Re: P&D (which I don't know intimately because I've not followed it, but I have read the book), I think any schedule is ripe for a bit of tweaking, no matter how well regarded in general. Even if somebody didn't have a clue, and might be best putting their faith in the schedule, isn't there an argument for adapting according to the individual's strengths, and particularly according to what their normal training week looks like? A decent club runner coming from a 5k/10k background, tackling their debut marathon, may adapt quite differently from the seasoned marathon runner looking to get quicker by adding quality to lots of miles.
I've not followed a published schedule since Hal Higdon's Intermediate II back in 2007. (Kinell!) Each subsequent campaign has been an evolution from there, but the original plan (all easy runs and a bit of MP) looks nothing like what I do now. And just to complicate matters, having taken a different approach again this time, I'm less clear than ever on the MP vs. LT vs. VO2 max question. (Discuss!)
I agree with Phil, you should adapt a schedule according to your strengths, or maybe to address your weaknesses, but I would also add that you should keep within the spirit of the schedule. So for P&D, one of its strengths as TR points out is the volume of supportive mileage in the shape of lots of runs from 8, 9 10 miles + the MLRs.
So, in lieu of being able to add everything you want to a schedule I would say you should list the different elements of training you want to include in order of importance and then add them in in that order. At some point you are going to run out of space but should have the main bits in. For me as a reasonably experienced club runner but Marathon novice my list will be something like this:
Easy mileage base
Medium long runs
Longer tempos / MP runs
Obviously things can be mixed up, 4 and 5 incorporated in 2 and 3 etc.
Fair point on following the schedule as it's written, just thinking about where I would tweek the sessions to suit me. I cant remember the exact details without digging the book out, but I am sure there are more VO2max interval sessions than MP runs. For me a few 5k/10k interval sessions aren't the thing that is going to determine a decent Marathon but the ability to comfortably hold onto MP for as long as possible is more useful IHO. Not saying these intervals have no place, just if I were going to tweek P&D, that's where I'd do it.
Good idea keeping those 30/30 sessions going through winter, nowt wrong with working on speed in base. Some folks use hills for a similar effect In winter.
Good to see you running decent mileage again Bains. Are you VMLM’ing next year?
Banksy – well done on getting out there and having a bash at Valencia, sounds like a tough day out but plenty of lessons to be had from the experience.
Lev – admirable dedication post Marathons, but not sure all the pool running is necessary, would have thought putting your feet up for a while would be of as much benefit?
Fingers crossed for the foot then Padams, I am sure plenty on here would love to see what you can do for the Marathon next year.
PP – not sure on the start having never run it, but I would have thought the GFA start would be the best place for you, that’s Red isn’t it?
Has anyone here run the Liverpool Half Marathon? If so would be good to hear what you thought of it. It was in March this year and is scheduled for March 29th in 2015, so 4 weeks before VMLM. Thought it might serve as a decent pre Marathon build up race + its easy logistically for me, so will be an easier sell to the SPO etc…
I am a Marathon novice, so no expert but I would say more of the same for you should get you there. You have made improvements using the P&D plan already and you were pretty close to sub 3 shape at NYC and quite possibly already there. So, another block of decent training and a good day at Manchester or London might get you over the line.