Also, just to add, if you look at the plan as a whole, it can seem quite daunting because of all the speed sessions. But I found it's easier to just take each week at a time as there's usually just one tough session a week and sometimes you may want to replace these with a race or a parkrun.
Big G, sorry for late reply, we travelled to Tenby today where we are staying for a few days. I'd recommend the P&D plan. I don't think it's that drastically different to the Shades level 2 plan in that it includes a long run, a mid week longish run and varied speed sessions, with easy runs in between. I didn't find the marathon pace runs too bad (although for the one with marathon pace in a 20 mile run I used a 20 mile race). The sessions I found really hard were the ones with half marathon pace included. I really struggled to get the pace I needed for these, but I do think they really help with half marathon times (good idea to book a HM a couple of months into the plan as I think you'd have a good chance of getting a PB). I think for a lot of these sessions I ended up doing a couple of the miles on the track! This year I also missed out a lot of the intervals in the final bit of the plan as I had ITB problems and didn't want to risk it. I saw these final sessions more as the icing on the cake and I think as long as you follow 80 per cent of the plan, that's OK. A lot of people on the P&D thread follow the 55-70 plan but I think I would break if I did that many miles. But I did up the distance on a couple of the long runs as I like to get lots of 20mile + runs in.
Good luck Jugula, hope you have a good trip and race.
I went to watch my 10 yo in a borough XC championships yesterday. He ran a good race, staying in 4th place for the first half mile (out of about 60 or so boys). Then he and a friend took the lead, they just had about a quarter of a mile to go which involved going up and then down a hill. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw them holding hands going up the hill! My son said he was helping his friend who was tired but then in the final sprint his friend took the lead and Max (my son) came 2nd. Still a good position but I think I need to encourage more of a competitive spirit!