Posted: 23/12/2013 at 09:26
Maccydee, I've always worried about the pace for long runs and how it translates to marathon pace. Having done my first marathon with a half time of 1:50 I ran 4:03:02 in 2008. My long runs were somewhere between 9:15-9:50 pace.
I set a PB of 3:59:04 in 2010 doing long runs at 9:15-10.15 pace, usually the sharper end of that. Another 4 marathons run with times varying between 4:02 (April 2013) and 4:19 using similar paces.
Then this year I did a September marathon using Pfitzinger & Douglas 12/55 plan. to support what others have said, the long runs were slower. I think I probably ran somewhere around 9:45 on average (my half time had improved to 1:45) and I did worry that I couldn't sustain race pace - all I wanted was a sub 4!
On race day I set off at roughly 9 min miles, got to 10 miles and was feeling good. Sped up a fraction, and ended up running 3:45:12 with a 9 minute negative split. I have never finished a race feeling so strong!
To me, this speaks volumes about the conservative start and the need to trust in your plan. If the speed work in the week is tough it will pay off longer term. Since then, I've taken my half to 1:39, 10 mile to 73:15 and 5k to 20:54, none of which I'd have done previously, especially the half.
Listen to these guys! They know what they're talking about!