This is from my 22-mile run Saturday, my last 20-plus mile run before the Austin Marathon. As you can see from the map, its pretty much the Austin Marathon course, and its the second time I've run this route in training, so I know where all the hills are (there are plenty!) Funny thing is that my time from Saturday (7:50 pace for the entire run) is pretty much the same time as it was two Saturday's ago (7:52 pace).
So, at least I've been consistent.
This is what I know: I can run this course. Period. No excuses. The last 8 miles are mostly downhill, and when I'm tired, downhills are my friend. The last two times I've gotten to Foster and Great Northern streets (which is mile 18 of the Austin Marathon course), I've been able to drop my pace to between 7:20 and 7:30 min/mile and hold it until the end of the long run, and that includes Saturday's run. (I know you see slower times at Mile 14 and 21 – but that's because I got held up by some traffic lights and didnt stop my Garmin).
Nutrition: It's all a go. The last two weeks, I wake up four hours before the run starts, eat a 390-calorie protein bar, down a bottle of Gator/Powerade. And that's it. I dont eat during the run. No Gu. No Gel. Just water and whatever powerade they have out on the course. Energy-wise, I've felt great in the latter stages of my last two long runs using this strategy. Tired? Yes. Hurting a little. Heck yes. But there is still something in the gas tank. And I think a good taper and carb-loading would easily carry me the last four miles.
Pacing strategy: Definitely gotta do the negative split thing. The hills from Mile 1 to 3 (south on Congress) and from 10 to 13 (north on Exposition from Town Lake to 35th St.) can take it out of you if you go out too fast. I plan on running slower than mgp pace for the first half, then pick up the pace when we cross Mopac on the 35th St. bridge and up Shoal Creek, then pick up the pace for the final 8 miles.