I am not good enough to have to worry about racing for position, so I didn't worry about having to do vo2max pace or anything particularly fast since I knew I wouldn't be throwing in or responding to surges. Instead, it was all about improving my lactate threshold.
sorry but I don't think vo2max work is just for responding to surges in the marathon. it's about efficiency over all paces. The only times I've ignored vo2max style workouts was for ultramarathon training but thats because I had major weaknesses in muscular endurance (basically hills late in the race) so I focused on that instead of efficiency and speed.