Run free from the gadgets and technology for the ultimate running experience. Seriously; when did you last run free? Just you in a top, bottoms and shoes, no gadgets or technology. No standing around waiting for a GPS lock, the beep of your heart rate monitor or the notifications every mile. I took up running before GPS and when a Walkman or Discman was either too big or too jumpy to even bother. I’d take a Casio wrist watch, noting the time I left the house or use the stop watch if I remembered. It was a simpler time and loved it. I would run free with my thoughts, taking in my surroundings, it was where I was most at peace.
I Do Love Technology
Confession time: I am a big fan of running tech. See some of my faves here. I love to pour over the GPS and heart rate data from a run, seeing the improvement over time. It helps to explain a bad run and shows you your breakthroughs. Heart rate and pace data can keep you disciplined on a run. It can keep you on target and save you from race day disasters. If I have to do some hardcore, indoor intervals or go into the pain cave for a heavy weights session, there’s nothing better than shoving in some ear buds and tuning in to an aggressive playlist. But, like all good things, over reliance can cause fragility and distraction, taking away from the pure joy that is to run free.
Lose The Tech
Ditch the GPS, unplug the tunes and tune in to the real world. Why? I want you to hear your breath, feel your landing and the spring in your stride. Listen to the sounds around you and feel the air against your skin. All of these things give you invaluable info about how you are running. They tell you how much energy you have, the smoothness of your stride, or not as the case may be and how fast you are running. This stuff can help you to improve your running economy and avoid injuries. The sounds of the city or nature can imbue you with energy and lift you like no energy gel ever could. What’s more, you’re not looking at your watch instead of enjoying the view or avoiding that pothole. I can’t tell you how much of a lift I’ve had during the darkest moments of a race when I’ve passed through a cheer station or shared a high five with a young running fan at the side of a road. Be present and ready to soak it all up.
You’ll hear the wind, the sounds of people or the trickle of water, oh and that bicycle that’s about to take you out. There are huge benefits to connecting with your body and with nature, not to mention safety. Finally, I have lost count of the number of horror stories of runners who’s race has gone to hell because their watch failed to lock a signal, their mp3 player ran out of battery or the heart rate monitor failed. If you have practised running without tech then you will be well equipped to deal with a gadget fail should it ever befall you. Be a resilient runner in mind as well as body.
Make A Vow
Once a month, strip it back and run free. Go on. It will feel weird at first, but after a short while you’ll feel the freedom and have no option but to just run. No beeps, no beats and no worries about how your run will look to anyone else. At first, do it on an easy run on a favourite route. If you have to track it, press record and shove your watch into a pocket or bag where you cannot see or hear it. That said, you can always submit a manual entry onto your running platform, so try ditching the gear altogether. Get used to feeling the effort in your legs and your lungs. Acknowledge the myriad things that go through your head when you run free. I promise that you will look forward to these runs before long.
Are you lost without your GPS or useless without your running playlist? Am I a mad hippie or have you tried this stuff and had the best run of your life? Let me know in the comments below.