To qualify for the Marathon Olympic trials, you have to run a 2:19 Marathon, so how do Olympians train for a Marathon? If you have ever trained for a marathon, you know that it takes a significant amount of dedication and training just to complete it at 4:30 (average men's time ages 18-35), so how is it that anyone is able to run almost twice as fast, at a grueling pace of 5:18 per mile (which most people can't even sustain for one mile, let alone 26.2)?
Olympians are competitive by nature. Most people take up running because they want to lose weight or they want to belong to a social group, but Olympians run because they want to win, they have to win. This is where their training starts, in this "winning" mind set.
Olympians train for a marathon, every day on their training schedule, regardless of whatever else might be going on. Olympians train for the Marathon by treating their runs as something they have to do, something that is not optional. Most Olympians have a coach. Olympians training for a marathon don't decide to stay inside because of bad weather. They don't go out and drink the night before a run. If they work, they get up early to run or they run in the dark (or both).
Olympians train for a Marathon by running anywhere from 90 to 120 miles on average, each week. This includes hill workouts, speed workouts and easy, long runs.