Tom as others have suggested you have a lot of pace already so you could be in for a top debut.
And re the P&D schedule it has plenty of long and medium long runs (and they're not easy because of the pace). The schedule is brilliant for getting you in optimum marathon shape. I followed the up to 85mpw one to the letter and it got me a sub 2:30. And yes it has a few runs over 20. Nothing excessive but for a first one as TR aludes to its all about reaching the startling fit and uninsured. P&D is such a well balanced plan and I couldn't recommend it highly enough for someone likeyourself who clearly has some running talent and is tackling their first marathon.
Maybe after you've done a couple then start thinking about what bits really work for you and whether full/over distance are necessary. I get a lot of comfort out of doing a couple over/full distance but I have done 16 of them now so know what works best for me and importantly what I can get away with!
My initial reaction is one of simple relief that after all I'd been through in the last 12k I had still managed to PB! As the minutes pass I see Andrew Leveson (2:25:37 - also had stomach issues but from very early on), Dave Archer (2:25:40 - a solid time for a first proper effort at the distance) and Andrew Challenger (2:26:07 - a sizable and well deserved PB after some great training).
It was then back to the hotel for a quick shower and back out to the pub where a big group of us got stuck into another kind of marathon. One things for sure I'm not that good at pacing a marathon involving beer. It was fantastic to relive all the war stories of the day, including some great PBs from most in attendance. I was delighted to hear first hand of John Gilbert's great run (2:15:49) as well as those from Jonathan Poole (2:20:38), Phil Sanders (2:30:30), Paul Griffiths (2:31:59), Stuart Beaney (2:38:37) and Thomas Musson (2:48:38). Ben Martin-Dye had also had a Wunderbar time (2:54:19) trotting leisurely around the German capital.
Now it has all sunk in a bit I am still proud of how I had dug in so deep to eek out a PB with the hand I was dealt on race day. Of course I am a little frustrated that my body let me down with the stitch which prevented me from going as quick as I believe I should have. I honestly think it probably cost me at least 60-90seconds, maybe a little more. In fact my legs have never felt so good after a marathon and I do think that it's because I simply couldn't push them to the absolute limit! That said I was still always conscious of my glute and hamstring issues throughout the race so if I can get that resolved then I should be running smoother and quicker still.
Whilst this whole 20 week build up started with the loose arbitrary goal of going sub 2:20 as race day approached in a strange way I didn't really know whether I was capable of a sub 2:20 time. Indeed I had decided sensibly to race the race as it came and with the fitness I found myself in on the day. Obviously I didn't manage to go sub 2:20 on the day, but I am now more confident than ever that I definitely do, in fact whilst one should never take anything for granted in athletics (anything in fact?!) I believe I can go quite a bit quicker than that. But first and for the next 12-18 months I am going to focus on getting much quicker over the shorter distances as that should translate to quicker marathon times in the future. I'm pleased to say that I am also formally going to start working with Mike Baxter as my coach as I have thoroughly enjoyed his support and guidance of recent months and if there's a bloke in the sport that knows how to toughen folks up it's him!
Thanks to anyone that has followed my inane blog over this period (and to Hania for putting up with me!). I'm sure I'll keep the blog going with periodic postings but for now it's back to the drawing board - big plans are afoot.
As we go through 30k I find myself becoming detached from the group I’m in and can’t quite get back to them. It’s a very strange experience because I don’t feel that tired and my legs feel OK but within just a few hundred metres I have developed an agonising stitch which really starts to affect my form and ability to keep pace. I try not to panic and keep at it. I was telling myself it was just a rough patch and it would soon pass. The truth is I have never suffered a stitch in a marathon before and didn’t know how to deal with it at the time. Frustratingly it didn’t really ease off completely at all from now until the end. I just got my head down and ran as hard as I could given the discomfort I was in. 5k in 17:08 (5:31mm)so I had slowed a lot in that section but given how far up I was still confident of getting a big PB. 35k in 1:56:46.
35k – 40k
As I reach the 35k mark I’m now starting to see if I can reel anyone in that is dropping off the back of the group I was in and do go past a few but I’m hurting a lot and know I'm slower still. There's just so much discomfort that I feel like I’m running like Pheobe from Friends! It's amazing how quickly a race can turn around. Despite going past a few folks my head is starting to drop because try as I might I know my pace is slipping a lot, my watch confirms it. 5k split in 17:33(5:39mm!) to 40k in 2:14:19.
40k - finish
I do a quick calculation in my head and realise that even the chance of a PB is slipping now. How could that be? I was so confident just a few short miles ago that I was going to obliterate it and possibly get under the magic 2:20. I had caught a guy up within the previous 5k and now it was going to be a race to the bitter end. We could work off each other to push each other to the finish. This was a different kind of marathon pain than I'm used to but I simply was not prepared to let myself not PB. I hadn't worked this hard and put all that work in, not to get a PB. Racing toe to toe with this guy I think helped as we really raced each other to the line. I managed to pick up the pace a little for this section 7:32 (5:31mm), 42.195k in 2:21:51 (5:24mm) and a PB by a whopping 21 seconds!