Good luck Tom - hard yards are done. Stay focused, execute the plan and you will have a 2:xx:xx to savour for the rest of your life anytime a marathon is mentionned....sure you'll make this the first of many.
Tom - many people find predictors optimistic but I think this is code for "maybe I'm not as fit as I need to be". Remember these are often based on conversion times from elite/sub-elites so depending on where they are in the pecking order they may struggle.
Second point: if you try and compare a 1 mile or 5k time to a marathon prediction the margin of error must be huge. Obviously a HM time on a similar coursewould provide a better comparison
Finally, I would imagine the predictors work on even splits - if you burn your matches in the first 10 miles they can't help and of course, if you are a "super-converter" (can pull off negative splits), they may not be very accurate either!
Short answer - a guide, and I would imagine that more races have been ruined by people "believing" the prediction rather than the other way round.......no evidence, just a hunch.
Good luck on the gentle rehab Speedy and others on the bench, or just hopping off it.
Tom - you're ready. Cotton wool this week and then "Bon chance, mon ami........."
I'm a few weeks behind you guys heading into VMLM and just had my final blast (yesterday) at the Maidenhead Easter 10m. A nice race and it went well, 65:57 (chip). Last 20m (all easy) tomorrow and then onto the taper trail.
Some great training been done by a lot of people on here and I've enjoyed following the interaction with Steve (coach) & Ruth (nutritionist) - good luck one and all.