Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gadgets - Run With Them or Without Them?

I normally run with mine.  I know that this is a passionate topic amongst racers and casual runners alike - the debate often centering around the fact that running is by its nature one of the lowest technology sports around.  You do not need anything fancy, just yourself, your shoes and maybe some decent running clothes.  If you want to rock the 80's running look you can always do that - it isn't going to profoundly detract from your ability to go out on your own and run.

So then why do we need iTune aps, compression socks, Nike accessories and on and on and on?  Do they really make a difference?  Or do they perpetuate our dependence on blocking out everything around us?  Well I don't know if I have the answer.  I used to believe that running without music or a watch was the right way to do things.  However, when you are working on a goal, like running a marathon or even a 5K knowing how fast you are going or even just how long you are out there, it is important.  It might feel like you've run for an eternity when it's only 5miles, if that is the case that marathon might be unbearable.

I run with my iPod and my Garmin Forerunner 110.  I have to admit if you were going to take one of them away from me, you could have my iPod.  That being said, I never quite understood the obsession with Garmin watches people had.  I remember my first half marathon, there were arm lifted to the hazy sky trying to find a satellite, I couldn't imagine why they were so important. I understand now.  After one run with my Garmin I figured out why they're so important.  There is no arguing with the watch.  You cannot argue with the distance, nor can you deny your speed.  It gives you an honest and unbiased opinion of where your training stands.   For me it was also the source of one of my greatest breakthroughs - it showed me that I could consistently run a 9 minute mile, even faster over some stretches.  I had spent the better part of the last few years thinking that was impossible.   Now I see that with training a sub 9 minute mile might be feasible - Boston does not seem to be so crazy a dream.

Now all that being said, do you have to have one, no.  Just depends what motivates you - and looking down and seeing an 8 under the mile average makes me smile and anything 10 and over makes me assess how hard am I really working.

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