PS - I live in Sheffield (Nottingham boy but moved up there 5 years ago to be with the missus) so am about a 10 minute drive to the Peak District. So that's a fair distance from Crow Edge although I have been running up near Dunsford Bridge which isn't too far away. Enjoy your time in France, are you taking your trotters ?
Sean - fnar fnar about Ladyblower ! One of the running podcasts I listen to advocates speedwork before you start your marathon training. Then, when you start doing your longer runs, your easy pace should be quicker due to your speedwork. Makes sense I guess so hopefully that will be the same for you when you start your training for your spring marathon.
Carl - I definitely prefer the longer stuff although training for this first race is tougher than I expected due to the amount of hills. In hindsight, I would have started off with something a bit easier and worked my way up to this one. But hey ho, I'm in it now so will give it my best shot. I like the look of your training plan, it's covering everything you need for a successful training plan. And good to see you aren't trying to cram in that 5th run every week, it will take the pressure off you a bit which can only help. Re your MP, as I'm sure you're well aware, 8:00 min miles will get you under 3:30, which is well within your grasp I reckon. Longer runs at 9:00 min miles and get some MP miles, or a tad faster, in them if you can. You're currently running some hard tempo/hill interval runs at a cracking pace on tired legs so you must be feeling very strong. All the signs are very positive for you nailing it in Chicago.
Nell - welcome back. Are you sure it was a holiday you've been on with all that running ?? Well done on getting the GFA for London as well. Do you always go with a 12 week marathon training plan rather than a longer one ?
This week, I have managed a lunchtime tempo run on Monday and a MLR on the hilly roads on Tuesday night. Whilst my legs are tired due to all these long, hilly, off road runs, I am definitely feeling stronger and I reckon I will start to feel the benefit come marathon training over the winter. An easy run this lunchtime down by the river followed by my last long training run on Saturday.
There seems to be a lot of people on other threads moaning about running in the heat; I suspect they probably moaned about it being too cold during the winter too !! I am finding it OK to be honest, providing I keep the water intake up. How is everyone else finding it ?
AM - I sort of cobbled my own together for Manchester but didn't really follow it in the end. If you recall, I previously had ITB issues, so was careful when I started my plan. Any time I felt the knee coming back I backed off, gave it 2/3 days rest and then started up again. Basically I ended up doing 1 good, solid week and then an easy week and this really seemed to work for me. I also felt it was really good to get my first 20 miler in as soon as I could, which I managed to do on week 3 (I had been building up to it before then so it wasn't as though I went straight into it). I also did very little speed work, no intervals and maybe a 4/5 mile tempo run every 2/3 weeks. My plan was also 20 weeks as I knew I would need flexibility due to Christmas, niggles, family life etc. I didn't do any warm up races either as at that stage I felt I was breaking when I pushed things too hard. During the 3 week taper I reduced the mileage and stepped up the speedwork focusing on 2/3 tempo runs per week. Only as I was tapering did I feel tired and it wasn't excessively. As a result, I went to Manchester feeling great and smashed my 4:00 hour target by 24 minutes and that had a 5 minute negative split as well. Looking back I think I could have pushed it even more I felt that good.
So, that approach has worked for me and my next plan for Manchester will look something very similar. My thoughts are that training plans are great as a guide but you will need to modify them to suit you. I certainly agree with you when you say you are going to take an extra rest day if needed, especially with you being on P&D. As has been said before, missing one or two recovery/easy runs wont affect your training.
Pete/Magic - I followed the P&D 18/55 plan in my attempt to run my first marathon 2 years ago. I say attempt as I failed due to injury and I think that following the P&D plan partly contributed to this. I found it tough going when entering the 2nd mesocycle and I seemed to keep breaking when doing 2 speed sessions a week until finally I could run no more. I was on a P&D thread on here as well and a high number of people got injured all around the same time. I'm not saying it doesn't work as I'm sure it does work for some people but just not for me. Good luck if you decide to follow that plan as I believe people who complete it do get some great results.
I'm finding the heat fairly bearable providing I can get enough liquids on my long runs. I'm currently training for a couple of ultras so my long runs are around the 25 mile mark and lasting well over 5 hours. I use a bladder but find after about 3 hours the same drink does get rather boring so I have been planning my routes to pass by shops so I cab get something different, which can be difficult when in the middle of nowhere ! I've waited a few months for this nice weather so I'm going to make the most of it while it lasts !