Stephan and I have trained for all of our distance races with variations on Hal Higdon's training plan (while never actually using one of his plans). It includes one long run per week, and 2-3 shorter runs that increase incrementally as you get closer to your race. You never bump up more than 10% of your miles per week. You get a "rest" week about every 3-4 weeks or so (a week with lower total miles), and you have a 1-2 week "taper" week where you decrease your miles before race day. You also never run the full distance before the race.
I'm in charge of posting the weekly mileage to the family calendar and Stephan and I cross out the runs as we complete them.
But we're getting a little bored of the novice plans. So I looked up a different plan. A plan from Nike. This plan has 2 long runs per week, and increases 20%, has no rest week, runs much more than the race distance a month before the race, and puts a 12 mile run three days before the 13.1 mile race at the end of the plan.
We've been working on this schedule for about a month. It sucks. We're going back to the old way. But we've trained for so many races by now that he and I were able to put together a plan that works just out of our own heads. It's kinda fun to make up the training plan. I remember how religiously I took other people's planning: like it was the second set of commandments that Moses handed to a running buddy who mistook them for a relay baton and headed out to finish his leg but never came back.