The biggest obstacle in training someone to run a marathon is getting them to the start line healthy. There are several options for you: There are many good books and I personally recommend any of Hal Higdon’s books. He can guide anyone, from the beginner to advanced and many people have run under 3 hours using his training methods. I would also encourage you to take one of the USATF on-site coaching courses which is typically a 2 days commitment (www.usatf.org). I would not recommend the coaching course you can do online because the seminars are far superior and a provide more in-depth training. Good luck!
Depending on what kind of details you want to learn. I learned about how to plan for specific training in my college exercise and physiology class. I like to learn details, so I recommend a physiology book and exercise physiology. Reading what other people design is an option too. Which is why I started with depending what kind of details you want to learn 🙂
I recommend Jeff Galloway’s method for training for a marathon. I ran track and cross-country in high school and college. During college I ran a half marathon in 80 minutes and 50 seconds which is an average mile of 6:10. I joined a Galloway training group to prepare for my first marathon when I was 35. I was introduced to taking walk breaks and I thought it was ridiculous. I thought walking was for sissy’s. I thought to train for a marathon I would have to train really hard. I never took walk breaks during training. I actually trained too hard and by the day the marathon rolled around I was so over trained and tired I struggled with the race. At age 35 my time was a disappointing 4 hours and 33 minutes. Gradually I bought into the concept of taking walk breaks and at age 40 I ran my PR of 3 hours and 42 minutes. I have completed 15 marathons and five half marathons. I have coached many marathon and ten mile training programs and I always teach the Galloway method. Walk breaks help you to gradually increase your running distance while not beating up your legs. You stay fresher during your training run and recover faster from a long run so you are ready to run again in a day or two. I have read about other marathon training programs and have always felt in comparison to Galloway’s method that they are too intense for a first time marathoner. Joannis, contact me to tell me your running experience and I will share with you the marathon training schedule I use to coach my groups. Good luck to you. Denny