I have completed week 2 of the 18 week training program I'm following (Hal Higdon's Novice 1 Marathon Training Schedule). Each week there is one long run and three shorter runs. I have decided to run one of the shorter runs at a faster pace (nearing race pace) and one on hills. The other shorter run will eventually get sorta-long so I'll run it at a slower pace -- the same pace I'll run the long run at.
The long run this week was 7 miles. I felt strong and didn't get my heart rate too high. I could have kept on going with no problem. The long runs are run at a pace slower than my anticipated race pace. The idea is to get accustomed to the distances and not worry about speed.
Every third week is a "stepback" week where the mileage is reduced to allow recovery in preparation for building up mileage in the next couple weeks. So, next week will be an easier week with the long run only being 5 miles. I don't feel the need for a recovery week yet but I'll follow the program and try to avoid injury.
I'm starting to feel more confident about actually doing the marathon although I have a long way to go still.