I'm developing a marathon training program for myself based on popular models and I'm trying to figure out how long the pre-training phase should be and what specifically I should try to accomplish during it. I've been running 3 - 4 miles a day for about 2 weeks so far. Are there any general rules about pre-training length and goals?
3-6 months of steady mileage to get the muscles and connective tissue fitness needed. Lots of plans on-line I used Hal Higdon's for my 1st, lots to chose from. Good luck
There are a number of good books and online sources that talk about training methods. A couple books are "Advanced Marathoning" (Pete Pfitzinger) and "Daniels Running Formula" (Jack Daniels). A couple good online sources are HalHigdon.com and McMillanRunning.com (the Running University section).
Maybe look at some of the Galloway training plans. Also, consider joining your local running group to connect with experienced runners that will most likely have some great advice and more personal suggestions to advance based on your individual circumstances, expectations, goals and so on.
Wishing you every success!