Just one more week of high (for me) mileage and I'm ready to prepare for peaking. I've got a 7 mile race tomorrow and a long run on Sunday, then a 25k next Saturday that I'm using as my peak workout MP run. Then--taper time. I'm going to base my marathon goal pace on my race tomorrow morning and then run that pace at the Ron Dawes 25k a week from tomorrow.
Peaking is a mysterious concept. The general consensus seems to be that in order to peak you should cut back mileage but still keep a couple of intense sessions to stay sharp for your goal race. The Brad Hudson plan that I did last marathon seemed to aim for peaking by adding more marathon pace or close to marathon pace runs with a couple of short but intense interval workouts thrown in. Other marathon plans seem to focus on hard interval workouts, making marathon pace seem easier by comparison.
Since my IT band injury has healed I've had a pretty good training cycle. I've gone back and checked my training logs from my last marathon and I'm definitely putting in more miles than last year and my paces have gotten faster. I'm hoping this translates into a marathon time of under three hours, but no matter what my training logs say I'm still going have to have a good race to make that happen. As they say in sports, "that's why you play the game." Or in this case I suppose it would be, "that's why you run the race."