Friday, 28 February 2014

Running away from technology

Running away from technology 


Running is supposed to be the ultimate easy to access sport, no need for balls, pitches, equipment or even team mates. All you need is yourself, a half decent pair of trainers and somewhere to go. 

More and more runners seem to be getting caught up in all the technology that’s so readily available and even designed specifically for running. Whether it’s using a Garmin or another GPS device, heart rate monitors or not being able to start running unless your earphones are belting out the latest sound tracked with trackers tailored to the correct BPM to match your workout the majority of runners all seem to embrace technology in some way.


I’m not a massive one for keeping up with technology; I am currently resisting upgrading to the latest IOS on my iPhone as I like my old one just fine. In terms of running I would be more than happy going out in an old pair of trainers with just a Casio stop watch for company. But life isn’t that simple as I have realised I need to invest in new trainers more regularly than my bank balance would like to hold back against the onset of shin splints and a Casio watch doesn’t provide you with the wealth of data modern GPS enabled devices can.

Addicted to data

A few years ago I started mapping out my runs on a running mapping website just as a way of double checking I was running the right distances ahead of training for a 10K. Then over time I started monitoring my times and improvements, looking at my KM splits and looking to see how fast I started and finished runs and analysing all manner of different aspects of my training.




There are so many things you can look at for someone that loves a good statistic like myself! 

Then things got much more serious when I started taking my iPhone out running with me, now I could start really accurately recording how far and fast I was running. And this is what I have been doing very happily over the last year or so and I must say it was a great training aide while training for a marathon last year as I was able to track my weekly mileage and do some effective threshold and interval sessions as I knew what pace to aim for. 

When technology goes wrong

However things turned rather sour last week as I went for a run feeling very sluggish after a long weekend away (large amounts of cider do not make an effective racing fuel, see previous blog for details) and ended up breaking my 10K PB! 

Unfortunately cider does not have magical properties to turn me into Mo Farah! Disappointingly my tracking app on my phone had malfunctioned and had subsequently thought I had ran much further than I actually had. Frustratingly the same thing happened a few days later when a 6K fartlek run turned into an 11K run at a pace that would have seen me around a minute off the current 10K world record! Luckily I am well aware of my limitations and know what times to be expecting from my performance so I wasn't sucked into a false sense of euphoria for a second just frustrated that my workout had been spoiled and I had let down by technology.

When technology goes wrong

However things turned rather sour last week as I went for a run feeling very sluggish after a long weekend away (large amounts of cider do not make an effective racing fuel, see previous blog for details) and ended up breaking my 10K PB! 

Unfortunately cider does not have magical properties to turn me into Mo Farah! Disappointingly my tracking app on my phone had malfunctioned and had subsequently thought I had ran much further than I actually had. Frustratingly the same thing happened a few days later when a 6K fartlek run turned into an 11K run at a pace that would have seen me around a minute off the current 10K world record! Luckily I am well aware of my limitations and know what times to be expecting from my performance so I wasn't sucked into a false sense of euphoria for a second just frustrated that my workout had been spoiled and I had been let down by technology.

Undeterred I still went out running as planned a few days later but this time I wasn’t going to pay any attention to what technology was telling me. I realised that with all my interest in my stats and splits I had forgotten what running is all about: enjoyment, being free, the open road in front of you and being able to run wherever and however you want. 

So before you dismiss this as a load of glorified rubbish why not give it a go?! 

Maybe not today or not when it’s going to interfere with your training objectives but just Remember to once in a while just try running with the only the objective of running, no set pace, no specific distance or route, just run and remind yourself how enjoyable running can be....

Gareth
idratherbeoutrunning@blogspot.com