How To Run A Half-Marathon

… or how I #nonjogged my way to 21.17km in Dongtan.

I am not a runner. In fact, if you see me out in Dongtan huffing and puffing, I look more like an unwieldy beast suffering through some sort of punishment. Nonetheless, over the weekend, I managed to mark off my list something I’ve been wanting to for some time: run a half-marathon. But let’s be clear about something. I wanted to do this for me and no one else. So I ran #nonjogged this half-marathon on my own. Just how did I do it? We’ll here’s my little story of how to do a half-marathon in Dongtan, South Korea.

Back Story

Completing a half-marathon distance run is something I’ve wanted to do for several years. In fact, I tried to attempt it once in 2003, but failed miserably. The problem I ran into were my knees. Back in 1991, I suffered a knee injury while working. After two surgeries, I was left with a significant amount of cartilage missing from my right knee. In fact, Arizona put my best use of that knee at 70%.

Therefore, every time I ran long distances, the knee would hurt. When I was training in 2003, that’s exactly what happened. When I started running 5 miles (8k) on a regular basis, the pain was just too much to bear. So I stopped. But the desire was always there. This past year, I’ve been trying to get back into the sport and came across the 3 Non Joggers through my friend Kevin.

On one of the 3 Non Joggers’ podcasts, GaryTheVale mentioned the 10 Percent Rule. I thought it had some merit, and began following it to some degree. Before summer had arrived, I was running 9k without problems. I thought I would bump it up to 12k and disaster struck. An injury occurred that really sidelined me.

Giving the injury amply time to heal, I started running again and I felt strong. I decided that I would again attempt a half-marathon distance and reached out to Russ McGarry, one of the hosts on 3 Non Joggers. Having run with him in Portland and musing over Dark Night Rises, I asked him to review a training schedule I had developed to get me to the right distance before the end of November.

Training

It took a significant amount of discipline, but over the past few months, I increased my distances from 6.4k to 8.8k to 11.8k to 14.88k to 17k. The slow progression, made the actual half-marathon distance quite easy. I would attempt to train for 3 days, take a day off, and then get back to training. I would also slowly build up the distance, so as to ensure an injury free event.

Sunday

Monday

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Thursday

Friday

Saturday

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9

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12

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Above you can see the method of increasing from running 6k to first introducing a 12k distance in 5 weeks. It’s a slow progression, but makes the new distances a breeze.

The 21.17km #NonJog in Dongtan

dongtan half-marathon

Above is the Google Maps for my route. By clicking on the link, it will take you to an annotated map with my splits.

dongtan half-marathon

I’m quite pleased with the end result of my little endeavor. Total time came in at 2:20 and change with 1:57 clocked for the actual run time. I did run into a few problems along the way:

  1. At about 5k, a strange sensation washed over me and slowed my pace a great deal. I needed to stop at the 8k mark and drink some water to feel better.
  2. At about the 15-17k mark, I started having a strange sensation in the back of my right knee. This is of course the knee with the problems, so I slowed my pace a bit and opted to stretch as often as I could. It didn’t become problematic, but was always rearing its ugly head.
  3. Water- Since this is an event I was doing myself, there were no aid stations. I set off with 1.2l of water in two 600ml bottles. Until this event, I had always ran with one bottle. This allowed my arms to get a little rest, as I would switch off every 3-4 km. This time, there was no doing that and both arms had to do extra work the entire route. One thing I will note, is that I hydrate before I run. If my urine isn’t clear, it’s not time to set off!


So there’s my story. If you’re in Dongtan and want to run the same course and complete your own half-marathon, here’s the course:

  1. Begin at Inamass Green and run towards VIC Market along Hyohaeng-ro
  2. Follow the curve at VIC Market to wards eMart (stay right as you near Samsung)
  3. At eMart, turn left and head towards the Dongtan Recreational Stream.
  4. At the stream, turn right. Follow it to Naru Maeul.
  5. At Naru Maeul, turn around. Run towards Dongtanwoncheon-ro.
  6. At Dongtanwoncheon-ro, turn left, running towards the Winner Star Building.
  7. Keep running straight. As you approach Inamass again, turn left at Yeoul-ro (the Apple 25 CVS)
  8. Run along Yeoul-ro to SeoDongtan Station. Once there, turn around and run back to Dongtanwoncheon-ro.
  9. Turn left and head to Hyohaeng-ro. Turn right and resume running (steps 1-2) of this course.
  10. When you reach Club Tonkatsu again, you’ve run 19km. Turn around and run back to Inamass Green.

There you have it! That’s how I’ve done it. Now on to training forThe Han River 50k Ultra-#Nonjog to Fight Cancer… but more about that in 2013.