my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise

Dilemma – To run a Half or Full Marathon?! Please help me decide!

Me celebrating after completing the Robin Hood Half Marathon in September 2012

Me celebrating after completing the Robin Hood Half Marathon in September 2012

I have a dilemma. I was all set to run the Robin Hood Half Marathon for the second successive year this coming September. Last year, it was my first ‘proper’ running race, and I managed to do it in 1 hour 27 mins 32 seconds. Since January this year, and after reading Born to Run, I’ve been progressively building up my ability to run barefoot, alongside more conventional running in minimalist-style running trainers. As such, I’d planned to attempt the half marathon again this year, but with a twist…To run it barefoot! I figured I had plenty of time between now and September to steadily progress my ability to run distances barefoot, and I also thought this would make a good challenge from a fund-raising point of view, and might attract some publicity and some cash for a good cause.

To give my dilemma a bit more context, I’d been counting down to the London Marathon (run recently in April)  as I was eager to watch how Mo Farah got on in the first half of the race as he prepares to take on the full marathon in 2014.  I’ve always had a desire to run a full marathon too, and have always respected and admired those who have completed the distance.

As I now consider myself a bit more of a runner than I have previously, I thought that I could target the London Marathon 2014 and maybe get a ballot place so I wouldn’t have to commit to raising a certain amount of money for charity. However, despite remembering the night before the ballot opened that it was happening the next day, when I woke up on my busiest day of the week, it had completely escaped my brain. I think I even ran in to work, but even running didn’t provoke my mind into remembering to enter the ballot. I didn’t remember it was London Marathon ballot day until it was too late. I got home after work, went upstairs and only then did I twig what I’d forgotten. I was so disappointed. I checked the internet and it confirmed what I’d feared – I’d missed the boat. So, if I do enter the London Marathon now, I’ll have to apply through a charity and will need to raise about £2,000 – a lot of additional work on top of a full-time job, family commitments and all the additional, longer distance training I’d have to undertake to be confident of putting in a good time as well. It’s a big thing to consider…but that’s not my dilemma at the moment!

Recently I had a chance chat in the staff changing room with a colleague from the ‘big’ part of the school I work in. Apparently, it turned out that the organisers of the Robin Hood Half Marathon were now offering a Full Marathon option too! They didn’t offer that last year due to ongoing tram works in and around Nottingham. Suddenly, I now have an option to get in a marathon run on my doorstep before London (if I decide to apply) which I could use as a trial run for London, and get the experience of training for a marathon, which I could train for mostly over the school summer holidays when my family and I are less busy.

To throw a further spanner in the works, my wife and I have some wonderful news…she’s 14 weeks pregnant! We have two wonderful children already (a little girl, 3, and a little boy, 1), and are looking forward to the special day in early November when our third child will be born. However, what happens after birth is an unknown, other than we know we’ll then be officially outnumbered by our children!! So, we’re expecting life to become very chaotic and crazy in the early days. Therefore, training for and running a marathon in April when baby is just 5 months old may well be a bit too much too soon in terms of lumbering my wife with looking after all three of them, probably overnight as I doubt we’d all make the trip to London together. After all, I’m not an elite athlete by any stretch of the imagination (well, apart from in my own head anyway!).

So, to come full circle, my immediate dilemma is: Do I train for a barefoot half marathon in September, or do I go for the full marathon in September? I need to decide pretty soon so I don’t miss out on a place in either the Half or the Full marathon.

What do you think? Which would you go for and why?



5 comments on “Dilemma – To run a Half or Full Marathon?! Please help me decide!

  1. hannilou1
    May 8, 2013

    Tough one, however if you think you can finish a full marathon then I’d say go for it! It would be interesting to see how you do over the same race now you’re running barefoot, however a full marathon is such a massive achievement (although I couldn’t do either to be fair), and with the added issue that you don’t want to leave your wife with the kids in April, my vote would be for the full. Good luck!

    • barefoottc
      May 9, 2013

      Hi hannilou1, thanks for throwing your advice into the ring! It’s always good to get some fresh insight into a dilemma, I appreciate your reply!

  2. runninginnj
    May 9, 2013

    If you want to do a marathon at some point (and clearly you do) then just go for it – there’s time to train still and for a first marathon the goal is just to finish anyway, then you’ll be able to prepare better for a London marathon (at least that’s my theory – still, I have no experience; my first marathon isn’t until November).

    • barefoottc
      May 9, 2013

      Hi runninginnj, thanks for your view! I need to remember that if I do enter the marathon, I should aim to finish it. Part of me always gets carried away with new things and I’d probably set myself a bonkers target, so I appreciate your wise words. Finish the race. That needs to be the goal for such a long run! I’ll keep my blog updated on what I decide!

      • runninginnj
        May 9, 2013

        That’s exactly what I’m going through – I know my aim should just be to finish, but my mind has it’s own ideas about how fast I should be doing it.

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