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Easy Peasy
RE: Jack Daniels 2Q is insane
That's why you need real down weeks. I think the default should be a down week every 4 weeks, but you can skip it if you feel fresh. As other posters have stated, you have to listen to your body and if you feel like total garbage you need a down week.

Regarding your fitness level, a 17:45 5K and a 1:25 half indicate a lack of endurance. You should be closer to a 1:22 half with that kind of 5K speed. I realize those might be a year apart though.

I would try to get a race in before your marathon, something like a 10 miler or half marathon. This should give you a good idea of whether your M pace is realistic or not. Even though you won't really taper into the half, I would say that you should be able to break 1:24 to have a realistic shot at running sub 3.

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