OK, this is a little self-indulgent, but I need a bit of advice and I'm not sure whether I should take the plunge or not. My brother in law is running the Gold Coast Marathon in early July (9 weeks away), and he wants me to join him. He's currently running fewer kms than me, but he's following the plan from "The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer" by David Whitsett, Forrest Dolgener and Tanjala Mabon Kole and he's confident of finishing. I'm not so keen on the book's love of shoes, stretching and ibuprophen, but the mental side of it is interesting. I'm keen to run a marathon barefoot, but it's unexplored territory for me and I've been planning an ultra-conservative approach with a half this year and a marathon next year. I don't want to suffer through my first marathon - I want to enjoy it if I possibly can. He seems to think I have ample time left to prepare for this one, and peer pressure is being brought to bear. I don't know if I could handle a year of knowing he had one under the belt and I didn't. Honestly, I'll jump at it if I can convince myself that I can do it relatively comfortably, happily and not hurt myself long-term. So, physical state. I can comfortably run 15km, and last week I did 15km at a fast (for me) 4:45 km pace which suggests to me that I could go much further if I backed off the pace. My longest run in recent times was 18.5km, which finished with a bit of pain in the side of my knee that I needed a week off to recover from. That was about 4 or 5 weeks ago, and I've been OK since. I've been running almost exclusively barefoot for about 18 months now after a few false starts, and I seem to have worked my way through most of the usual BF niggles. My feet are pretty tough, but I have to admit that the bulk of my running is on hard sand on the beach, and not the asphalt roads that I'm expecting for the marathon. I'm left thinking I could do it, but not really knowing for sure if I'm kidding myself, so I'd appreciate a bit of advice from the marathoners on the forum. Question 1, obviously, is should I do it, or should I commit to a longer, slower build and do a half this year instead? I'm on track for some programs I know of, but I don't know if I should approach it differently as a barefoot runner. Assuming the answer to question 1 is yes, more questions spring to mind (actually, these will be relevant for the no answers too, as I guess I still need to work out how to approach the first marathon when I do it either way): - Should I consider a run-walk-run type approach for my first one? I'm Galloway-curious, and I like the theory behind this one, but I don't have time to prove it to myself in time for the GC, and to be honest I don't know if I will benefit from the walk breaks or I will find it tough to get going again. It could make things much better, or it could be a big mistake. I don't know. I will say that I will be happy to walk some of it if that's what it takes. No shame here. - What sort of pace should I try to run? I suck at pacing myself, and I tend to just zone out and run at my normal pace which I think will be way too fast. I'm thinking I'll aim to start very slowly and keep as much in reserve as possible, but how slow is too slow to be of benefit? - My go-to 'short run' distance is currently around 10km. My BIL's program has much shorter 'short' runs than what I'm currently doing - should I back off my short runs to match? I'm thinking a good compromise might be something like 4 runs per week of 6-11-8-<long> kms each week. How does that sound? - The book says that you only need to get the long run out to 18 miles before tapering for the marathon - is this realistic? Do I need to cover more than that to condition my feet? - Will my feet hold up? I guess this is relative, but for people who have done a BF marathon, is the biggest problem with your feet, or more to do with general fatigue? Maybe that's enough questions for now. To run, or not to run? That is the question.