Hi everyone! It’s time for another installment of Try New Things Tuesday!
This week’s new thing is running “naked”. Not that kind of naked, people! I’m talking about running without a watch or other timing device. As you saw in my Hershey 10k recap, I had to run the race without my trusty watch. While that’s something I’ve been thinking about trying for a while, I was kind of accidentally pushed into it sooner than I thought!
Many bloggers out there have spoken about their experiences running without their Garmin, and while the idea initially shocked me I started to realize that this was something I should probably try soon. If I’m going to be honest here, I am kind of addicted to my Garmin, especially during races. I love seeing my paces per mile and analyzing how I did based on how I felt. But after last weekend’s Hot Chocolate 5k I’ve been seriously thinking about how my pace and PR goals can sometimes mess with my mind. I have no idea how I would have done in that race without my Garmin, but I can honestly say that after seeing that mile #1 was 9:40 and realizing that I probably couldn’t pick up the pace enough to PR I started to feel sick and really talked myself out of even trying to run faster. I finished that race with a stomach ache, low spirits, and a finish time that was 2 seconds away from my “C” goal for the race (sub-30:00). I know that seeing my slow pace in mile #1 is what triggered my downfall and I know that it’s happened in many races before. In fact, even though I got a 19 minute PR in the Love Run Half a few weeks ago I did actually talk myself out of speeding up at the end because I was already PRing, why push it?
So when I realized on Sunday that I had left my Garmin in my gym bag at my parent’s house I was scared but also kind of curious to see how I would do without a watch. I knew that it would probably drive me crazy to run on feel alone but that I didn’t really have a choice right now. Mile 1 was probably the toughest without a watch because I really try not to go out too fast and at that point I had no idea how fast I was going. I could hear all the watches around me beeping when we hit 1 mile and I tried to spy on other people but no one was really talking about their pace. I pushed myself hard through the halfway point and even though I usually never take water breaks in shorter races I realized that I really needed some water! I would usually stress about my time in the water stops but since I didn’t have mile splits to analyze I decided that I wouldn’t stress about lost time. I also heard a few people talking about their time at the 5k mark and it was in the high 9:00/mile range so that helped me feel confident that I was on track.
Running based on feel was tricky in Hershey Park because there were so many hills and my stomach was starting to hurt. I wanted to slow down but knowing that I had no idea how fast/slow I was going kept me running as hard as I could. I did look at my wrist a few times at the end of the race out of habit, which convinced me that this was a good idea! I could tell my body was trying to quit on me and find excuses to run slower but without knowing my pace I couldn’t use that excuse to slow down! I instead focused on picking people off and trying to see how many people I could pass at the end of the race. There was one woman that I’d been battling it out with all race – I would pass her, she would pass me – but she was wearing a “Baby on board” shirt and I felt weird passing a pregnant woman for some reason. At the end I just didn’t care and ran past her into the stadium. I have to say that I had one of the strongest finishes ever and gave everything I had when crossing the finish line! Even when I saw the time on the clock!
You can’t see it in the picture, but my clock time was over 1:04. Which would not have been a PR. I was definitely worried as I grabbed my post-race food and medal, but as you saw in yesterday’s post I not only PRed but ran over 6 minutes faster than last year’s Hershey 10k! I’m not sure if the PR was related to running without my Garmin, but I can honestly say that I felt much more relaxed and calm during the race and my focus was more about enjoying my surroundings and less on killing myself to make up some time in the last mile. I think it definitely helped!
So what did I think about running without my Garmin? Overall I give it a 5 out of 5!
- The biggest drawback is that it was scary! It’s so hard to run without it when you’ve run with it for so long. It’s almost like an addiction – I felt like I was going to go crazy without it on my wrist!
- After I got into a rhythm I felt much better about running without a Garmin, but mile 1 was hard.
- It felt nice to not be stressed out about time, especially at the end when I was struggling so much.
- I missed analyzing my mile splits after the race, but I know I did a great job and that’s all that matters!
- I enjoyed focusing more on the run and less on my time. I usually feel sick and worried about my time at the end of races, but in this race I just really wanted to finish so I could see my time so it was a different focus!
- I always forget to pause my Garmin after the finish line anyways, so one less thing to worry about!
Would I do it again? Absolutely! I think my next 5k (whenever that is!) will be done without a watch to see if it makes any difference. I feel that in longer races I rely on my Garmin to tell me if I’m going too fast and helps prevent burnout early in the race, but on my shorter races my Garmin stresses me out about PRing and makes me doubt myself. I would never run a half without my Garmin but I think I might run the shorter races without it!
Do you ever take breaks from your Garmin? If you’ve recently tried running “naked” how did you like it? Did it help improve your race time?