Sense - totally agree with malcs on the speed work. I believe this was key to me achieving sub3. I found the Yassoo 800's a pretty good indicator of marathon performance. I always warmed up with a pacy mile around the track and then straight into the session.
On weight loss - it is said that every pound lost is worth 2 secs per mile over the marathon distance. What is there not to like about losing 10lbs in weight and running 20 secs/mile faster "for free"!?
Obviously there is a limit to using weight loss as a way of going faster and being that thin is not necessarily a "good look". My wife hated it and my mum always said I looked ill!
Sense - not a great believer in luck, particularly when it comes to marathon running, So I won't wish you "good luck" but to say that I hope your race goes to plan.
Malcs - as someone once told me, "It is not your legs that stop you running it is your brain". London 2010 was my first sub3 and I came within one stride of actually giving up on it. It was about mile 19 my legs felt like they would explode and as I took some lucozade sports from a drink station I felt quite sick (for the first and only time in my marathons). I remember it to this day. I started to slow and was within a stride of stopping. Won't bore you with the details of what went through my mind, but I basically gave myself a good talking to and crossed the line 7 miles later in 3:28.
When I ran London I used my garmin for the early miles but when it started to drift out after Canary Wharf I did the corrections in my head. As you say, after my first couple of Londons I realised I needed 6:40-6:45 pace from the start to get under 3 hrs.
Dave - for me the only way to bounce back after a disappointment was to set another target that meant enough to me to get through that period.
Malcs - I have a pretty good half conversion to full marathon. (Half pb 1:27 full 2:57.)
Rightly or wrongly, I have always put this down to the fact that I do all my long training runs at a much higher average pace than generally recommended. Also, I have always done the full 26.2 distance in training once before each race, right from my very first marathon - again not generally recommended!!!
Conversely, I don't do a single mile of my training runs at marathon race pace. The one and only time I do that is on race day.
Of course this could all be a rationalisation for the fact that I only have "One Gear"
Congratulations Malcs on your pb and a great report.
I think anybody who is really pushing themselves for a time is really going to feel pain in their legs for the last 3-6 miles - I know I do!
The first time I went for sub 3, I ended up with 03:00;48. Although it was a pb by 7 minutes I was absolutely gutted! It is very hard to run an even pace for London when you are really pushing for a tough time. I know that I will always be 3 to 4 minutes slower for the second half so need to have the spare minutes in the bag from the first half.
It just made me more determined to do it which I achieved two years later and I am sure you will if it is that important to you.
As you say, the Fast GFA made me feel (almost) like a real runner!