OP Here. I just ran a 2:59:35 this past Sunday. I once again did Daniels 2Q plan, followed the 55-70 mpw regimen, but added 5 miles onto every single week. Most weeks were 68 miles and four were 75.
Overall I found the plan a lot easier this year. my easy pace was faster and I never felt completely wiped as I did last year. Last year I skipped all stride work (you are supposed to do strides two days a week). I skipped them because I was exhausted. This year I did two every week. However, I did cut the two 10 mile tempo pace workouts down to 8. He calls for 4x2t, 2x1t. I just did the 4x2t.
During the cycle I PB'd a 5k, 10k, and half (17:40, 37:15, 1:25:25). I did not taper for any of those races, and in fact the half was run right after a 75 mile week (and was a pretty hilly course as well). I was shocked I was able to lower my times for these shorter races.
I think just going through the plan once already had made me much more fit. I did run about 50 miles a week over the winter (live in new england, lots of snowy, icy, and single digit runs) and when the weather cleared quickly got up to about 60 miles a week before setting off on the training plan again.
I'm a little bummed though. I've been chasing a BQ for about 5 years now, back when the time to beat was 3:05, and while I did "BQ", the odds of me getting in for 2021 are basically zero, as I wouldn't even get into 2020 with the time I put up.
I'm ok with it though. As I get older the times will relax. I'll make it. I do feel though I'm at about the peak of what I'm capable of running for a marathon. My shorter races indicate I should be able to run a faster marathon, and I am able to run 75 miles a week without injury, but I either lack the natural talent for it or don't have the pain tolerance.
As for a race report, I ran the first half at about 1:28, and I was cruising up through mile 21. After that it was just about hanging on. I was averaging about 7:10 miles and I knew as long as I could hold it I'd still make sub 3. The course had rolling downhills through the first half then just rolling hills the back half. It was a net downhill, but it seemed harder than the completely flat marathons I'd run before.
Anyway, just wanted to update. Sometimes I stumble into old threads and they really help with my training.