I’m not talking about barefoot running (thats for a later post) but running untracked without technology, purely for the joy of running, yes really the joy of running!
I was excited to read an article recently in women's health magazine about what happens when we remove our tracker and start to purely run off feel. You may find it alarming that a virtual run coach, who relies on tracking to see how my athletes are doing, would want to bring this to your attention. However I truly believe it’s a valuable exercise for everyone.
In todays tech driven world it’s easy to get caught up in numbers - we have so much data available at our fingertips, and data that we can brag about too! How many times have we been running or in a workout thinking I can’t wait to share this….and no one can argue because I have the proof? It’s easy to forget why we’re actually doing this. Social media can play a huge role in developing your community and be a valuable source for information, support and encouragement but there is also a lot of nonsense out there and it can be hard to separate the two. This is where having a coach can really help, someone to hold you accountable, but also reassure you to trust the process thats right for you.
I have only been running with a proper tracker for just over a year. I used to train with a phone strapped to my arm but I didn’t pay attention until I stopped running to make sure I had the miles and I worried about pace later. Racing was my time to run free! It wasn’t until I went out like a rocket, full of excitement, in my first NYRR race in 2016 that I made the decision (or rather my darling Jose made it for me) to get a running watch. I struggled over the finished line a dehydrated and swollen mess disappointed with my time, but being part of that community changed something in me (more on that in yet another post) and I knew if I was to get better I had to get more serious about my workouts. I knew and a tracker would help give me the feedback I needed but I also decided to get a coach! Yes, I have my own virtual running coach - I believe this gives me time to focus on my clients while I can keep growing as a runner, because I am accountable to my coach. I also remember what it is like to be coached, in turn making me a better coach for my runners. Here is what my coach had to say on running without a tracker.
Fast forward to my training cycle for the NYC half; I’m enjoying working with my watch and my coach, seeing the benefits of speed workouts, using strides properly all kinds of exciting stuff and running like I’ve never ran before…..but I was a mess. Caught up in paces, splits, distance, boiling everything down to a number. The joy had gone. I didn’t know what I felt any more because I was so caught up in how that feedback from my wrist would or should make me feel. Does this sound like you? Are you caught up in weekly milage? Determined to hit a pace regardless of how hot it is outside or how badly you slept? Have you forgotten why you started everything in the first place? Feel guilty about listening to your body when you should slow down and taking the bragging rights when you go faster than you should? Again we’re all guilty, wanting to brag, not trusting that process.
Take it off! Take off that tracker, put tape over it, wear it backwards, if you use a phone put it somewhere you can’t see it. Just see what happens! There are many ,many stories out there of “when I took off that watch” it all clicked into place - I even have several of my own.
Communicate with your coach and tell them how you are feeling - we’ll listen and work with you, it’s what we’re here to do! Pick the workouts and runs that can be done without rigorous tracking or why not even race without it! In races you are often tracked because of your bib, a shorter race like a 5K would be ideal. Run from how you feel not what your wrist says and learn to listen to your body.
I’ll give it a try and let you know how it goes! I haven’t raced a 5K in a long while and if my calf continues to be in good shape then I’ll give it a go.
Maybe just for one run this week, just run. Run to your own beat, look around you, smile at the other runners, find beauty in your surroundings, run to remember why you run. At Run Coast 2 Coast we’d love to hear about it.
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