Mileage – up to 60 miles early, March Triple Crown (a real pain at the time, but kept me in tune with my capable speed).
Weight – I weighed between 15 and 20 lbs heavier last marathon.
Pacing – Learned to pace towards even run, pushing negative splits for races up to 13.1.
Light taper – I ran hard up to 3 days prior, but did reduce mileage the last 2-3 weeks.
NOT RECOMMENDED… Running a half-marathon the week before. However, it did happen to be a good tune-up and confidence boost.
Ran a course with early hills– like KDF, Pig, or the like — preferably without significant hills the back stretch. The hills kept me on my pace target instead of beyond it like the OBX marathon.
Run my PR marathon badly, by going out way too fast and crapping out at mile 15.
Kept a meticulous calorie log to maintain/lose weight.
Shoes – The new pair of Saucony Trigon Ride 5s really helped… I bought a 3rd pair of these and ran 10 miles or so just before the race. My previous shoe–Mizuno Wave Rider 9s–felt like it lacked cushioning past 20 miles in the marathon.