I never run without my Garmin. Ever since I got it, it is with me on every run and I never would leave the house without it. My recent race meltdown makes me wonder if that is a good thing. Have I become overly dependent on the constant feedback from my Garmin and is it hampering my ability to listen to my body?
A recent article in Runners World discusses learning to run by feel. The article contains a lot of great tips on how to train yourself to run by feel and be less dependent on devices. Not only is the pace important but consistency. Can you hold the same pace throughout an entire run or race? Do you know what easy or hard paces feel like?
As I wind down the last two months of half training, I continue to use a plan that spells out what pace each type of workout should be.
I find this helpful because it keeps me from running too fast and missing the point of the workout but I wonder if it is necessary on easy days. There is more flexibility on the pace on these days and they are the perfect time to start practicing running by feel.
My last race was a great example of the pace getting away from me. I started too fast and crumbled toward the end. If I ran more by feel, the theory is that it would it have been easier to hold the my pace and less likely that I would get caught up in excitement of the race start.
So how can you become less dependent on your Garmin and better able to internally know what your pace is?
Use Your Breath
In The Complete Book of Running for Women, the author describes using two different cadences for breath and coordinating them with your stride. A relaxed run would have a 3:2 ratio which is three inhales to two exhales. A faster run has a 2:1 ratio. This gives a runner the ability to gauge if they are running too fast.The “talk test” also works here. If you are able to speak in complete sentences, you running at a comfortable or easy pace.
Leave Your Garmin At Home
An easy run where you are running a familiar route is a great time to run without a watch. This way you can run without the temptation to look at your watch and still estimate your pace based on when you finish. Setting the watch to a screen that does not display the pace or distance is another great way to run with a watch but not be a slave to your stats.
I am really interested in trying the tips in the Runners World article. The idea of being more connected to what my body is actually doing and less reliant in the analytics, can only make you a better runner.
Do you run by feel? What have you done to train yourself to do so?