Well done on finishing Gaz. That took guts. Pun intended.
2:40 shouldn't elude you for long. Like you said: a 20+ mile run or three as well as a few types of longer tempo/marathon pace sessions will get the body prepared and the mind convinced to 'let' you run that fast (Timothy Noakes' Central Governor Theory is worth a read if you're not familiar with it).
I'm a few seconds off the sub 2:40 club myself so have unfinished business with the distance.
My AP write-ups for Berlin 2011 (2:42:03) and London 2012 (2:40:02, by my watch) may be of use... if you can stay awake through the waffle.
Essentially I resolved to do the longer, faster runs and a bit more volume 'next time'.
Maybe I'll join you in a 2:39:59 mission next year!
I have heard about the central governor theory and it makes sense to me, never bought the idea that lactate build-up caused a decrease in performance. I have always been careful to keep my core temp down while running, on Sunday this might have gone too far - I poured water over my head before tower bridge and got really cold when on the bridge. Can really relate to the need to convince yourself you can run that fast.
2 seconds off is as good as there :)
I'm tempted to do a marathon other than London next time, but won't rule out joining you, as having company for the same pace would make it so much easier!
company for the same pace in training probably more important?
check out Pete Hodges' training log from his run-up to Manchester. Tuesdays were normal sessions, Thursdays tempo runs at marathon pace up to about an hour, Sunday long runs working up to 20+ miles - although it went a bit tits up on the day due to hip issues, the work was there (and showed in XC races in the build up)
Yup you are right. I have access to a bunch of fast guys here in Nottingham, I plan to ask them to crank it up when we go out in the future.
Yeah the core temp thing is another limiting factor in marathon performance. There have been fast 'big' guys but they never win the Olympics. Proportional surface area: Spring and Autumn marathons, they can get away with; sweltering summer championships, not so much!
I had Mike Sprot, Ross McLennan and Paul Couldridge (orienteers all) through halfway. It was ace to share pacing duties and grab drinks for each other.