Fighting the fight of the non-gifted athlete, coupled with the fact that as a triathlete I am jack of all trades but master of none, I have found the perfect remedy for me and others who might be in my same predicament. It's a book called Run Less Run Faster by the editors of Runner's World Magazine (a fave).
This book outlines a "three plus two" plan that eliminates non-essential running miles and provides three quality runs each week including a tempo, track and long run. You are also required to do two cross training days, so I swam and biked while I was in marathon mode.
I have been following this plan for two years after my miserable marathon in Minnesota, and most recently in Utah a couple of weeks ago.
My two cents: this plan works. I took 17 minutes off my best marathon time, which I had done 4 years previous. And the best part, if you have questions or concerns about any part of this plan, you can email the authors directly and they will give you one-on-one advice and help. Bill Pierce and Scott Muir, especially, gave me advice on where to start in the book and what to do post marathon to ramp up for my next Ironman. Props to these guys for helping me run less yet achieve more, stay injury free, and be excited about running!