then run very slowly for 2 minutes, it doesn’t matter how slowly. Afterwards stretch; please don’t neglect stretching after every run.
You probably run 3 or 4 times a week at a steady pace, you may have recently run a half marathon in about 2 hours. You have a good foundation to build up your marathon training.
Before your 16 week plan begins you should try to run for about 1½ hours slowly and steadily. At the end of the run you should feel comfortable it shouldn’t feel difficult. If you can run for a little longer again at a steady pace then that is even better. Try to do a long run AT LEAST once a week and do two other runs of about 5 miles perhaps with some bursts of speed.
If this is your target time then you have been running for a few years and your half marathon time will be about 1.40 –1.50 hours. Marathon training should not present a problem to you, it will be hard as it is for everyone but not too stressful.
Before your 16 week plan begins you should be aiming for 1½ hours or 12 miles at a very steady pace for your long run, with three other runs during the week. If you belong to a club one of those training sessions is perhaps a speed session and the other two are between 5 and 7 miles. Don’t neglect your stretching and try to do some core strength exercises, both will help you run faster and prevent injury.
Sub 3.30 hours
You are an experienced or very talented runner with a half marathon time of about 1.15 – 1.30. You probably run 5 times a week either with a club or with a training partner.
Before your 16 week plan begins you should run 12/13 miles at race pace on a Sunday and a steady run of 5 miles on a Saturday preferably on an undulating route.
Don’t neglect to stretch after all your runs and to warm up before you run particularly in cold weather if you want to avoid injury.
You can download the full plan here – Marathon Training Guide