Saturday, April 13, 2013

Run Free - Lose the Garmin

Jannine Myers

It's been several weeks now since my last major training cycle ended, and also several weeks since I last ran with my garmin. I confess, there was once a time when I would almost forfeit my run if I woke up and realized that I had forgotten to charge my garmin! Of course I could never bring myself to skip my run for that reason, but I would most definitely experience a certain amount of frustration, which I now realize was really quite silly. I mean, garmins have not been around that long; people ran just fine without them!

But getting back to why I am currently running without my garmin, it's simple really - I'm in my off-season and have no need for it. And it's an incredibly liberating feeling, one which I plan to enjoy while it lasts.

Here's a few more reasons why occasionally ditching your garmin might be good for you:

  • It's inevitable that at certain times of the year, most runners will hit a motivational plateau, where running is no longer enjoyable and training becomes a chore. When this happens, strapping on a garmin may be counterproductive to overcoming the lack of motivation. The garmin, for the most part, does not lie; it has no qualms in telling you that you did not hit your target paces and times.
  • Garmins force us to try and meet certain training goals, even when our bodies would prefer not to. That's great - except, when you're sick, injured, or over-trained and should not be running at all. But even when the symptoms are slight and running can be tolerated, it might be best to let your body dictate the run, rather than your garmin.
  • Conversely, wearing a garmin can inhibit your true ability. When following a generic training plan that you have found online, with recommended paces, it's likely that you will do your best to run at those paces. If your garmin starts beeping because you're running faster than the set pace, you'll quickly slow down to get back on board with the plan. But, what if you're actually capable of running faster than the recommended paces you've been following; you won't know though because your garmin will control and determine just how fast you can go.
  • Runners tend to be creatures of habit and perfection, and when it comes to training runs, the need for perfection manifests itself in the form of "exactness." If, for example, Jane has a six mile run and she sees on her garmin as she turns the last corner to her house, that she is only at 5.85 miles, you can guarantee that Jane will run beyond her house until her garmin reads "exactly" six miles. Why? Because Jane thinks it's critical that she follow exactly what her training plan instructs. Losing the garmin will help you to be less rigid and far more adaptable, and adaptability is a skill that every serious runner should want to acquire.   
  • Most runners can tell you what they believe is their "easy" pace. If Jane believes that her easy pace is an 8:30min/mile, then Jane is going to make sure that on her easy run days, she runs no slower than an 8:30 pace. Running without your garmin sets you free from such expectations of yourself, and an easy run can actually be an easy run.

If you're in your off-training season, try leaving your garmin at home and enjoy running without any pace or time goals. It's a great way to renew your love of, and motivation for running, because without the goals, there is no disappointment and every run is therefore a successful run.

Run Free

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