With 16-20 weeks to"M-Day" now is the time to start planning ahead. Long spring and summer days are really inspiring to get out and build up your mileage. There are schedules for all standards available on the Loch Ness Marathon website, which are simple to follow and are proven to work.

If you are one of many people who find the challenge of sticking to a schedule hard, consider joining a local running club for camaraderie, support and one on one coaching from qualified people. Most running/athletic clubs are happy to accept runners of all standards, so don't be intimidated. Alternatively, your local sports centre or gym may have a running group. If your lifestyle prevents you linking with a group for advice there are now on-line coaches, sometimes at a cost.

Look up race fixture lists and plan a few shorter races to act as tempo runs. They improve fitness and keep the motivation going. Don't do too many- it's important not to over-race and to keep your eye on the big picture- Oct 1st.

Check out:

www.scottishathletics.org.uk for clubs and events in Scotland

www.ukathletics.net for clubs and events in the UK

www.runnersworld.co.uk for UK event listings

www.runbeyond.co.uk personalised on-line training

Ed'd note - also see Prachar's Marathon Schedules on our Australian site.