I joined a local running club last year to help in my quest to transition from a walker to a runner. We meet on Sunday mornings for a group run. By Monday morning, our coach emails us our “homework” for the week. The homework varies, depending on whether you are in the 5k, 10k, or half marathon group (not yet!). But this past week, each of the groups was given one uniform task to add in addition to their regular workouts.
Our assignment? Spend one run completely unplugged and gadgetless. Huh? I have a new iPhone with all manner of fitness apps and timers on it. I have my Fitbit permanently glued to my waist. I have my el-cheapo watch from Target that can track my steps, mileage, pace. I was to use none of those things? Yes, that was the assignment. Get out for a run. Alone. Leave the gadgets – and the music – behind.
Our coach, Meghan, explained in her email that she was growing increasingly frustrated with how often she sees someone disappointed after a run because he or she is not pleased with their mileage/pace/time/performance as told to them by some gadget or device. She wants us to get in tune with our breathing and with our bodies. “Slow down when you need to slow down. Pick it up a notch when you are feeling ready to do so,” she said.
I hit the local track for some speed work. Mind you, my ‘speed’ work still consists mostly of run-walk intervals as opposed to run/run faster intervals. I saw the time on the clock in the car when I arrived. I left my iPhone in my SpiBelt around my waist (I was worried about it being left in the car, even in the glove box) and set off on the track. I am used to running with music. And my RunKeeper app telling me in my ear how much time and distance has elapsed and
just how slow I am really going my pace. I am not used to just hearing my feet hit the ground in an easy rhythm, or my breathing. I am not used to it just being – me.
My mind got lost in the cadence of my feet. When I got back in the car I was surprised to learn 48 minutes had passed. I thought I was only out there for a half hour. I found I still was able to push myself. I was still able to enjoy my run, even without music.
All in all, it was an interesting experience and I’ve decided to keep up with this no-gadget rule for at least one run a week.
How about you? Have you ever tried to get that cardio workout completed without the aid of your electronic device of choice? Do you think you could forgo music for one workout this week? And that pacing watch? Give it a try and let us know how it goes in the comments!
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