I began running stronger marathons after weekly mileage reached the 60’s. I agree it was a factor in my kast 2 races. Other factors that contributed was being in my 3rd year of running (longevity) and overall annual milage (3000+).
My training paces are faster than before (relative to planned goal pace) but I don’t see them as being excessivly fast. My long run pace is still 25 seconds slower than planned race pace. In training it is maintained for 2-6 miles less than the race distance, and only over the final 1/2 to 1/4 of the run. Most of the early miles are done 35-45 seconds slower than goal pace.
More than 45 sec/mile slower than MP feels uncomfortable to me. My stride feels ‘wrong’, my feet strike with a noticable ‘clomp’, and I develop pain in the shins that only goes away when I pick up the pace. I am a mid foot stiker normally but tend to heel strike at slower paces so this is part of the problem.
If I was asked to rank the factors in order of importance I would not rank the change in training pace near the top. My list would be:
1. Weekly/Annual Milage (sustained high mileage over a long period)
2. Long Runs (frequent, year round, not only during marathon build up)
3. Medium Long Runs (1 or 2 of these a week for endurance)
4. Tempo Runs (push the lactate thershold to stay aerobic at faster pace)
5. Faster LSD Pace (finish at or faster than MP, average pace closer to MP)
6. Hills,Intervals (Probably responsible for less than 5 mins of race time)
The only reason I stress item 5 is that the others would be on anyones list (perhaps arranged differently). But most advocate doing lsd’s slower, not faster, so it is the one element that goes against traditional advice.