Don’t Be Trapped by Numbers: Leave Your Watch at Home for Once

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There’s a lot to be said for measuring and calculating things in the sport of running. Even those who don’t want to go faster may want to go longer or go steeper and higher, or just know how far they went. If you measure and are aware of what you can do, it becomes possible to repeat and improve. You can work out how you want to do it next time.

An obvious way for a runner to measure their success is by their GPS watch, which rates you by time and distance. This can be a great motivator when you are doing well but all too often, it can be used as a tool to beat ourselves up with. Motivation diminishes if our times increase or we compare our progress to others who are faster, fitter, better, it seems. Did we not push ourselves hard enough? Is that why my watch tells me I am slow?

So perhaps, just occasionally, take your watch off when going for a run. Run to the pace you feel like running because this run doesn’t ‘count’, this run doesn’t ‘matter’. It’s refreshing to give yourself a break sometimes and not be caught up in a predetermined pace which means you have to speed up or slow down to hit that number. Listen to your body and listen to your breathing while you run – run faster when you feel good, and slower when you are tired. Accept that sometimes, the same perceived level of effort produces different speeds on different days.

Above all, sometimes it’s good simply to enjoy yourself.

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