Hi there. I just finished my first ever marathon last week (4/25/04). I had just finished a half marathon in 1/18/04, and so I was kind of pre-trained. Honestly, I made a hybrid training plan combining the beginning and intermediate plans on the Runner's World Website. I adjusted the schedule so that I ran 4 days a week (gotta have a life). Some other things that were important to me (besides the sticking to the schedule I made) was finding comfy efficient clothing for a variety of temps, good shoes, a good MP3 player (I swear by this one), GU, lots of pre and post running stretches, and Accelerade. Also, I learned how important it is to react to the way I felt w/food, both before and after running. With my training long runs I envisioned how I'd feel after the marathon and planned on being really hungry and having low blood sugar so I packed myself lots of treats.