So, a two year gap and the next I followed the first plan again, all good for training but work changed for the worst and training tailed off Sub 3.30 but went out too fast. Similar case next one in 2015, but a little faster still (3.27). Decided that following a summer running shorter stuff, all sub 10 miles, and losing weight that this was the biggest change. Back to the first plan for the 2016 marathon, three runs but continued playing squash and upped my cycling to help me keep the weight down. 3.13. Definitely weight loss made a difference as I was also off the back of a chest infection for that one. Following the pacer helped immensely as I didnít blow up and even had to stop for a full minute for an, ahem, rest break. This was also the first time I ran my long run predominantly at the time of the actual race (also on a Sunday wherever possible) and this meant for the first time I was eating before the run (in the previous ones Iíd have, at most an energy drink and gels).
This year, first plan with three runs minimum, but more squash and cycling and definitely more weight loss. 3.07 with three toilet stops (still not sorted that) Still not quite there (sub 3) and may never get there (planning to run a later marathon next year similar to Paul)
But... whatís my point? My brother ran his first marathon this year and did 3.09 following the three runs plan. Tempo, interval and long. But listened to all my previous failings and what I had learned. The long run should almost always be easy pace (which I enjoy, but only having taught myself to), but as Paul said, pickups to goal pace/effort late on really helps for the real thing. As does doing the park run before or even at the end of the long run.
I also introduced more runs depending on my other activities and how I felt. Still doing the three runs in my plan but adding more if I fancied it and time permitted. This was my first time since the first marathon of going over 35 mile weeks. I also reduced gel intake to zero in training runs but ate before and found I could manage my energy requirements far better (really struggled in the first four).
So what will I do in addition next time, lower weight, similar runs but more speed work, really try to sort out my toilet stops! Keep avoiding running too fast on long runs except for deliberate pace/effort increases. The rest as above. Oh, and copy Paul , though he has made it difficult by changing his next planned marathon . Oh, plus also look into running clubs and partners now the kids are a little older and work is hopefully more manageable. I was also an early morning runner mostly through necessity (sometimes at 4 am). Experience has made the biggest difference but I think Iím getting there even though Iíve put on loads of weight since the marathon 6 weeks ago and feel like Iím plodding at the moment. I also need to sort my diet out long term too. I donít drink much alcohol but I really enjoy food, lots of it too.