We live in a world of vast and changing technologies. This means GPS watches, heart rate monitors, running with phones and listening to music are all very common place. I have had a GPS watch for 3 years now and love the freedom that it gives to go out and explore new routes yet still know my overall distance traveled, plus my heart rate monitor tells me if I am in the correct zone for my training for the day: both great things!

Every so often I do like to shut it all off, yes SHUT IT OFF! Part of running should be about listening to your body and not your music. Take in the sights and sounds around you. Be aware of what is going on. I see too many people that turn on the music to their ear buds and in effect turn off everything else. If you dislike what you are doing so much that you are trying to tune everything out, then why are you running?

Here are a few real-life scenarios:

  1. A runner I know was so tuned into his “tunes” at a race that he didn’t know that it had been cancelled. He continued to run to the finishline  before he realized that what seemed to be chaos on the course was because everyone was trying to tell him the race was cancelled.
  2. Numerous runners have come up to me and said how hard a certain race was. When I ask what the difference was, they responded simply, “I didn’t have my music”.  Turns out that they weren’t running all that much faster than usual but since now that they had to pay attention to their body they perceived the experience to be much harder.
  3. Years ago, I ran up to and past a young lady on a trail run.  She had headphones in but I thought she knew I was coming.  As I came up side by side with her, she dropped to the ground and screamed.  All I could think was if I were that easily startled, I would turn the music down a little.
  4. One of my favorites is the ‘GPS Watcher.’  Every 15-20 steps, they look down to see what their pace is.  I have a nice GPS watch but it is not that accurate!  This is a great learning experience.  Through trial and error you should be able to guess pretty closely at what pace you are running.
  5. The person that claims the race was long… according to their GPS.  Certified courses are measured for precision. This means if you were able to run exact tangent lines around every turn the shortest distance you could possibly run is what the race was certified at.  Point being: you are going to run a little farther then what you signed up for, but so will everyone else.

So on your next run, give it a try.  Leave all your devices at home and see how you do.  If you just can’t come to grips with leaving it all behind then keep the music at a low level or start your watch but don’t look at it until you finish.  All this technology is a good thing but don’t let it “run” your run, instead use it as the valuable tool that it is to help you with training and to achieve your goals.