When my running buddy at work Leah killed her half marathon a year ago with a 1:50, a PR of over 25 minutes, she immediately started thinking 3:59 for the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon. After all, there was plenty of time to train, over a year.
Never mind that her marathon PR was 4:51, she now had a substantial base and a plan. She asked me to coach her, which was very flattering since she had just beaten me by almost four minutes in the half.
I thought she could do it, with the proper training. Ah, there's the rub!
We ran the year round, but there were certainly no 15-milers, or even any 10-milers in there, and her base reverted to the 6-mile base we both normally have which is the maximum distance we can run at noontime and get back to work without being too delayed. She hyper-flexed her knee in a hockey collision over the winter, an injury that bothers her to this day, and she couldn't run for many weeks, but she didn't ask me for any running advice and I saw no training plan emerge as spring turned to summer, and suddenly her 26.2 mile race was a mere 12 weeks away.