Something I remember from my last training cycle lends support to this opionion. I remember feeling like I was on-top-of-the-world about 1 month out from the race.
I think this is common. A co-worker of mine ran TCM last fall. He was thinking 3:04 with an outside chance at sub-3. He could only muster a 3:09 and afterwards said he thought he peaked a month earlier. It was still an 8 minute improvement over last fall, just because he was consistent all year long.
Perhaps its best to follow the advice of experts and get off the path I have followed for the past 2 years. Since I began running 2 years ago I have added more milage and more intensity every 6 months. That worked for me through my first 3 marathons (18 months) but it did’nt help me this past October.
Another one of my favorite quotes, “If you want the things you’ve never had before, you have to do things you’ve never done before.” Hell, you’ve only been running for 2 years, you still have lots of improvement ahead of you. Before you know it you’ll be talking about sub-3 not a BQ.
Its hard to change when for 18 months every increase in milage and intensity produced new pb’s and made running fast easier and easier.
Maybe try more mileage with less intensity.
Perhaps I have reached the point where simple increases will no longer produce the best results.
Again, you’ve only been running 2 years, I highly doubt that this is the case. When you’re talking about 55 vs. 60 miles per week I don’t think you’re going to see much difference. As I’ve posted before, for me there are different mileage levels when it comes to marathoning, 40, 55, 70, 85, etc. At 40 I can finish a marathon, 55 I’ll do okay, 70 will get me close to sub-3, 85+ still to be determined. As Double said in the post to Peter, find the days that work best for your schedule and maximize those days. Try throwing in a 2-3 easy morning runs per week, if possible.
Here’s another thought I had. I see a lot of marathoners run a spring marathon and fall marathon EVERY year. Especially in Minnesota, everyone run Gma’s then TCM. It’s okay to skip a spring marathon and focus on mileage then rip a fall marathon.