Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Stress-Free, Garmin-Free Run

I got my Garmin last year, somewhat ironically after finishing the Philadelphia Marathon. I ran the marathon, and all of my training runs, with a cheap Timex sports watch... which told me how long I was running, but not much else. I had planned during the marathon to hit 'lap/reset' after each mile marker to get a sense of pacing, but I didn't have the wherewithal to execute this while actually running.

Long story short, I trained for my first marathon relatively 'blind' to pacing. Before each run I would map out a route on, obsessively check and recheck the mileage, do a few mental checks to make sure I knew where I was going, and then go run. I had the mapmyrun app running in the background, so I knew an 'ish' pace... but if you've ever used mapmyrun or any other phone app, you know the precision is lacking.

September 7th vs. November 2nd... progress!
Enter the Garmin and data-obsessed Allie. After the first run with my 610, I was hooked. After runs, I didn't shower, stretch, or get a glass of water until I had pored over my splits. I analyzed my paces in both Garmin and Strava, and loved knowing exactly how far- and how fast- I was running.

And then I got hurt, and all running came to an immediate halt. My beloved Garmin, only five months old, got shoved to the back of my dresser-- and stayed there for five months, the same amount of time I had it.

Replacing my Garmin with one of these Tattly watches
Which really got me thinking-- I've been running since my high-school cross-country days without a Garmin. That's over a decade of data-free (or 'naked') running compared to only 5 months of data-obsessed running. It's crazy how quickly I became addicted to data-fueled running and my Garmin.

Thursday night I was meeting my trainer on the West Side Highway for an evening workout, so I decided to leave my bag and computer at the office and just... run to him. I didn't have my Garmin, and I didn't map out the 'course' on mapmyrun. I just walked out of my office on 39th and 9th, and started running north and west until I was on the West Side Highway and I spotted my trainer. I know generally how far I ran based on city blocks (20 blocks = 1 mile, and I met my trainer on 68th), but I have ZERO CLUE as to how fast/slow I ran, or the actual distance.

I felt so... FREE and HAPPY on my run! And while I don't see myself completely dropping the Garmin anytime soon, this run was a nice reminder to just get out and run every so often without my 'data-chain.' I really like seeing my progress, especially now as I build back up, but I'm planning on doing one 'naked' run a week... just because I love running.

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