Today, I drove to my old college. I was taking my daughter (#3)to visit the school as it is one she is considering.
On the drive, we passed many places where I had run races while in college. My biggest regret from my college days was the lack of a coach. Yes, the college had a coach if you could call him that. He was really only one of the professors at the school who basicly volunteered to help us have a cross-country team. He knew nothing about developing runners...so my running suffered.
After college, I worked hard for 10 years to develop my running and did a halfway decent job...but I was self-coached. I managed a 3:07 marathon, but I was in shape to have run sub 3, but I didn't have a plan...so even in that great run...I know now I could have been even faster. The other problem with being self-coached is that you drive yourself into the injury zone by over training and not getting enough rest...so in my 30's, my body began to breakdown. So my advice: find yourself a coach. Someone who knows what they are doing. That way you can enjoy your running and improve.
(Side note: I have four children and out of respect for their privacy...and the fact that I've preached about them from the pulpit once to often will respect that privacy)