My graduation to spring marathons was almost accidental. I had joined a running group to prepare for something in mid-November, liked the group and so kept running with them two or three times a week to be sociable. After another 7 or 8 weeks of running, I realized that I was doing reasonable distance in an Ontario winter.
The key to winter running is to be ready to slow down and plod if necessary. It's more work running through snow and worrying about keeping your balance on ice. Breaking something won't bring you success in the spring.
Speed work is more difficult in the winter - that may be the only justification for treadmills other than summer heat in the deep south - but I find it easier to stay motivated running outside.
Take your two or three weeks to recover from the half with easy running; then maintain a reasonable base from which to go on to the marathon program. You will likely want to average 25 to 30 miles a week in November and December. Start at the beginning of the marathon program - if it is aimed at taking someone from nothing to a marathon in 16 weeks, I'ld find something else - and work your way along. There are lots of programs which recommend 18 or 20 weeks planned training before a marathon, and you should not assume that what you've done in the fall will have much of an impact on your fitness 3 months later.
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