Marathon Training: Running and Technology

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.

Enter Nike+.


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.

  1. No checking my pace mid-run. I want to continue to run based on what my body is feeling.
  2. 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?


About Katie

I'm a college student who is trying to find her feet in the world of cooking healthy and incorporating food healthfully into my world!
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One Response to Marathon Training: Running and Technology

  1. Liz says:

    When I’m training I always run with my Garmin to keep me on track for paces and distances, but I love running “unplugged” in between training cycles. I usually run with music, but not when I’m on the trails.

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