Want to rediscover why you love running?
Don’t worry, the run still happened even if you don’t have a detailed spreadsheet of the elevation, miles and speed at every step.
I started ditching the watch after my accident. I was run-walking and frankly didn’t really want to know how slowly I was trodding. I also ditched the headphones – the music aggravated any lingering headache.
Now that I’m running more consistently and back, I think, to paces that were pre-accident, I’m still leaving these devices at home. Why?
1) I love the lack of pressure I put on myself before going out for a run and during it. I have no time to execute – if I don’t feel like running, I just tell myself I can walk. I’ve never not run, though.
2) I run the pace I want – not the pace I think I’m capable of. A majority of runs should be done in a manageable zone, not high intensity or pushing. When I wear a watch, I think of past runs and the pace I’ve done there – and, regardless of how I’m feeling, try to push it. Without a watch, I don’t worry. I just tap into the day, the feeling and go.
3) I feel more confident on hills. It’s crazy, but when wearing a GPS watch I hated seeing my speed slump on hills. Now, I just run by feel and get up them with no regret. I even seek out hilly courses that I used to avoid.
4) I usually run in the morning. I love the feeling of the cool air and the sound of my feet on the path. I hear my breathing, which helps tell me if I’m working too hard or the effort I’m putting forward when I’m trying to work harder.
5) It’s moving mediation – truly. When I was in college, I took several creative writing classes from Joyce Carol Oates. She used to mention running and using it as a time to clear her mind. Back then, I was firmly addicted to aerobics and a steady base beat for every workout. Running was an exercise of desperation – when no gym or class was in site. Back then, I exercised primarily to burn calories and since she was rail thin – praying mantis-like – I wondered why she bothered. Now, I finally get it. Took me a while, but it’s the proverbial better late than never.
This is to say, I do keep track of how long I’ve run with a stop watch and map it on Map My Run afterwards to get a rough idea of progress and performance. The point is that is an after analysis – not during – and that makes all the difference. Once in a while I will slap on a set of headphones – especially for a dreadmill trot. I don’t enjoy the run as much, though, when I do that. I may go back to wearing my gadgets eventually, but there’s something to be said for running for the sake of running.
Oh, and steps…I’m still keeping track of steps.