To be honest, I still use my GPS, but far less than I used to. At first, I did it because I really don’t like my new GPS. Back in October, my beloved simple Forerunner 10 died……the day before the Chicago Marathon! I ran (literally) to Fleet Feet to get another one and the only thing they had that didn’t cost a small fortune was the Forerunner 25. I immediately didn’t love it because I preferred the simplicity of the 10. All I need is to know how far and how fast I’m going and how long it takes me to get the job done.
I think the GPS is a great tool that all runners should invest in at some point. As I was telling a few new runners earlier this week, the GPS takes a lot of the mystery out of running. Once you know just how far you have gone and how long it takes you, the pressure is off and you can stop wondering what they heck you are doing. And once you know how far a mile is over and over again, they start to feel easier and smaller.
My dislike for the Forerunner 25 continued at the Turkey Trot when my watch did’t connect while I waited in the corral and continued to refuse to connect for two miles. I was livid. And this pricey tool continues to take 5-10 minutes to connect today. Winter in Chicago is too cold to be standing around waiting outside for your watch to connect (even during this mild winter!). The thought of standing outside waiting in frustration finally got the better of me and I said to heck with it and left it at home and went running sans technology (well I still had my music with me….let’s not get too crazy here!).
Most of my weekly training runs consist of 7-10 miles and I know routes around me that cover those exact numbers. So I set out for a few runs without the GPS and some wonderful things happened:
I stopped constantly worrying about how far, how fast, and how long I had been running. I just worried about getting to my turn around and enjoying my run. That’s right; when you stop constantly worrying about the numbers you can enjoy running. It’s kind of like why you started running in the first place. Strike that. It is exactly like how I started running.
I wasn’t just doing fast runs. There is value in slow runs and if you look at a well laid out training plan, there will be several easy runs throughout your week. Your body needs these both to recover and continue to build. If you choose to ignore them you won’t be doing yourself a favor and it can lead to injury.
I’m competitive by nature and it is hard for me sometimes to see those paces click at the end of each mile and not want to beat the next or stay on a pace that I am aiming for on race day. So it is helpful for me to just plain not have those numbers there in the first place.
I got faster! That’s right. By running without constantly looking at my watch and my pace, I allowed myself to build as a runner. Now my average pace is faster than it was a few weeks ago and I didn’t even notice it because I was just running by feel.
The moral of the lesson: I still wear my watch for many runs and I always wear it for long training runs and speed work. But sometimes we need to strip it all down and just enjoy a run for the sake of running. Even when training, not every one has to be a “training” run. There is value in keeping it simple!
Do you wear a GPS? Do you always wear it?