Plenty of plans have weeks where the long run is run at marathon pace on certain weeks for part of the run. e.g. Pfitzinger & Douglas 55-70 plan has several weeks. Example - 5 weeks out, 18miles with 14m @ MP.
Within my own long runs I incorporate several paces, and will do extended periods at marathon pace every few weeks. It helps to get a feel for the pace and can let you know where you are in your training.
I agree, blocks a marathon pace is a good idea. Things like easy first 10M at MP + 30s then second 10M @ MP. Or my favourite 26M with miles 15-20 @ MP - 10s per miles and 20-25 @ MP. Loads of a variations, but getting used to running MP on tired legs helps everytime.
Also I'm interested at the peak mileage of 21M, I tend to complete 5 or more at 22+ and tend not to run out of gas, just a thought
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