Monday, October 17, 2011

How often do you run naked?

This weekend, I had my second 22 km (13.7 mi) run of this training cycle.  I was just about ready to go.  I grabbed my garmin and turned it on to check a setting on it.

And, the low battery signal flashed at me.


If the low battery signal flashes during a run, I can usually still get an hour out of it.  If it flashes when I turn it on, it usually means I forgot to turn it off after my last run.  That means it won't even last 10 minutes.

This wasn't good.  I had 22 km on the plate for the day.  How was I going to know how far I had gone?  How was I going to know how fast I was going?  How would I run?

I came to a stunning realization.  I would have to run without my garmin.

My naked wrist
I thought about it a bit, and realized that people did run before garmins were invented.  How is that possible?  Wait a second.  I didn't even have a garmin when I first started running.  How did I manage?

I thought about it a bit and realized how.!  I could go and put my route in to figure out how far I'd be going.  I might not be able to know my pace, but at least I'd know my distance.  I planned out a route that came to 16km (10mi).  I decided that I could stop off at home and grab my garmin for the remaining six (after it charged some).

In the first few kilometers, I missed my garmin a lot.  I realized that, while I don't usually run with music, I am attached to my garmin.  Normally, I constantly check my pace.  This time, I couldn't do that.  It was an adjustment, but before long, I was really feeling in tune with the run.  I was just running.

Now, I wish I could say that it was a phenomenal run.  I would love to say I set records because I didn't know my speed and I didn't hold back.

Truth is, it wasn't.  It was a tough run and it took some mental strength to get through all 22 km of it.  Having said that, I think not having my garmin for the first 16 was a good thing.  Knowing that I was going slower then usual for a long run wouldn't have benefited me.  I did manage to continue running, and that's what's important.  This was my long slow distance run after all.

I did stop off at home and get it after 16 km.  I tried to make the stop quick, but I took the time to change my shirt.  (Some clothing works for shorter distances but chafes at longer ones.)

The final 6km was still a struggle.  I was tired.  My legs were tired.  Last time I ran 22km, I felt super strong.  I even felt like I could have gone further.  Not this time.  But, having my garmin did help me push a little bit.  When I felt my pace dropping, I'd tell myself to push just a little bit.  When I reached the last km, I decided to see what was left in my legs, and I ran that km in under 6 minutes (fast for me).

So, over all?  Am I going to stop running with my garmin?  Not a chance.  I like knowing how I am doing and the garmin gives me feedback so I can see when I've improved.  Sometimes, it helps me to push myself.

Having said that, am I going to stop running with my garmin sometimes?  I think so.  There's a certain freedom in running naked and not being tied to the little numbers flashing on your wrist.  While the garmin sometimes helps me push myself, it also can hold me back, as evidenced in my Oly tri - where I only ran as fast as I did because my garmin didn't work and I didn't know how fast I was going.

Having said that, I don't know how many of my runs before my half marathon will be garminless.  I am going to try to go without, once a week or so, after.


  1. Nice job getting your run done without the Garmin! I love my Garmin! Sometimes, if I'm just doing a short run, I'll run without it. But, I really need it for my long runs. I like to know how my pace is going and how far I've gone. I guess I just like the instant feedback it gives me!

  2. I'm addicted to my Garmin completely and I just HATE it when it's not charged and I have to go without it. I just love the feedback too and tracking my mileage on the computer. I love watching it all add up!