1. Choose the marathon you want to run, then begin the program exactly three months earlier.
2. The schedule presumes that you're starting from a base of about a half-hour of running a day. If you're significantly below that, don't begin this programuntil you've reached that basic level.3. If you're running more than 35 minutes a day, start later and at the appropriate place in the schedule. There is, of course, no reason to back down.
4. Typically, the weeks will run from Monday (Day 1) through Sunday (Day 7), with the longest run on Saturday. But weeks can start and end anywhere you want.
5. One day a week - labeled "optional" - is left open for rest or as a makeupday if you've come up short for the week.
6. The entire schedule has alternating long and short days to allow cycles of work and recovery. They're planned on about a 1-2-3 ratio; a short run is one part, a medium-long run two parts, and the longest three parts.
7. The program calls for a five-week buildup, leveling off at an average of an hour a day for seven weeks and then a one-week easing off before the marathon.
8. In the next-to-last (11th) week of full training, you're asked to go at least a half-hour longer than ever before. This is a confidence builder.
9. You are trying to accumulate an average of an hour a day for an eight-week period (all averages are figured on seven-day weeks). This theoretically gives you the ability to run for four hours or to race for three hours.
10. Three months includes 13 weeks, and we give only 12 here. We hope you aren't superstitious, because the 13th is race week. "Taper" all week with runs averaging about half the normal - 30 minutes a day.
11. Do all your training about the pace you expect to maintain for the full marathon at the end of the program.
12. You may run a race of 5-10 miles in the second month instead of the long runs. But this is not a requirement.