I still consider myself a rookie runner since I only have 16(ish) months under my belt. However I have learned a lot about myself during that time. I have also experimented a lot. This includes experimenting with running technologies.
When I first started running, I was always attached to my iPod Nano.
It (barely) fit in the same pocket as my key. I strung the earbud cord under my shirt and bra so I didn’t get annoyed by it bouncing. I set up playlists that corresponded to my walk/run intervals (though I could never get my run to correspond with my music). I loved having background music to zone out to. It helped create attainable goals for me as a beginner runner (“Just finish this song”).
Then I left my interval days behind and started running longer distances (which was around 30 minutes at the time). As I became more experienced, I wanted more information. I wanted to know what my pace was. I wanted an accurate way to measure distance.
I was already running in Nike shoes (bleh), so it was perfect. I slid the sensor into my shoe and connected the receiver to my iPod. My iPod would tell me when I had completed a certain distance (it’s been a while, so I don’t really remember but I think it told me in half mile increments?). No more guess work! It also told me my average pace at the end of my workout. Unfortunately, the sensor was finicky. I found that if I couldn’t get the sensor to work, I would just bag the run for no other reason other than that the sensor was not working. It had become my crutch and I didn’t like that. Bye bye, Nike+.
I didn’t realize until September 11, 2010 that music was also a crutch for me. I was running in the BMAC Mud Run 10K. For obvious reasons, I couldn’t have run with an iPod. So I had to run without for the first time. This was my first 10K and I was freaking out. How would I get through six miles without music?
This picture was taken right when I got through the finish line. I could not stop smiling. I loved every second of the race. Running without music actually made me feel proud of myself. Why? Because I got through the race all by myself. I didn’t need a power song. I didn’t need the cadence of the music to keep my feet moving. I only needed myself.
Since September 11, 2010, I have been running sans music. Today, I still love running “unplugged.” I run based on what my body is feeling, not on what the numbers are telling me. My love of running has exploded since I began running without distractions.
Yet I missed knowing my pace… my distance. Was I willing to sacrifice the love of running “unplugged” that I had developed in order to know my pace?
After much back and forth, I asked Santa for a Garmin for Christmas.
I am extremely lucky and found this waiting for me under the Christmas tree!
Now that I have a few runs under my belt with the Garmin, I’ve developed some strategies to not lose that unplugged feeling that has made my time running so special for me.
- No checking my pace mid-run. I want to continue to run based on what my body is feeling.
- Keep my Garmin covered up. Out of sight, out of mind. Luckily, it is winter here in New Jersey which means long-sleeve shirts. I’m not sure how this will work when it is nicer out.
What are your thoughts on running and technology? Are you a tech-savvy runner or a minimalist?