To Run the Half or The Full – A Monumental Decision


I’m sill waffling back and forth as to whether I should run the full or the half at the Monumental Marathon. If I don’t decide within the week, I’ll be stuck with a marathon bib.

I can still back out in the middle of the race—the half-marathoners go their own way around mile 6. But then I’ll be the person with the marathon bib that all the volunteers are yelling at to go the other way. And then I have to yell back, “I changed my mind! I’m running the half instead!”

I’ve obviously been there before.

I’m struggling to decide what to do, so I figure the best way to decide is to lay out the reasons for and against running the full.

Reason to Run the Full #1

I want to redeem myself.

 The Indianapolis Marathon on October 17th did not pan out how I would have liked it to. I believe that I have a 3:4x:xx somewhere in me.

Reason to Not Run the Full #1

Redeeming myself may not be physically possible.

Realistically, it’s going to be tough to pull out a PR 3 weeks after another marathon. I have done these races back to back before, but I was not going for a time goal. I ran them both fairly easy and my times were only a few minutes apart. BUT, in 2010 and in 2011, I ran the first marathon faster. I remember my legs feel weird at the Monumental both times.

Reason to Run the Full #2

I love running full marathons.

I just do. I’m probably more equipped and better built for half marathons, but fulls are my jam. I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with running 26.2 miles. I can’t really explain it.

Reason to Not Run the Full #2

Extra time with little man. 

I am taking the day before the Monumental off and I have the entire following week off, so I will definitely be getting lots of time with him. But hey, ANYTIME with him is awesome. If I run the half, I get home to him a couple of hours earlier. Plus, I will be able to actually chase him around and play with him, instead of hobbling like a zombie.

Reason to Run the Full #3

I will want to race the half, and may not be ready for racing just yet.

If I choose to run the half, I’m really going to want to race it. It’s hard to keep that competitive drive down. My body may not be ready for the hard effort.

Reason to Not Run the Full #3

I might be able to pull out a big half PR.

On the other hand, after lots of long runs and a recent full, I might be able to pull out a nice half PR. I tested out a few more faster miles this morning, and it felt pretty good:


What this really boils down to is that I want to run another full marathon and have a good race. And by good race, I don’t mean that I have to run the time I’m shooting for or even PR, but I want to HAVE FUN. I did not have fun at the Indianapolis Marathon. I had put to much pressure on myself to enjoy it.

I also have the secret hope that my speed and endurance are still there from this training cycle, and that I will be able to run a PR race. This may just be wishful thinking.

I will continue to change my mind 50 times this week. Indecision is one of my strongest character traits.

It wouldn't be one of my blog posts without a picture of Max!
It wouldn’t be one of my blog posts without a picture of Max!

Have you ever run goal races in the span of a few weeks? How did it go? Would you do it again?

What would you do if you were me?


10 thoughts on “To Run the Half or The Full – A Monumental Decision

  1. I would run it, but for fun. High five all the spectators, chat with other runners, thank the volunteers, and just have fun. You are still recovering from your last race, so just go in to it with an open mind. You never know what will happen! 🙂

  2. I agree with Michelle. You certainly still have the training to run a full, so you could definitely do it, but why put the pressure on yourself? You say you don’t want to race a half marathon because your body isn’t ready for the hard effort; wouldn’t that same argument me true for racing a full? You may not be running as fast but PRing in the full is ALWAYS a hard effort. In the end, what it comes down to, is you want to end this season on a high note. You can’t control what time you’ll get but you can control whether you have fun and appreciate the experience. You already paid for the full and did the training, so run it! But don’t put any expectations on yourself other than to have a GOOD run.

    I don’t know if I’d have the guts to go Garmin-free in a full though! It would more than likely result in me starting out too fast

    1. Thanks, Hanna! You’re totally right that racing a half marathon is probably just as hard on the body as running a full (not racing). Really, I’m just being a bratty little kid and wanting what I know I can’t have – to run a PR in the marathon. You are so right that I should just go out there and have fun with no pressure. That’s easier said that done, though. Haha, the no-Garmin thing was a thought, but I doubt I could seriously ever do it.

      1. Honestly, you never know. How many times do we hear stories of runners going into races of all distances with no expectations, no goals…and walking away with a surprise PR?? There really is something to be said about no-expectations racing. Now, whether we can ever truly get to a state of being 100% expectation-free is one thing…but we all seem to do our best running when we just focus on running instead of bogging ourselves down with stress and pressure and numbers. So go run the full for fun and you may surprise yourself!

  3. What a tough decision!! But I really think if you’ve been feeling good and for the reasons you’re giving here for running another marathon, you should stick to that. HOWEVER, think of the redemption aspect of it as going out and having a fun race as well. Really make that your #1 priority. Don’t track your time. Go out and run 26.2 miles and have a blast doing it! You may be able to PR but don’t make that your priority. Plus, with all your training and mileage, I think you’ll be fine to still have fun with Max afterwards 😀 ❤

  4. Ugh, this probably isn’t what you want to hear, but I’ve never run 2 goal races within a few weeks of the other. My (aging) body just can’t handle it. Last year, I ran a half as a training run for my BQ-effort full a few weeks later. In that case, I ran the half very conservatively and exactly as my coach prescribed (the first half at a pace 30-35 seconds slower than my goal marathon pace, and the second half 0-45 seconds faster), and it turned out to be fantastic training. I didn’t go all-out and saved my energy (and legs) for the main event a few weeks later (when I ended up BQing). If you want to run upcoming marathon, I would recommend just doing it for fun and not setting a time goal.

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